Monday, 9 July 2007

Pubs and Parks

We took advantage of a rare sunny day Sunday to explore in Reading. We made a stop at the Forbury Gardens, which is a beautiful park next to the Abbey ruins. The landscaping and flowers are wonderful at this park, and the town symbol, a roaring lion, overlooks it all. A duo was even playing an accordion and acoustic guitar in a gazebo -- my grandparents would've loved that (but I'm not much into accordion music, so I moved on).

What was most interesting to me, however, was what I found in the Town Hall. It's more than just a place for meetings or paying your water bill, like it is in many U.S. cities. There was a museum, a gift shop, a concert hall, a cafe and a BAR! That's right, a BAR (the 3Bs Cafe Bar, to be exact)! I thought this was great, and a real sign of the differences between U.S. and English culture. In the U.S., it would be scandalous to have a bar at a city or town government building. A few vocal, annoying people would start shouting about how the bar was somehow setting a bad example for children and somehow fueling alcoholism in general. It just wouldn't be done. Here, it's no biggie. Below is a picture of the sign for the bar in the window near the sign for Town Hall.

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