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Published: March 18th 2013
Though this post will be on the English Countryside in Wiltshire, I can’t help but relate an incredible story that occurred along the way.
After an hour’s train ride from Bath to Salisbury, we all alighted at the station with zest, eager to explore the town. What I didn’t realize though, was that I had carelessly left my wallet on the train, without putting it back into my jean’s pocket, as I would have done everyday. And when I did find out, the train left, leaving us having to report the loss to the station manager and hopefully wait for any news from the train conductor when the train reaches the next destination in a good half an hour’s time. What a day to lose my wallet, on my actual birthday on that fateful day.
And so, instead of waiting, we headed for the town first (we intended to return anyway). What occurred next was probably out of my imagination. Luck or fate, as some would call it. But it definitely threw my definition of coincidence out of the window. And it makes one of my most incredible travel stories thus far.
I casually took out my phone
and log onto Facebook, as I slowly come to terms of losing the valuables in my wallet, logically thinking of the next steps ahead, such as reporting the loss of credit cards and such. Then, a private message streamed in from a random stranger. The message carried a screenshot of an Instagram post by a fellow Singaporean:
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY fellow Singaporean Teo Yong Sheng! You dropped your wallet on the train but it’s safe with me 😉 Friends, please share this photo on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter so I can return this wallet to its rightful owner! I’m contactable at _____.” with a picture of my Identification card.
I was in utter disbelief when I first saw that. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. And when a few other similar private messages subsequently came in, one after the other, asking if I lost my wallet, I just went “Oh My God”, literally. From frantic to dejection to acceptance of fact, then shock and astonishment to relief, a whirlwind of emotions just went through me, before I finally came to realize that, YES, my wallet was retrieved somehow in a pure coincidental manner, by a fellow countryman on a foreign land. And
by means of technology, I was able to establish contact with the kind-hearted lady over the Internet within half an hour of the incident.
I was honestly, at that point in time, really thankful for the lady (and friend-to-be), for my friends who stuck with me, for social media (minus the fact that I became an ‘Internet sensation’ overnight for stupidly losing my wallet on my birthday and then recovering it), for those who messaged me about my loss and simply, for what has just happened. It has got to be the most memorable birthday indeed. This episode just reaffirmed my belief in the goodness of mankind and how some things are just meant to occur. Well, it also taught me to take better care of my things!
Phew, with that out of my mind, the visit of Salisbury was so much more at ease. Went to the Cathedral and gave a word of thanks. The Salisbury Cathedral in my impression was more remarkable than those I saw in Spain, I thought. (Not that I could really appreciate Cathedrals anyway). And without disappointing, the town feels like what I thought it would be, quiet and peaceful.
Perfect little self-contained neighborhood to slack a few days and enjoy the slow paced lifestyle. The next day’s trip to Stonehenge, Avebury, Lacock and Castle Combe just opened my eyes to the English countryside. We took a full day tour with Mad Max, a very reliable and informative tour in my opinion. Figured that it’s the most efficient way to cover the countryside without having to rent a car and go through the unnecessary hassle. The guide was able to provide thorough history of the places visited and the significance behind them in an interesting manner, which of course I am not able to replicate those here. Wikipedia might do that!
While Stonehenge is famous for well, it’s stones and the history of it, Avebury has its lesser-known stone circle and henge that surrounds the little village, seemingly in a protection of it. Sadly though, what’s remained is just a fraction of it. Lacock is yet another gem that is not yet trampled by tourism. Tim mentioned that some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed here, which isn’t surprising given the stunning rural landscape flanked by honeycomb-like houses, lush greenery and an absence of modern-day street lamps. And the
fact that Lacock is served by just one bakery, a cathedral, 4 pubs and smaller shops lined along the main alley just makes it all the more endearing to me. Saving the best for the last, Castle Combe is the icing on the cake. It is an even tinier village situated at the bottom of the valley, with just a main market square and 1 (or actually 1 and a half) main street that connects 2 rows of medieval houses, that doesn’t look unlike each other. Tranquility has got to be the best description for this place, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. A pity the weather is slightly too cold for us to completely soak in the atmosphere but if there’s a chance to return, I’ll definitely pick Castle Combe as my top choice day trip.
This trip rounded up travels before Easter. It’s time to hit the books a little before looking forward to a long Easter break, which also means, more travels! Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and Bulgaria await!
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