E is for ENGLAND

I know that Helen already used England for her E post but it was so huge, that I’m using it also. Besides there is more than enough to go around. That being said …..
E is for ENGLAND. I have wanted to go to England since I started reading E. Nesbit and Enid Blyton when I was 9? maybe 10? I just love most things English. So, when I got a unexpected bonus last year, I did not use it to pay bills or do anything responsible with it – I bought two tickets to travel across the pond. We took a red-eye flight cause I am not the best flyer. I thought that if I could sleep through most of the flight, it would be best. I got a window seat but there was almost no leg room so it was a fairly uncomfortable flight. However, excitement made it bearable. When we arrived in Heathrow, we had to wait on the plane for about 45 minutes as there were no open hangers. Once out of the plane, we got our bags, got through customs, and then went over to the car rental spot to get our car. It was a rather small for those of us used to seeing mostly SUV’s on the road. but once we got started, we realized that the roads there aren’t made for SUV’s – there’s just not enough room. Instead of paving over everything, they use the open lands for sheep and castles and gorgeous houses, or just green.

Once we navigated out of the airport parking lot, with Helen driving, I did what I do best – I went to sleep. I tend to get motion sickness so if I am not driving, there’s a really good chance I may fall asleep. And since I didn’t get my usual amount of sleep because of flying, it really wasn’t a surprise that I dozed off very quickly. This is really a shame because it’s not like I was driving down the Garden State Parkway which I travel at least once a week – no I was in a foreign country missing all the fantastic scenery. However, I was much better off after an hour’s nap. And all the driving was on the A1 which is a major highway.

Our first stop was Canterbury. We found the town relatively easily but once in, we had no idea where the cathedral was. So we found a parking spot (where someone very kindly explained how to use the parking meter since it wasn’t like anything we’d used before) and started walking. It was early afternoon by this time and we were eager to stretch our legs. We found a beautiful little park where even the benches are cool. The supports are snakes … how neat is that?!




We kept going and found the Westgate Prison Museum which Helen had read about in a book which was really interesting. You could go out on the top and look out over Canterbury. There, we finally found the Cathedral in the distance.

We wandered over and found our hotel which was across the courtyard from the Cathedral. After checking in and being taken to our rooms, we got very detailed directions on how to find our car (which was really quite close) and brought it over. You have to park at the end of the street because most of the streets around the Cathedral are pedestrian only. We lugged our bags down and got them into the rooms and then went to see the main attraction. I could spend several pages talking about this but I don’t have the space or the time so all I will say is that it is magnificent. That word may get over-used at times, but not here. The history behind it and the work that went into it and the loving care in which it is kept are wonderful. We took an audio tour which allowed us to move at our own pace but imparted a lot of the stories involved. But even then, we only scratched the surface. There’s a lot more to see next time I go.

Our rooms were small but comfortable. Mine faced the Cathedral – this is the view from the window. The hotel was an old building and the window didn’t close completely at the top but it let in some fresh air.

Rabbit, who is sitting on the window sill, made the trip with me – someone to watch over me and a touch of home.

After a good dinner at a little French restaurant, we crashed (hard) for the night and then made our way to the next destination in the morning. We learned that we knew NOTHING about their road signs or lack there of. Who knew that they put most of their signage on the road – painted on the road? But we picked up after a while.

We unintentionally bypassed Hever House but found Pooh Corner. They gave us a map to the Pooh Sticks Bridge and the 100 Acre Wood. We started walking down the road to find the Pooh Sticks Bridge – and walked – and walked – and walked. And found that we had passed the turn-off point about a mile back up the road. After climbing back up a large hill and following the natives (who you could tell were from the area because they were wearing their wellingtons), we finally found the bridge. We played a few games of Pooh Sticks, took some pics, and then moved on to find Knole House. I had read about this “house” in a guide book and what intrigued me was that it was built around the calendar. There are 7 gardens, 52 staircases, and 365 rooms. Unfortunately, only a few were open to visitors as the original family still lives in part of the house. One of the best parts of the estate is the deer population. They are all over and they do not mind coming up and saying hello to anyone and everyone.

It’s been two days since I started this post but trying to get everything we saw into one posting that will not discourage even the most stalwart readers is difficult. England screams for a blog of it’s own. So I will leave it that the Cotswolds were my favorite part, although our guide at the Tower of London was hysterical (even though and maybe because he did make fun of all the Americans in the group). I would go back in an instant and, if given the choice and the money to make frequent trips back so I could stay close to my family, I would move there immediately. I don’t care that they only have 4 channels on TV to my 572, and I could probably get away from the fact that I wouldn’t be by the water all the time. I just LOVED it. Look for more about it when I’m done the alphabet (if that ever happens).

Finished finally Thursday 10/4

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4 Responses to “E is for ENGLAND”

  1. sheoflittlebrain Says:

    I would love the opportunity to go to England! Thanks, Mary Beth for sharing your adventure.. I’m looking forward to the next installement, whenever you happen to write it. Fancy getting to play Pooh Sticks at Pooh’s Corner…sigh

  2. sheoflittlebrain Says:

    installment:)

  3. Mary Beth Says:

    Growing up on Winnie the Pooh, finding the Pooh Sticks river was one of the most important things of our trip. And so worth the trip!

  4. Hey Teach! Says:

    we should do a shared blog on the driving…it would be very amusing…especially the part where you fall asleep while i try to drive on the wrong side of the damn road with no road signs…

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