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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Easingwold - Our B&B
I'm back home, safe, sound and happy. I was back last night, actually. Not exhausted, not even tired but excited. Now it's early in the morning and I'm trying to catch up with all the news, the e-mail messages, the things I've left behind. 

I've got the impression I dreamt my week in England, visiting incredible sites and driving for miles from north to south. Was it true, instead? Selecting and ordering the many photos I took, I must believe it was. But as usual, beautiful moments fly at the speed of light and leave you astonished with just your beautiful memories and the awkward impression you dreamt. At least, this is what happens to me. 

Ducklings at Castle Howard
It's been the most interesting, exciting, enriching holiday I've ever done in my life. An engaging one. After flying to Leeds airport, I travelled by car with 3 girl friends and we crossed England from the Northern Counties (Yorkshire and Leicestershire), through the midlands (Nottinghamshire), down to the Southern regions (Hampshire, Surrey and Wiltshire).  Lots of incredible sites, of emotions, of laughs, of photos. The English countryside is incredibly beautiful with its many nuances of green at the moment, then lots of sheeps , cows, wild rabbits as well as a wide range of colourful birds added charm to the landscape. Where were the deer they said to watch out for ? We would have loved to see one.

Castle Howard
We faced miles and miles smiling, chatting, singing old songs or just having a nap  (that was me!) guided by our mellifluous-voiced satnav we nicknamed "Chiara".  Sometimes our impeccable Chiara and even us had  a hard time at deciphering directions and signs while on the English roads. May I complain to the authorities in charge to make them a bit clearer? Arrows not always clearly point the direction they are meant to point at. Puzzled sigh. 
Final note on our adventures on the road: too many poor wild animals killed by cars, I know very little can be done,  but could English drivers be a little more careful, please? Last but not least, congratulations to our brave driver who faced the one-thousand-mile's left-hand driving task always with a smile and never complaining. Admirable!
 (In the pictures above:  Nottingham Castle and The Sherwood Forest)

Guess what? It was sunny most of the time, or at least it didn't rain. I even got tanned a bit walking  in the open air for lots of hours. Who says it always rains in England? And it was cool (in any sense!) while here in Italy they were coping with incandescent temperatures, which I hate. Good for us. We were lucky.

Usually Italians are very demanding as for food and a bit dismissive of other countries' cuisines. I must admit,  we enjoyed our English breakfast much instead, so much that ... we didn't need to have lunch and could head on to dinner time with (almost) no wish for food. Well, I actually thought that eating so much at breakfast was rather suicidal at first, but I got into the habit very soon. I even had scrambled eggs with salmon! We also enjoyed very typical British dishes at dinner, as we usually went to pubs (P&P 1995 Red Lion's too!) trying to cope with the fact that you have to be there between 5.30 and 8.30 p.m. Rather early for us but ... we willingly accepted that habit in order to lead a very British-styled life for a few days. No pizza, no spaghetti, no pasta and early dinner times. 

(Pictures above: At Jane Austen's House in Chawton - At the Bronte's Parsonage in Howarth)

Shopping. We love it, of course. My friends more than I. The only kind of shop I can't resist is ... bookshops! However, we had left with half-full luggages to leave space for our shopping wishes but, you know when you have to sit on your suitcase in order to close it on the last day of your trip and start praying it doesn't weigh too much at the check-in desk? That's it. But we made it!

 In the pictures above:  the Jester and Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-on-Avon

York - The Shambles
Now, this is only a glimpse on our trip to England. Impossible to write about the many places we visited in just one post, our schedule was rather busy. So I decided to divide it in trails, as we actually followed few different trails in our wandering about:

1. The Ricardian Trail (York, Middleham, Sheriff Hutton, Bosworth)
2. The Literary Trail (Lewis Carrol, The Bronte,  Shakespeare, G.B. Shaw  with          a special post for Jane Austen)
3. The Pillars' Trail - Abbeys and Cathedrals  (York, Ripon, Fountains Abbey, Rievaulx, Lacock, Salisbury, Winchester)
4. The location hunting trail (Castle Howard,  Lacock)

P.S. In York I met Antonella, lunarossa, one of my first followers and  a regular commenter here at Fly High. She was our guide in York and our host lady for a delicious Indian dinner. Antonella is Italian but has been living in England since she married an English gentleman. They have got two children. She is very kind, friendly, incredibly generous  and a very good cook. Congratulations to her and to her lovely family.

More in the next days


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