Finally a moment to sit down and recount my ten days of travel abroad (was gone for a month but only spent ten days in England, the rest were darting around the west coast). Have composed two versions of the story, one long and one short and sweet! (I've placed the long one after the cut with some photos from the trip, unfortunately just of the instagram variety.)
The Short Version:
It was a magnificent, perfectly dreamy, better than imagined trip.
1. BnB in Rye 2. The Mermaid Inn in Rye 3. At Canterbury Cathedral
4. Our hotel next to the Cathedral gate. 5. Mums and me 6. Bed like final resting place
7. At the Tower of London 8. Medium Ben 9. St. Paul's Cathedral
10. The gate at The Globe 11. Flower Market in London 12. YES!
13. Garden in Hungerford 14. Hannah the VIII 15. Sheep in Newbury
16. Where Lady Mary lives 17. Lewes 18. Dressed like a big baby getting a hug from Mum
The Long (very long) Version:
My journey began with a mad dash during rush hour to Newark, surprisingly this was the only time in my travels that I got lost. In my own city, for shame (to be fair, don't often hang around 34th street). Nearly made the mistake of getting off at Newark station and not the next, Newark Airport which would have left me confused and briefly stranded. After a tedious three hour delay finally boarded and fell asleep hovering somewhere over the Atlantic and woke up 10am local time at Heathrow. I, shockingly, (thanks to my friendly English online pals) did not get lost finding my way to Rye.
An excerpt from my journal that day:
"Tripped a man with my suitcase leaving the tube at Victoria. He lay on the ground and we looked at each other and he said "Right. Okay." like Hugh Grant and I apologized profusely with saucer eyes.
Once to Rye I lingered for two hours outside the train station for my Mum but got too delirious to continue waiting and barreled up through to high street with my cranky sounding luggage and checked into our first BnB, a delightful (gluten free and organic) spot called Hayden's in Rye. The room had a comfy window seat overlooking the adorable street below and was stocked with tea and chocolates and most importantly wifi and a private bathroom. Shortly after was joined by my Mum, I'd not seen her for over a year! After lots of excited chatter had a much needed nap then we shared a drink downstairs with the BnB folks and off to a late dinner. The next morning we went to a silly little museum (the Rye Castle Museum) and a beautiful old church at which we were greeted with my beloved Grandpa's favourite hymn sung by a lone elderly gentleman next to an organist. We ended the day with drinks at the famous Mermaid Inn on Mermaid Street.
Canterbury was our second destination. We stayed at a 500 year old hotel nestled next to the Cathedral Gate entrance. We had a perfect view of the busy square below from which we were treated to saxophone serenades of hits including "Spanish Flea" and "New York, New York". Our Cathedral experience was gorgeous, we arrived just as choir practice began and were treated to a bit of musical ambiance for our visit. The following day we left for London where we were met by two of my favourites, Nicole and Pierre who were our gracious hosts for the next few days. Nicole organized a sea themed party for our arrival and we dressed up like mermaids and drank a blue drink that left me feeling suitably sea sick (there I met the super, super lovely Kelly-Marie).
London was wonderful, full of all the historical bits that I'd grown up pining to explore. I ate a lot of cheese and found two pairs of shoes to bring home with me (was not anticipating to shoe shop but both pairs I'd brought were completely destroyed by cobblestones). We stayed for three days exploring the first day a sunday flower market, the fantastic Geffrye Museum, the shoreditch area and a pretty outdoor lunch at an inner city farm. The second day was devoted entirely to nerdy history activities which left us both deliriously happy. The third day was the only disappointment of the whole trip. I have, since sixth grade, been salivating at the idea of one day visiting the Tate and my favourite Pre-Raphaelite paintings who reside there. Very excitedly we went only to learn that NO, ALL OF THE PRE-RAPHAELITES ARE HIDING. They were stashed away for an Pre-Raph exhibition set to open on the 13th (go, you lucky Londoners, go for me). Dejected we left London to Wilton House, a charming BnB in Hungerford. Deborah, the host, was so sweet and helpful and offered us her wellies so we could stomp around the town in the rainy weather and enjoy a little canal walk. After Hungerford we indulged in perhaps our nerdiest bit of tourism which was, a trip to Downton, or rather, Highclere castle. So beautiful! The land really stole the show though, all those soft green rolling hills with sheep scattered throughout was really such a fairytale.
Our final destination was Brighton, where my grandma hails from and near to where we've got a handful of distant relatives residing. We ate fish and chips and walked along the water and dodged intoxicated teens along the way. Our visit to Lewes with our faraway relatives was very sweet. I flashed my underpants at a crew of unsuspecting elderly and an adorable young baker while waiting for the bus. This was my final day in England and I was desperately sad to leave it and my Mum (though we were meeting up once again a few days later in Vancouver). Worst of all though was the day of travel that loomed ahead of me. A trip that began in Brighton onto London then Newark to Ottawa and finally to Vancouver which ended up lasting a good 36 hours. I ended up staying the night at Heathrow, made a pal with whom I stayed up with chatting about life and rose farms and Kate Bush's effect on our tear ducts. Was very grateful for said friend and even more grateful for my moment of touch down in Vancouver and the enormous White Spot burger that awaited my swollen with hunger belly.