Sunday: After a long, long sleep we had a late breakfast (being Sunday it didn’t’ start until 9am) and again found everything about the food and the service great. Although it is not on the tourist trail, we cannot speak highly enough of this establishment.
The gorgeous weather we have been enjoying deserted us today and the skies were grey. We wanted to see the ancient Cinque Port of Rye but by the time we got there the drizzle had started (or as the Brits call it, slow rain) and it was very chilly. So we did a quick walk up and around the narrow cobbled street such as Mermaid St admiring the quaint old houses along the way. Then we were happy to get back in the car and warm up.
Because of the grey watery skies, we debated whether it would be worth continuing along the coast to see the white cliffs that they call the Seven Sisters. Luck was with us as we reached Birling Gap and climbed the promontory as the sun peeped out for a little while to give us a magnificent view of the cliffs rolling off into the distance.
A short detour off the motorway to see Arundel Castle did not prove as lucky. We saw the castle on the way in but there was some parade through the town which stopped the traffic so as soon as we could we slipped out and made straight for Portsmouth.
The Florence Gardens Hotel is actually at Southsea and we were greeted warmly by a very ebullient young Portuguese lady called Mary. On seeing my walking stick she decided to change our room from one the 5th floor to the 2nd – what a relief! Then she insisted on carrying both our cases (about 27kg), one in each hand, up the stairs to a very nicely decorated and spacious room.
To stretch our legs we walked to the waterfront which was vey close by and then along towards Portsmouth for some distance. It was all very attractive and interesting. We had booked for dinner at the Florence Gardens restaurant and there was Mary waiting for us. She is such an asset to this hotel. Dinner was again absolutely delicious and beautifully presented – my Mushroom Ragout with Polenta and Heather’s Vegetable and Goat Cheese stack – with a very good Chilean Merlot. Then we shared a Hazelnut Brulee with Chocolate Shortbread. Two wonderful meals in a row – superb!