Go: Visit a Friend and Explore Somewhere New (Part II) - Gastonbury

My second day in Somerset had an unpleasant ending despite any well thought out choices to fill the hours before. A coach ride back to London is always stalled with the burden of city traffic and full of fellow travellers that restrict me from a two-seat spread. Despite the looming journey I had purposefully booked a late afternoon coach allowing plenty of hours to explore Glastonbury further.

Many of you will only know of this part of Somerset because of the famous music festival. Funnily enough the said festival had taken place just one weekend before, Jess and I joked that we had got the wrong date. However there is a lot more to the area than just being a host for camping and music stages. This is really the spiritual epicentre of England. It is said to be the birthplace of Christianity and remains a centre of Pilgrimage today. It has also progressed into a place of pilgrimage for a number of other faiths, with a focus from alternative beliefs. And, boy, can’t you tell. The village shops offer an abundance of crystals, Buddhas, crucifixes, hamsas and so on.

The Tor is an iconic landmark and a destination for those with a spiritual inclination. The walk to the top of the hill is extensive and steep, offering time to clear your thoughts. Having now climbed it myself I can confirm that there I constant moments of stopping your steps to look back, and around, in delight as the view evolves, ever-increasing in beauty. Of course click-click-clicking the camera shutter all the way. Once the hike is complete and the top is reached a display of the Somerset Levels, Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales is displayed for your pleasure. Soak it in, breathe it in, absorb it, embrace it. The grandeur of the greenery provides great perspective.

The down hill journey was fastened by looming grey clouds. It’s also a relief after the glute-busting venture upwards. Once back safely on a normal height above seawater it was time for lunch and then to explore the plethora of intriguing shops. My favourite shop stole my heart instantaneously. An abundance of colour, plentiful nods to spirituality originating from the East, furniture, decorations, and jewellery it is just short of heavenly. Scenes from My Little Princess met me, when she wakes to incense burning, colourful drapes adorning her bedroom and a spread of food adults and children would drool over alike.

Of course when you find such a place you cannot help but take apiece home. I bought a bracelet each for my mum and me and a jewellery box that one day will have a blog post all of its own simply for it’s sheer beauty.

I cannot recommend getting to know what this phenomenal and eccentric place has to offer. Go with hours to spare and just let the archways lead you to discover shops with shrines and water features and crystals that will blow you away. Leave expectations on the coach and open your eyes to absorb it all.

As the coach squealed and halted, allowing us to mount it, my time in Somerset was up. A lot of walking, a digital detox* undergone, my bank account was lighter and my jeans were tighter and my head was full of memories of encounters, laughter and discussions. I certainly pined for the fresh, hand delivered eggs come Monday morning but felt smug as I sat at my desk because I knew I had truly made the most of my weekend. Plus I had four more days to prepare for the next one.

*What's a digital detox? Click here.

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