England: A Trip of a Lifetime!

We spent 10 days visiting southern England.  Our first 5 days were spent in London, enjoying the Westminster Abbey-seeing Queen Elizabeth’s I tomb, the House of Parliament with the statue of Oliver Cromwell on his great horse, the British Museum with its 4000 year old Egyptian artifacts and part of the Parthenon, the pubs, fish and chips, riding the tube, Big Ben, London Tower with Anne Boleyn’s tomb, and Hampton Court Palace-one of King Henry the VIII’s residences.  We toured the king’s kitchens and saw what a meal looked like for the nobles, Windsor Palace, and the friendly people.  We had a chance to visit Greenwich, the Cutty Sark before it burned, and the Nautical Museum.  The Painted Hall and the Naval Chapel were quite memorable.  Next, we rode the train to Cambridge.  The university architecture was breathtaking!  While visiting King’s College, a choir was practicing for their Christmas program.  The music was heavenly!  On a freezing day we visited the American Air Museum in Duxford.  Wow!  Even though it was like being in a freezer, the old airplanes were very memorable to behold.  That morning, we skipped a traditional English breakfast at our hotel and decided to get a hot breakfast from a cart in town.  This was a wonderful way to experience an English breakfast on the go!  We enjoyed a stroll through the “backs” behind the college campuses.  From Cambridge, we went west to the Cotswolds.   The train ride was fantastic, as we watched rolling hills covered with hundreds of sheep.  It was funny to see a black sheep mixed in with nearly every heard.  In the Cotswolds, we stayed at a bed and breakfast in the town of Paineswick.  This was truly a charming town.  Our visit with the town butcher dressed in traditional red and white striped clothing added to our British experience.  He told us that they had fresh rabbit from Princess Anne’s grounds.  Chickens awoke us each morning and our window overlooked the rolling green hills.  Our final stop, was a 13th century fishing village in the west end.  This was our favorite, and made it difficult to think that our vacation was coming to an end.  Cobblestone streets wound their way to the sea, no cars, and the nicest people.  The food was delicious and the ocean view spectacular!  Upon our arrival, (we were delayed due to a bus mixup), the street was lit up in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights.  People put their Christmas trees out on the front porch.  Someone escorted us personally to our room.  While waiting for our room key, a large, bearded fisherman in yellow slickers with a large crooked pipe came strolling past the pub door.  This was so much fun!  Our room would be above the pub.  It was very cozy.  Dinner was on the seaside during a blustery winter night.  The sea wall had old cannons from the Spanish Armada.  There were fun shops to visit and a great hiking trail along the hillside.  I saw my first pheasant in the wild!  The rich history and the cheery British people made our trip one that we will never forget.

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