Last month we took a week off and spent a workation week in Winchester. We came across a mesmerising place with a person pursuing a fascinating passion…
Many people come to our coworking space to combine travel and work. And how about us? So after many years of building and developing our workation location in Santanyí, we finally did it ourselves.
The destination came about for professional reasons, we didn’t know Winchester before. Conclusion: Thumbs up for this choice! The city and the surrounding Hampshire give a really beautiful setting for the stay. Kerri’s AirBnB was also a fitting place for us to stay for a week, as we had the best weather and thus enjoyed the seating area in front of the small cottage overlooking the green of her garden.
Talking of greenery: I was really impressed by what the warmth of the Gulf Stream makes possible in terms of flowers and plants in southern England. Here I discovered some of the plants that grow here in Mallorca, but in much more lush splendour. Well, in Winchester there was no burning sun during the summer months.
Preparation: Coworking Spaces nearby
Beforehand, I had made enquiries to see if there was a coworking space nearby. After all, how often do we welcome people to our coworking space in Santanyí because the internet in their accommodation doesn’t live up to its promise? I wasn’t too worried because my demands were small: I needed online access for research on my book project and for a one-hour video conference meeting.
And indeed, while looking for a good coffee near our accommodation in the St. Cross district, I found it in the coworking space. In the garden of the watermill, which had been converted into a business space, I wrote a chapter, met my writing companion Robin and had a delicious cappuccino.
In the coworking space’s window with drinks counter, I chatted a bit with the host and took a look at the interior with its thick, cosy armchairs. The Space itself is not open to day guests; what I found exciting for a workation was the option to book a favourable monthly ticket for use between 5pm and 9am.
More Coffee & treasures
In Winchester city centre, I was delighted with the Autumn House Winchester, which had just opened. They know a cortado here, and I can only rave about the cakes served.
On Friday we went there together for lunch (also very tasty) and then took a guided tour of Winchester Cathedral. I’m not usually a fan of visiting ecclesiastical buildings, but here the secular connection of the building as the seat of government was particularly interesting.
If you’re ever there, take a cue from these keywords that make Winchester Cathedral truly special:
- A truly remarkable long(!) church building – originally built in 1079; longest Gothic cathedral in Europe.
- A large stained glass window at the entrance that looks like modern art, which turns out to be an unsolvable puzzle of fragments of the original window. During the Civil War the troops destroyed the huge west window when they shot at it with bones of the deceased Saxon kings gathered from their coffins.
- A statue for the deep-sea diver William Walker who spent six years diving into the cathedral’s foundations to replace rotten wood with cement bags.
- A Bible from the 12th century, decorated with bright colours and remarkably modern-looking illustrations. The Winchester Bible’s pages look as colourful and intense as they did 800 years ago.
- A wonderfully preserved fund of the most diverse medieval square tiles (13th century) – still located where they were first laid.
- A „writer’s window“ in the north side aisle, along with a brass plaque, commemorates the writer Jane Austen – installed 1872 long after her death in 1817, after her rather inconspicuous gravestone in the cathedral became a place of pilgrimage for her readers.
Apropos Jane Austen
While wandering around, I happened to stumble across No. 8 College Street, where Jane Austen spent the last time before her untimely death at 41. I found it very comforting that she could look out on a very beautiful tree and garden from there.
In fact, I had never read anything by her before. And so I bought „Pride and Prejudice“ as an eBook and immersed myself in her world in the 18th century. Winchester and its old buildings are definitely a fitting backdrop when reading!
Fun fact: Actor Colin Firth went to school in Winchester and played the role of Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC production of the book.
Austen’s books contain autobiographical traces of a woman who pursued her passion as a writer in a time when women were supposed to make a good match at marriage, not turn their passion like writing into a professional activity.
Let’s get back to Friday: After the tour, we looked for a refreshing coffee and found ourselves in front of Proudfoot & Co. We liked the armchairs and green plants in the supposed café. A ‚Woodsman‘ on a poster in the window smiled at us, and so we entered to have a delicious coffee speciality.
Behind the counter, Mr. Proudfoot, as he introduced himself to us, was busily working. My gaze fell on the huge glass cupboard, in which a wide variety of plants were placed in large glass pots. The words „Drinks #ForTheBoldAndCurious“ were emblazoned above it. Uh-oh.
At the counter, we were invited to taste some of his infused roots and herbs, the recipes for which he digs into the past: the passionate master of potions studies in old cookbooks, learns brewing techniques and production methods that have gone out of fashion. He scours the surrounding forests for ingredients, ferments them himself and taps the sap from the trees.
Rainer ordered the ‚Woodsman‘ already chosen by the poster in the shop window; official description:
„Sometimes coffee deserves more than a few rushed minutes to appreciate. The Woodsman is an elegant iced coffee, barrel-aged for five years and infused with the foraged flavours of the forest.“
I am a huge fan of peppermint, so I ordered the ‚Black Mitcham Peppermint Milk‘. And I was as impressed by this drink as Rainer was by his. The ‚Mitcham‘ peppermint – considered the mother of peppermints – really has a an awesome taste.
At the entrance of the café, a brass object in the open cupboard caught my eye. As Proudfoot explained, it was a vacuum coffee machine from Belgium. This coffee maker is over 100 years old.
It is one of the few objects or products that actually have something to do with coffee in his enchanting establishment!
What would you have ordered?
So many new things learned.
Proof again that a workation always is a learncation, too.
For your visit to Winchester
- Map • If you fancy visiting some of the places in Winchester we have been to, I’ve created a list on GoogleMaps called ‚Winchester Spots‘: https://goo.gl/maps/8HMWH4f7RFRh88Ps7.
- Info • All about Winchester: https://www.visitwinchester.co.uk
- Scrapbook (in progress) • I am about to collect some more photos in an online scrapbook – so check back later for the link.
Photos: Doris Schuppe / Rayaworx • Illustration: Doris Schuppe with Canva.com • English version with the help of deepl.com