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Published: August 5th 2013
Old and new houses along the river. Colchester is the oldest recorded town in Britain and dates back to approximately 5 BCE.
Colchester is the oldest town in England and dates back to Roman times. We stayed here last year while attending the Olympics and never had the time to explore this historic village. We're so pleased that we returned and spent some time here. There is a small castle, a beautiful Castle Park, lots of flowers, and a busy downtown shopping area. Portions of the old Roman Wall were scattered throughout the town, with the largest section in the Castle Park. It was a great place to walk and just enjoy the surroundings.
The Anniversary Games (track and field events) were being held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium. We had planned to return to the Olympic Park to walk around and see what was happening there. With the games, we weren't able to get into the Stadium. But, Ron wasn't about to let that happen. Even though the event had been sold out for months, he scored 2 tickets and we were once again in the park and in the stadium. This was especially cool since we didn't get to see it last year.
Not only were we in the stadium, we saw some excellent competition. Britain's gold medal
winner, Mo Farah, ran in the 3000 meter race and won first place. Then, Usain Bolt ("the fastest man on earth") was in the relay race. The night before he entered the stadium riding in a vehicle that looked like a Russian rocket. He just walked on to the field the day we were there. His Jamaican team won the relay. The Russian pole vaulter made three attempts at breaking the 1994 world record of 20 feet 1.75 inches. While it was fun to watch him try, he just couldn't do it.
We were happy once again to meet up with our favorite Londoner's, Ray and Ruth. Our roles were reversed as we took them on a tour of the Olympic Park and tried to enter as many venues as possible. Our "Sunday roast" dinner, with them, at Wetherspoons was a perfect way to end our London stay.
Edinburgh was busy and the weather was great. Tattoo was starting in a few days and the Fringe festivals were popping up all over the city. This time our visit to the Edinburgh Castle included the Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. These were still in London the last
time we were in Scotland.
Ray and Ruth had discussed the decommissioning of the Royal Brittania with us when we were in London. Little did we know that it was located in the suburb where we were staying while in Edinburgh. Naturally, with it that close, we had to go see it. What a lovely old ship. It was decorated according to the Queen's tastes and looked like it was stuck in the '60's.
The ghost of Harry Potter was calling to me and led us to the Elephant House Cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote the first book of the series. It was time for lunch, so we enjoyed the food and the ambiance of the cafe. It didn't look like it had changed much with all the hype that it has surely received due to her fame. The women's bathroom was a tribute in graffiti to her and the characters in the books. The view of the castle from the back dining room windows and the old, stately buildings lining the street must have been an inspiration for her.
We were elated that we had sunny weather in both London and Edinburgh. In fact, we
The Roman Wall
There are portions of the old Roman Wall throughout the town.
were afraid to think it could continue on to Iceland. For the most part it has. Our first 2 days were warm and sunny. These past 2 days have felt like winter - cold and windy. We fly home tomorrow and we're sure that the Florida August heat will be there in full force to greet us.