I’m back from a 10-day trip that took 10 years in the making!
In 2004, I signed up for a study-abroad semester in London as a way to spread my wings and escape what can only be described as relationship drama with, of all people, Mr. Smith.
Despite all the hullabaloo, we still couldn’t resist emailing each other several times a day. I’d spend over an hour carefully crafting each email, sharing just the right amount of information about the places and things I’d seen that day with just the right air of coolness and intrigue.
Meanwhile, Mr. Smith’s emails consisted mostly of detailed descriptions of the day’s episodes of Saved by the Bell and Walker, Texas Ranger. It was his way of having something to talk about when he had nothing to talk about.
Love. It makes us act strange.
For instance, I am not into gold,glitz or gaudiness, but when I first beheld the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, I teared up. The thought of a queen [Victoria] being so enamored with her husband that she would commission such an ornate pavilion to be built in his honor made perfect sense to the lovestruck version of me.
So naturally, this was one of the first places I took Mr. Smith to while we were in London.
As I mentioned earlier, this was a trip 10 years in the making. Mr. Smith and I agree that our love story was forged while I was away, and I could not wait to share the magic of “my” city with him. Over the last few years, we steadily and fervently saved up, never knowing when the opportunity would strike. It wasn’t until our study abroad group began throwing around ideas for a 10-year reunion that The Dream Trip began to feel like a reality.
Unfortunately, the reunion never happened. Instead, we got something better: our dear friends moved to England last year which meant we would not only get to visit England sooner than later, but we would get to see our loved ones again!
So there you have it. Save, save, save, and that trip you’ve been dreaming of will happen.
And then you will finally get see the Cliffs of Dover again. Or whatever.
On my first trip to Dover, I barely had enough time to dip my toes in the frigid English Chanel and walk a brief ways along the cliffs. I could have stayed there all day with my arms outstretched and the wind in my hair, but we were on such a tight schedule. This time, I got to enjoy a solid three hours walking and picnicking along the trails with Mr. Smith and my friend.
England is an amazing paradox in that that its wide open spaces and its tight, cramped spaces are equally inspiring. The way the little shops that line the streets of Canterbury lean in should be enough to make me claustrophobic, but instead I feel like I am walking through a story.
The beauty of this trip was that I got to experience some delightful new places from a local’s point of view.
Most of those new places were tea rooms.
(If you’re wondering where the food pics are, they get their own separate post later. Just know that lots of tea and scones were involved.)
Can you imagine living here?
Then again, can you imagine living here?
My friend Chiara showed us around Oxburgh Hall which still is home to one of the heirs each summer. Inside is a priest hole which the family would use to hide priests during the Protestant Reformation.
I was able to last all of 5 seconds inside it before bursting out again. Another second, and I might have passed out. Hats off to you, priests.
Ok, so I have like a million more pictures, but I’ll spare you.
Wait, one more.
Okay, one more, and I mean it.
Whenever we would tell an American that we were going to be in England for 10 days, they’d reply, “That’s a long trip!” Whenever we would tell a Brit that we were going to be in England for 10 days, they’d reply, “That’s all?”
I’d have to agree with both sides. 10 days was not enough time to see everything there was to see, but 10 days left us with more than enough memories and experiences, most of which I am still trying to absorb.
My only hope is that our next visit will be sooner than 10 years. 🙂