字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 -Hi. I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. This time, we're exploring a gorgeous region, where druids dance and waterwheels turn. It's the West of England. Thanks for joining us. ♪♪ If you like England and you want to mix its natural, historic, and cultural wonders, you'll love the West. While everything in this episode's within a couple hours of London, out here, it feels a world away from the big city. After hiking through picturesque Cotswold villages, we'll play shuffleboard with an eccentric lord. Earl of Wemyss: That's a nice one. We'll tour a striking cathedral, and attend evensong. After going way back to the Neolithic Age, we'll zoom into the new age. And we'll top it off with some hard apple cider straight from the farmer. Great Britain is made of England, Scotland, and Wales. And we're exploring the West of England. Starting in the Cotswolds, we visit Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden. Then it's south to Wells, Glastonbury, and the prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. The Cotswold hills are dotted with enchanting villages and bucolic farmland. And it's all laced together by wonderful trails. This is the quintessential English countryside. And it's walking country. The Cotswolds are best appreciated on foot, and that's how we'll tour the area. The region's made to order for tenderfeet. You'll encounter time-passed villages, delightful vistas, and poetic moments. You'll discover hidden stone bridges, cut across fancy front yards, and enjoy close encounters with lots of sheep. The English love their walks, and defend their age-old right to free passage. And they organize to assure that landowners respect this law, too. Any paths found blocked are unceremoniously unblocked. While landlords have plenty of fences, they provide plenty of gates as well. You'll encounter all sorts of gates on these hikes. This one's called a "kissing gate" -- it works better with two. Lower Slaughter is a classic example of a Cotswold village, with a babbling brook, charming gardens, and a working water mill. Just above the mill, a delightful cafe overlooks the mill pond. As with many fairy-tale regions in Europe, the present-day beauty of the Cotswolds was the result of an economic disaster. Wool was a huge industry in medieval England. And Cotswold sheep grew the very best. According to a 12th-century saying, "In Europe, the best wool is English. And in England, the best wool is Cotswold." It's a story of boom and bust, and then boom again. Because of its wool, the region prospered. Wealthy wool merchants built fine homes of the honey-colored, local limestone. Thankful to God for the riches their sheep brought, they built over-sized churches nicknamed "wool cathedrals." But with the rise of cotton and the Industrial Revolution, the region's wool industry collapsed. The fine Cotswold towns fell into a depressed time warp, becoming sleeping beauties. Because of that, the region has a rustic charm. And that's the basis of today's new prosperity. Its residents are catering to lots of tourists, and the Cotswolds have become a popular escape for Londoners -- people who can afford thatched mansions like these. In England, "Main Street" is called "the high street" -- and in Cotswold market towns, high street was built wide, designed to handle thousands of sheep on market days. The handsome market town of Chipping Campden has a high street that's changed little over the centuries. Everything you see was made of the same finely worked Cotswold stone, the only stone allowed today. Roofs still use the traditional stone shingles. To make the weight easier to bear, smaller and lighter slabs are higher up. A 17th-century market hall, with its original stonework from top to bottom intact, marks the town center. Hikers admire the surviving medieval workmanship. You can imagine centuries of wheelings and dealings that took place under these very rafters. Continuing our walk, we come to the quaint village of Stanton. Travel writers tend to overuse the word "quaint." I save it for here in the Cotswolds. A strict building code keeps towns looking what many locals call "overly quaint." Village churches welcome walkers to pop in and enjoy a thoughtful break. This church probably sits upon an ancient pagan site. How do we know? It's dedicated to Saint Michael. And Michael, the archangel who fought the devil, still guards the door. Inside, you get a sense that this church has comforted this community in good times and bad. Pre-Christian symbols decorate the columns, perhaps left over from those pagan days. And the list of rectors goes way back, without a break, to the year 1269. This church was built with wool money. In fact, they say generations of sheepdog leashes actually wore these grooves. I guess a shepherd took his dog everywhere, even to church. Throughout this region, a few of the vast domains of England's most powerful families have survived. The Cotswolds are dotted with elegant, Downton Abbey-type mansions. Today, with the high cost of maintenance and heavy taxes, some noble families have opened their homes to the public to help pay the bills. Stanway House, home of the Earl of Wemyss, is one such venerable manor house. The Earl, whose family goes back centuries, welcomes visitors two days a week. Walking through his house offers a surprisingly intimate glimpse into the lifestyles of England's nobility. And the gracious and likeably eccentric Earl has agreed to personally show us around his ancestral home, including a peak at some touching family mementos. Earl of Wemyss: Hair, cut off at a death in the family. Rick: That was a tradition? Early of Wemyss: It was, certainly in this house it was a tradition. And it's kept in this drawer, here. And, um, for instance, this is, this says "Papa's hair. My sister gave it me March the 11th, 1771." Rick: This piece of paper is from 1771? Earl of Wemyss: Mm-hmm. And then that's the hair inside. Rick: Oh, my goodness! Earl of Wemyss:...just as fresh as the day it was cut off. Rick: Whoa! Earl of Wemyss: And that's his hair, cut off on the day his wife died of pneumonia. Rick: So this is a huge table. Earl of Wemyss: It is. It's 23 feet long. Rick: And what's the game? Earl of Wemyss: It's called "shuffleboard" or "shovelboard." Rick: Mm-hmm. Earl of Wemyss: It was known in Henry VIII's time. This one was built, we think, in 1625, just the beginning of the reign of Charles I. And you use these 10 pieces and you try and... Rick: Let's try a game! Earl of Wemyss:...shovel the lot to the far end. That's a nice one. Rick: It may be a game for English aristocrats. But this Yankee commoner is gonna give it a try. Earl of Wemyss: Very good. Very good. One point. Very good. Very nice, but two foot short. Rick: Another interesting artifact is what was called a "chamber horse," a sprung exercise chair from the 1750s. Earl of Wemyss: And you did that. You'd bounce up and down. And your liver gets shaken. Rick: For 100 years, fine ladies would sit on here and... Earl of Wemyss: Yep. Rick:...get their liver done. Earl of Wemyss: And fine gentlemen, too.