Back to Exeter today, the plan was to see the underground passages early then find the historic quayside and join what they call a “red-coat walking tour” around the quay area. Seems to be a recurring theme at the moment, but the plan had to be revised, the passages thing was all booked out until 3 in the afternoon and the only red-coat tour for the day was at 2 in the afternoon. After booking in for the passages tour I headed off for the quay area – had a map from the tourist centre and the maps thing on my phone going and still got bamboozled. Some people I know would say they’re not surprised at this, but honestly, I’m not usually this bad at finding my way around! With more good luck than good management and by
stalking following a couple of people who had a map and looked like tourists I eventually got there.
It’s another nice place, although very quiet compared to the town centre, and has the old storage things under the cliffs now housing crafty shops. Did a bit of a walk through and stopped for lunch at a coffee shop there before braving the walk back to town. I came to an intersection and the sign for the town centre was pointing to the right when I had been expecting to turn left – I really must have looked lost or befuddled because a woman stopped and asked me if I needed help. When I explained, she just laughed and said the sign had been messed with and that I should go left, yay me!
I AM SO PEEVED RIGHT NOW!!! For the second time now I’ve lost a post – but, on the bright side, at least now I know how I did it. It’s all to do with using an iPad and happens when I’m adding photos. Soooooo, this will be a quick catch-up!
You’d think with over an hour to spare and ample shops around I’d have been in seventh heaven but this having to carry everything with you all the time has really put a dampener on my shopping skills – unbelievable, I know, but true! As good as it got was replacing my keyboard and get another charger for my phone/iPad. Note to others, those keyboard you have to plug into a computer to charge aren’t much good when you don’t have access to computers, good old Apple make one that runs on AA batteries!
The highlight of Exeter for me was the underground passages tour. From the street you go down maybe 50 stairs to the shop and exhibition room where they have a few interactive displays for the technically minded, a video you can stand in front of that shows you “flying” through the tunnels, artifacts recovered from the area and the usual poster information. Before the tour starts they show a video explaining the history of the passageways then it’s on with the hard hats and follow the leader.
The passages were built back in the 14th or 15th century; parts of Exeter had a fresh water supply that originated from springs outside the city walls and ran through lead pipes. To make maintaining the pipes easier they dug deep ditches, lined the walls with bricks, built a roof over the top and ran the pipes through what is now the underground passages. I think they are now about 4 – 6 meters underground, very cool don’t you think?
We hadn’t gone more than 10 steps before I had my first “thunk”, thank goodness for the hard hat; from then on I adopted this funny stooped over waddle for the rest of the tour. I don’t think we really covered much ground but passed a few intersections and a couple of alcoves they think had been used as defensive lookouts during wars – not sure if the passages were as deep then or not. The guide was great, we stopped a few times and she’d let us know where we were in relation to landmarks at street level or tell us different bits and pieces. In one section there is a bit of a detour you can take that is extremely low, out of the ten or so people only one young Asian girl took the challenge, and she duck walked through! The guide was laughing, she said she’d never had anyone do that before, everyone always crawls on hands and knees. Anyhow, I loved every minute of it, just wish I had been last in line so I could have taken a few decent photos, but you can’t have everything, can you.
So, back to Exmouth on the train, dinner at the Beach Pub and another great day done and dusted.