Friday, January 04, 2008

England: Part I

I was admiring some lovely photos of Scotland during my daily visit to Amongst The Oaks, my newest favorite blog (and, let's face it, sometimes I'm there more than just daily--I'm a scary stalker), when it ocurred to me that I've never shared photos from our trip to England, four years ago. And I thought, I need to do something about that! Yes, I'm a copy cat, I admit it!

I don't know why I haven't posted any photos before, since it was the best trip of my entire life, except for being constantly and painfully aware of just how far away my children were from me the entire time. But all that is about to change.

We spent 10 dreamy days dashing around the country, trying to see everything we've always wanted to see, giving my Anglophilia plenty of indulgence. It was the trip of a life time and, apart from missing my children dreadfully, an absolute dream come true.

We flew into Heathrow and spent our first hours in the UK dealing with trivial things like changing money and finding transportation. We did stop to sample our very first fish and chips and make a phone call home before boarding our bus to Bristol, on which we bounced in our seats like children, whispering excitedly to each other, "We're in England, we're in ENGLAND!!"

Here I am making the, "we didn't fall out of the sky" call home. It wasn't the red English phone booth I was hoping to find, but it did require an advanced university degree in order to use the bloody thing properly. I never did quite manage the knack of it; The Viking had to dial for me every time I called home.

Our first stop was at a small pub in a small village not far from Bristol. Almondsbury, I think it was. We were planning on going to Bath the next day and because of the bank holiday, Almondsbury was as close as we could get. This shot of me with my "cat-that-ate-the-canary" look, and my very first of what was to become many shandies, pictured bottom left, was taken outside the pub while waiting for our dinner. We had been in England only a few hours and I was still demanding The Viking pinch me every 5 minutes to make sure it was real. Shortly after this was taken, The Viking enjoyed the biggest hunk of meat he has ever had the joy of eating. A half-shoulder of lamb or something. Whatever it was, it was lamb, and it was monstrous and absolutely delicious. We were delighted to find we are very much pub-food people.

Our first morning in England, our very first heart-attack-on-a-plate full English breakfast. Can't you just smell the bacon? And the jetlag? I must say I am a great fan of the traditional English breakfast, though by day 4 we had to ease up a bit. It was just too much for us, though I feel like a cowardly American just saying it. I was also too cowardly to try the Marmite, though I did bring home several packs of it the tease the children with. They weren't willing to try it, either.

The Royal Crescent in Bath. We managed to take a bus tour of the city and stumble across some kind of festival in the park before jetlag took its toll. We spent the entire third day sleeping in our room and scared the housemaid senseless when she discovered us sacked out in the middle of the day. We weren't sure what the "do not disturb" protocol was and, apparently, we didn't get it right. We also got funny looks when we asked for more toilet paper. The perplexed girl handed us the morning newspaper before we thought to ask for loo paper instead!

An entire day's sleep did us a world of good and we were ready to embark on a proper raid of the city of Bath. Here we have the lovely Pulteney Bridge. I think it was here we encountered our first "ugly American," an unpleasant young woman whining about being unable to find a decent cup of tea in all of England. I wanted to pitch her head first into the River Avon.

Here, of course, is Bath Abbey, a definite must-see if you're in Bath. You really can't miss it as it seems to be at the center of everything.

As is the Roman Baths Museum. I like this shot with the Abbey towering the background. The Baths were intriguing, the green waters still bubbling and misting, but I admit I got tired of following The Viking around as he read every single line printed anywhere in the entire building. Also, the Museum had the most disgusting loo out of all loos we used on the trip. Not a very enviable distinction, but one that stands out in my mind at least.

We also took part in the most hilarious walking tour of the city, "Bizarre Bath" while we were there. It was amazingly funny and informative, a combination of night club stand up comedy, magic act and museum tour. If you're ever in Bath, I highly recommend it.

While relaxing in the lounge of the B&B one evening, we met an English couple also staying in Bath for the weekend. We got to talking and wound up chatting the night away until well past midnight! They were so lovely and laughed at our accents and the way I said tomatoes, sidewalk and curtains. We talked politics, movies, tv, travel, and what Americans and the English are really like. It was one of the highlights of our entire trip.

I think that's more than enough for one post, don't you? After all, there's lots more to share with lots and lots more photos. Let's leave it there for now.

Next time: Lacock, Gloucester and the Cotswolds.


Amongst The Oaks said...

Oh Pippajo,
I laughed out loud when I read your post just now. The thing about the Full English Breakfast was so funny because we felt the same way after about four of them! The only part of it we've cared to repeat is the tomaaaahtoes. They are so tasty baked like that.
Thanks for the promo on your blog.
Hugs from Laura at Amongst The Oaks

Rhondi said...

Hi I found your blog through Angela's Cottage Magpie. England is my favorite place to travel to so I really enjoyed looking at all your photos. It brought back memories of trips we've taken to that wonderful country. Rhondi