Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Cotswolds

It's been crazy, crazy, crazy here.  In the past two weeks, I've had a whirlwind trip in the Cotswolds, one solo night in Conwy, Wales, some craziness in Chester including both a flasher and stumbling upon a roped off forensics team investigating a murder, and a beautiful week in the Scottish Highlands.   Not the Scottish Highlands of past trips, but the raw, empty of people, windswept Highlands.  Awesome times. 

The Cotswolds...this place is magical with the Cotswold stone houses and uber green gardens.  It's the kind of place you walk through and wonder who these people are who just get to live here. The Cotswolds unfortunately, is the type of place where you really need a car to drive from town, to village, to town.  The towns are numerous, but the public transportation between them is pretty scarce.  I did make it to four villages this time. 

Castle Combe.  This village is all of 100 yards long at the most. I met the lady that lives in this first house on the right and was able to see her beautiful garden.  She has a 9-11 commemorative display in her amazing garden.  Since the word "amazing" is overly used today, I like to save it for a special when a woman has a little stone mansion with perfectly manicured gardens the size of a small park.  

I bought a lovely loaf of lemon bread here at this little cottage because it was honor system--I love supporting honor system endeavors.  And yes, I support cute too. 

Dear Santa,

Bibury and Arlington Row were a teeny bit disappointing.  This place is so fricken fantastic in photos and so full of busloads of people in reality.  

I grabbed a quick snapshot between busloads walking up the hill but but I can't even believe this is the Bibury I've seen endless photos of.  

Stowe on the Wold is more of a shopping village.  I like shopping just as much as any other person, but for some reason, not so much while traveling.  Luckily the shops in this town though are adorbs enough to just photograph.  Really. 

And finally Burton on the Water.  This little town is based around a river and covered in bridges to cross over the river.  And of course, it's built with the Cotswold stone that keeps all Cotswold villages looking similarly charming. 

Yes, I know it's almost wrong to fit 4 Cotswold villages in one post.  I call this, end of trip, ready to head home lazy.  :(

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Georgian Bath

I'd forgotten how very much I love the UK.  I guess it would be more accurate to say, I forgot how much I love being here.  I say it's my favorite place, but when vacation time rolls around, I feel like I need to see and explore new places rather than return to places I've already been.  Someone asked me in Italy how the UK could hold my heart and what I could love so much about it, especially since I was spending months in know the place where everyone seems to dream of buying a house to live the Italian life.  I can honestly say that in all my time in Italy, I never once thought "I could stay here forever."  Italy was about the adventure, the access to art and the challenge of immersing in another culture.  It was wonderful, beautiful and definitely challenging but I never wanted it to be anything but a temporary adventure.  

The UK, on the other hand....what is it about that one special place that just moves us?  I could say that I love the literature, the history, the cool rainy days, stone cottages with flowers growing up the side, big pots of tea, verdant countryside filled with sheep, stone ruins, mists rising from the Scottish lochs in the morning, bagpipes, single malt scotch, kilts  and the wide expanse of the Highlands with nary another person in site...even still, it doesn't seem to do justice to what I love so much about this place.  Yes, Italy is beautiful, but the UK is my lobster. 

I have a bazillion photos but little time to upload, review and blog.  Blogging will be less frequent as I head up to the Highlands tomorrow.  I've (finally) taken to Instagram instead--instant gratification, no photo editing and it lets your parents know you're still alive.  You can't beat that right? 

Just a few of the highlights from Bath....

Who doesn't love Pulteney Bridge?

I kind of remember Bath Abbey and the courtyard being bigger than it is.  

I'm finally reading a new book on the Norman Conquest that I purchased a few months this history.  Bath has seen a few abbeys on this site since the original Anglo-Saxon one. 

I took a photo of this exact ledgerstone last time.  There are hundreds upon hundreds of markers in this abbey so it took a bit of effort to find it.  I apparently still think it's fantastic.