On our arrival in Glastonbury, the first glimpse we had was not the mysticism and eccentricity it was all the hanging baskets bursting with blooming flowers. They were a surprise and more than we had seen in other English towns.
What a colourful and cheerful display.
There were more surprises to come as we wandered around.
More than we expected.
After a while, I realised that we were the odd “persons” standing out in the local crowd. Why? For one, our clothing was rather subdued bordering on boring and so was our hair. We needed glitter, coloured hair sprays, clothes that flow behind us as we walked down the street.
What were we thinking!
Then there were a few that acted like they were still experiencing their “acid trip” from the first Glastonbury Festival. Others looked like they had recreated the bygone 1960’s hippy era. I was starting to think we had been transported back in time.
Nowhere else will you find such an eclectic range of shops. From tarot readings to huge amounts of crystals, to music shops and fairy paintings. You can purchase incense sticks, jewellery and clothes with fantasy prints. With locals showcasing the clothes, just in case you were wondering what they would look like on.
There are the less exotic though not any less interesting shops such as the supermarket. As one local blogger describes the experience of being a shop assistant, life is never dull, in the local supermarket;
The grumpy ones don’t tend to last long as working behind the counter requires skills more usually found amongst mental health professionals. They also need to possess a facial recognition system on a par with the Police National Computer, in order to identify the many benchers (Glastonbury’s street drinkers) who are currently banned from purchasing alcohol. The staff also appear to have a surfeit of kindness, I recently heard one explaining to an elderly and rather dithering gentleman that no, they didn’t have Hot Cross Buns, it being June, but they had been able to find a packet of mincepies for him. To read more about what life is like from a locals viewpoint head to Normal for Glastonbury
Then there were many of us, shall we say, “visitors” wandering around with a fixed bemused smile on our faces. Let’s face it, there are not many towns in the UK, where you see a drag queen happily clutching a pink unicorn striding along singing an inaudible song. Not a flutter of an eyelid from the locals, the only people to react with surprise was the visitors. What is extraordinary about Glastonbury is the number of “alternative thinkers”.
Then after a very short while, all sights and sounds become quite “normal”.
It does seem a place of pilgrimage and sanctuary for many people to come in search of their inner peace.
Their “Slice of Paradise”.
After acknowledging the uniqueness of this town, there is, of course, another side that needs to be seen, and, that is the mystical and historical sites of the Abbey and the Tor.
The Glastonbury Abbey
We bit the bullet and shelled out a few pounds, to be more precise, 15 pounds. Was it worth the money? I wasn’t convinced. Though maybe we have saturated our memory bank with a few old ruins in the last few years. Having said that, it was fascinating how dwarfed I felt standing near the Abbey ruins. It was a monastery before it was an Abbey. It must have been an incredible place to view before the destruction began.
The abbey was founded in the 7th century and enlarged in the 10th. It was destroyed by a major fire in 1184, but subsequently rebuilt and by the 14th century was one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England.
For more detailed information: Glastonbury Abbey
The Glastonbury Tor
The Tor is a hill and a great way to work that gluteus maximus and have a plausible excuse to indulge in something cold and luscious. The reward is to view the roofless St Michael’s Tower and those glorious countryside views.
The conical hill of clay and Blue Lias rises from the Somerset Levels. It was formed when surrounding softer deposits were eroded, leaving the hard cap of sandstone exposed. The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Artefacts from human visitation have been found, dating from the Iron Age to Roman eras.
For more detailed information: Glastonbury Tor
It really was the oddest town of all that we have visited, and, we have seen quite a few on our travels. From eclectic type folk to history dating back thousands of years. Perhaps the two go hand in hand?