Kapoor Year 13: UK, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus travel blog

After Walking Through The Roman Gardens We Found Ourselves At The River...

We Stopped In For Lunch At The Bear And Billet Pub, In...

It Was Originally A Townhouse For The Earls Of Shrewsbury, Built In...

We Walked At Street Level North On Southgate Street, Admiring The Buildings...

After Climbing A Set Of Stairs At The Beginning Of The 'Rows',...

'The Rows' Are In Actuality, A Pedestrian Walkway One Level Up, That...

We Noticed That Several Of The Shops On Either Side Of The...

This Shop Was Quite Unique, Anywhere, 'Exotic Works Of Art' From The...

I Particularly Liked The Leaded Glass Windows Framed In Stained Wood

Here's A Piece Of 'Plate' Glass In The Top Left Corner, Glass...

Midway Along Southgate's Eastern Row, We Turned Into An Elaborate Gallery With...

People Were Posing With, And Admiring, A Stunning Bentley Automobile, Produced In...

Eventually We Came To 'The Cross' Where The Four Streets Meet In...

We 'Crossed' Over To The Northwestern Row, And Looked Across At The...

Here You Can See The Lights In A Shop On The Second...

The Plasterwork Above The Inscription Is Quite Spectacular

When We Got To The End Of The Northwest Row, I Discovered...

We Descended To Street Level, Crossed Over To The Other Side, And...

I Don't Believe That I've Seen So Many Well-Preserved Half-Timbered Buildings Anywhere,...

We Were Now Back At The Crossroads Where We Climbed The Stairs...

The Old Boot Inn Must Have Started Out In A More Modest...

We Climbed The Stairs On The Northeast Side Of The Rows, To...

Here The Walkway Is Set Back A Little From The Railings Above...

We'd Taken A Seat Overlooking The Street, But Moved Away From The...

Our Panini Sandwiches Were So Huge That We Weren't Able To Order...

I Was Surprised To Learn That The Second-Storey Rows On The North...

Here's Another View From Chester's Eastgate, Looking Westward Towards The Cross


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BACKGROUND

Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – England chapter Manchester, Liverpool and Northwest England has to say about Chester’s Rows:

“The Rows

Besides the City Walls, Chester’s other great draw is the Rows, a series of two-level galleried arcades along the four streets that fan out in each direction from the Central Cross. The architecture is a handsome mix of Victorian and Tudor (original and mock) buildings that house a fantastic collection of individually owned shops.

Just inside Southgate, known here as Bridgegate (as it’s located at the northern end of the Old Dee Bridge), is the Bear & Billet pub, Chester’s oldest timber-framed building, built in 1664, and once a toll gate into the city.”

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

I first heard of Chester while listening to a podcast of a Rick Steves’ radio programme. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about him:

“Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author, activist and television personality. Since 2000, he has hosted Rick Steves' Europe, a travel series on PBS. Steves also has a public radio travel show called Travel with Rick Steves and has authored numerous travel guides.”

Over the past several years, I learned to listen to his podcasts before we set off to see a new European destination. I picked up quite a few good suggestions on how to get off the beaten track, instead of just following the tried a true routes. The first great tip I learned from him was to explore the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece instead of rushing to see the islands.

I came across one of his programs where he invited two English tour guides to suggest a few cities in England that most tourists overlook. The first guide mentioned Plymouth right away, and the second suggested Chester. Of course I’d heard of Plymouth before because of its connection to the Mayflower and America’s Founding Fathers, but I’d never heard of Chester and had no idea where it was.

When the tour guides talked about Chester being a walled city I was already intrigued, and then they talked about The Rows I was bound and determined to add it to my list of must-see destinations. The fact that it is situated near Liverpool only added to its appeal.

As you will have seen from the entries in the installment of my travel journals, we added both Plymouth and Chester to our plans to visit southwest England during this current venture into Britain.

After touring around Devon and Cornwall we took a train from Plymouth to Chester despite the fact that the weather forecast in the Liverpool/Chester area looked rather bleak. We planned to explore northern Wales after a few days in Chester and a day trip to Liverpool. However, before leaving Plymouth we felt we had to make a decision as to when to leave England, and with the weather in Wales predicted to be wet, we booked our flights to Bulgaria and decided to see Wales another time.

Our first morning in Chester was overcast and cool, but after two hours in the Chester Cathedral, we stepped out into sunshine. For the rest of our stay in the region, we had plenty of sun and no rain at all. Kapoor luck strikes again. Wales remained under cloudy skies and had scattered showers here and there, so we felt we’d made the right decision.

Our visit to The Rows in Chester was as interesting and unique as we’d hoped it would be. Overall, Chester is a delightful city – probably one of the best-kept secrets in all of England.

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