Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The UK Part IV: O De Lally

Thursday 3 July 2014
The breakfast at our hotel had the option of veggie sausage, which I thought was pretty cool. Sausage is full of so much junk anyway-that the soy version tastes about the same. Now, veggie bacon? Do yourself a favor and NEVER try this ;)

We left York and headed towards Nottingham (!!!!). I’m a HUGE Robin Hood fan and I could NOT have been more excited. One of my first crushes was on that (actual) fox in the cartoon. Swoon :P

As one might expect, on the way to Nottingham is…SHERWOOD FOREST :) :) :) :)

The forest is not as dense as the stories would have you believe, but rather patches of dense trees dispersed amongst pastureland.

Nonetheless..there is an ACTUAL Sherwood Forest and we went there!! :D :D :D :D

The city (Sheriff) of Nottingham provided free parking-maybe he’s not such a bad guy?? ;)-for the day to the forest.

That Sheriff of Nottingham is surely a stand up guy!! No? 

We went to the Visitor’s Center and watched a film on the History of the area, which is much bigger than just the Robin Hood story.

What? I LOVE bats!! This place is PERFECT!!
Outside, there was a statue of Robin Hood and Little John.

We followed a path through the forest. It was amazingly serene, despite all the school children. I felt so at peace there. It is such an old forest and you can feel the wisdom of its age.

We arrived at an ancient tree in the middle of the wood. It is told that this tree acted as the hiding place for Robin and his Merry Men. The tree is over 1000 years old and is hollow. While there’s no concrete evidence that ANY part of the Robin Hood tale is true…I DEFINITELY think this is the hideout of the Merry Men ;)

There's a Merry Man there ;)

The tree is so old that it cannot support itself anymore and is propped up by dozens of metal poles and looked after by ‘tree doctors’. I guess trees get old…just like people.

It was a spiritual place and we spent a good amount of time reading the signage and absorbing it all.

We followed the path back to the car and headed towards Stratford-Upon-Avon for lunch. Stratford-Upon-Avon is William Shakespeare’s hometown. England is full of WONDERS!!

We parked just outside of town in a parking garage and wandered along the river. It was a delightful day-terrific weather, lots of flowers, and swans!! We didn’t do any of the Shakespeare attractions, because things were pricey, but we explored the town a bit. We got sandwiches from one of the many café barges. After enjoying our sandwiches in the warm sun (Preston got a yummy cranberry and brie-his new favorite),  we hopped back in the car and headed towards The Cotswolds.

The Cotswolds is a fairytale like section of the English countryside known for its series of little villages and thatch roofed cottages. Charming doesn’t even being to describe it. Of course, I failed to take many pictures :P

We passed through delightful towns with funny names like, ‘Chipping Camden’, ‘Stow-on-the-Wold’, and ‘Moreton-in-Marsh’.

We are staying near ‘Cowley’ at the ‘Green Dragon Inn’. On the way, we made an accidental turn down a side road and stumbled upon a perfect little one lane village.

The inn where we are staying is superb…a cozy little place with modern rooms.

We made our dinner reservations in the pub and we to our room to get settled.

With no plans for tomorrow or the following day, we spent some time deciding where to go next. We’d heard that the surfing is good in Cornwall, but Preston wasn’t too enthused…so we decided on Wales. Wales doesn’t often get a lot of attention and I wanted to do a full UK (main island, of course excluding Northern Ireland) tour.

We chose the cheapest seaside town we could find and booked two nights in Swansea.

We headed to the pub for dinner. The food was good, but the highlight for me was the sticky toffee pudding I had for dessert. Whee!!


After dinner, Preston returned to the room and I took a short, sunset walk down the lane. It sure is idyllic here.

Friday 4 July 2014
This holiday went COMPLETELY unnoticed here :P I mean I know it’s an OBVIOUS American holiday, but you’d think it would be mentioned SOMEWHERE. Nope!! Maybe they are still bitter about that whole Declaration of Independence thing ;)

We left the glorious Cotswolds-stopping to take a few pictures of the flower-filled fields and got breakfast at a café in a busier town.

I read the funniest article of my life about an older couple held hostage by a feral cat. I know it’s not REALLY funny, but omg…the images in my head were. And for the life of me…why didn’t they just open a window?? The cat broke a family heirloom (as if on PURPOSE!!) and the issue was only solved by a neighbor dressed in full motorcycle gear. I mean. I can’t even. :) Terrorized!! heheh!!

I can't figure out how to rotate this, but it's hilarious sideways too ;)

The day became overcast and rainy. We followed the motorway into Wales, crossing a huge bridge with a HUGE toll.

Once again, I took NO pictures? I think I'm tired ;)

I imagined all the English princes of old that would have made this journey.
We arrived in Swansea, which is a bit of a port town. We found our hotel and settled in while the rain came down in misting sheets.

We ventured out to the central downtown area with restaurants, shops, pubs, and a movie theater. We were soaking wet by the time we ducked into a dark, but lively pub to watch the World Cup game.

While we were there, a very friendly Welshmen enthusiastically exclaimed over Preston’s good looks. He said, “I’m not gay, but you are the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen!!” haha!! He was also perplexed as to how we found ourselves in Swansea :P

For dinner, we decided on a wholly American BBQ place in honor of 4th of July. It was pretty tasty. So far, we find the Welsh to be incredibly friendly. 

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