I feel like I chose the most obscure place in England for the final and fourth leg of our journey — Lyme Regis. Unless you’ve read Persuasion or The French Lieutenant’s Woman, you likely have never heard of it. But I had high hopes for the place, we wanted to go to the sea, and Lyme did not disappoint. Our 2.5 days there were the most relaxing of the entire trip, except for the fact that the bed and breakfast was at the top of the hill and the main part of town is down the hill by the sea which meant some strenuous walking. But we’re young, so it was okay.
Here is an account of our second day in Lyme, just to give you a taste of the pace and the beauty we experienced there:
Then we went to the edge of town and looked at the cliffs that we were hoping to walk but because of landslides were not permitted. We’d really hoped to walk those cliffs and have a picnic (and follow in the footsteps of Cpt. Wentworth), but walking on the Cobb the day before was good enough.
Because we couldn’t walk the cliffs, we decided to walk along the beach on the other side of town. We spent well over an hour working our way through the rocks and looking at fossils in the rocks, which is what Lyme is known for.
What we did the rest of the afternoon eludes me. For some strange reason we didn’t get another cream tea, which I’m sure was a mistake. I think we didn’t because we’d had the full English breakfast in the morning and were saving our appetite for sticky toffee pudding after supper. I think we may have napped briefly in the afternoon and then headed back down to the town. I recall being in a panic trying to remember where I’d seen a small fossil necklace to get for Madeline. I walked all over the town looking in the shops and finally found the one I’d seen in at the far end of the town, at the bottom of the hill, in a crowded little rock shop in a small back-alley-of-a-street. While I was wandering, Marc was reading by the sea. The town carnival was going on that day and we knew there would be fireworks that night, so we decided to read by the sea instead of walking that big hill back to the bed and breakfast after supper and then back down again.
With more than hour to spare before the sun went down and the fireworks started, we claimed a bench in the Jane Austen Gardens which make up a portion of the hill. We sat there and read under the lamplight. I was reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which I purchased at Waterstone’s at Trafalgar Square) and Marc was reading Bill Bryson’s new book (at that time released only in England) At Home. It got cool and drizzled rain a bit and Marc put his arm around me and then got us some tea and hot chocolate to keep us warm. The parade went past on the street below when he got our drinks. People were gathered on the beach in the dark, kids kicking balls and playing with glow sticks.
The fireworks started at 10pm and they were amazing. They seemed extra spectacular because they appeared to be so close to us from our vantage point halfway up the hill. It wasn’t until the fireworks were essentially over that we realized we could’ve videotaped them with our camera. Oh well. They will stay in our memory.
What will also stay in our memory is the pouring rain that started within seconds of the fireworks ending. And we, along with a good chunk of the people on the hill and the beach, ran through the paths of the Jane Austen Gardens and up the hill to our bed and breakfast, where we (just us, not the the rest of the people on the hill and at the beach) settled ourselves in for the night — our second last sleep in glorious, rainy England.