Guildford and Alton

This weekend I decided to do a couple of local trips. I figure I won't be out this way a lot once I move into London, so this was probably a good time to do it. The weekend was gorgeous, with blue skies, bright sunshine and double digit temperatures.

I started out the morning on Saturday by going for a run down the canal. Woking is on the Basingstoke Canal, which runs for miles and miles around the area. It was a short run, but it was good to start getting back into it. Later on Saturday, I went into Guildford. Guilfdord is the next "big" town down the rail line from Woking. Of course, for me, the real claim to fame (for me anyway) is the reference in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Ford asks Arthur Dent if it would surprise him top learn that Ford is is not "from Guildford after all, but from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse". Best book ever...

The train ride was maybe ten minutes, and I was there before I could make any real progress on my book. I spent the first hour wandering the Hight Street, people watching, checking out the shops and enjoying the sunshine. I had lunch in one of the local restaurants, then headed back out to explore. My waiter had suggested "the Castle" as being the local spot of interest, so I took off to try and find it. It wasn't hard.

The Guildford Castle was apparently built in 1066 by William the Conqueror, and later became the most luxurious of the royal palaces, during the 1200s. It fell into disuse and disrepair, but was saved as a local historical attraction. Its a pretty cool spot, with the central tower mostly intact. I wandered around the grounds for a while, taking some pictures and enjoying the scenery.

After the Castle, I popped into the Guildford Museum. A quaint, local museum with a couple of good displays on the local history, including prehistoric remains and some interesting Roman remains. There was also a very cool reproduction of the Guildford train station. It was worth the stop.

 Model of the Railway Station, Guilford Museum

Model of the Railway Station, Guilford Museum

On Sunday, I had to go and check out the local town of Alton. How could I pass that one up? I have to assume, this was the town that named the place I grew up. The train ride to Alton was a fair bit longer, past golf courses and very rural settings. We stopped in five or six small towns before getting to Alton.

After the museum, I stopped next door at the Kings Head, an authentic pub. Very old, low ceilings, the works. It had a cool roof deck that looks out on the Castle. After a drink, I headed back into the main part of town. Before heading home, I wandered down the canal for a while, checking out the various hand-operated locks, the boats and more of the local scenery. It was a good day.

Not a lot to say about Alton. It's a pretty standard small ton. A bit bigger than Woking, but since it was Sunday, everything was shut down. I wandered around the town a little bit, checking out the local scenery. There is a cool town square, which I imagine is quite lively on Friday or Saturday nights. After wandering around town, I sat myself down in a local pub, and watched the Liverpool - Chelsea game. it ended in a frustrating draw, which was not the result we needed.

Well, I'm off to Estonia tomorrow...