17/07/2011

DID I DREAM THAT? TOURING ENGLAND FROM NORTH TO SOUTH

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 laughter, 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 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)

York
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


16 comments:

mulubinba said...

Wonderful!! Thanks for sharing and I will look forward to reading more about your trip :) So you went to Brideshead (AKA: Castle Howard). We just had a look from the outside walls when we were over there in 2006.

Jenny @ Kerrfect! said...

So Jealous! The Jane Austen desk is so awesome!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@mulubinba
Yes, both Brideshead Revisited adaptations were set there. There is also a link to Georgiana Cavendish, who was unhappily married to one of the Earls who owned Castle Howard. You can visit her bedroom but the official guide and the site don't mention the couple's scandalous life. Have you ever heard of Sheridan's "The School of Scandal" (1777)? It is inspired to their married life. A different take respect to the movie, "The Duchess". Have you seen it? It was not shot there though, but at Chatsworth (Pemberley 2005) and other places.
Thanks for commenting, mulubinba.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Jenny@Kerrfect
Can you imagine me shivering nearby? It was touching to imagine Jane there, watching outside the window, daydreaming and writing her wonderful novels. I was really excited to be there.

Adriana Zardini said...

Lovely pictures Maria!
I wish I can visit those places someday!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Adriana Zardini
I hope it'll be soon, Adriana. It was wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Indeed it was, MG :)
I enjoyed every single moment of our trip... can't believe it's already over, sigh!
Off to check my pictures - LG has been a very busy boy this last week: you'll see a full report of his UK adventures later this week, on LJ (LOL! sorry for the improper use of this space, hope you won't mind ;-)
xx K/V

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@K/V
After all that we shared, my space is your space. LOL
I can't wait for your LG's adventures. Though I know much about the settings. Dumb. No spoilers.

onemorelurker1 said...

It sounds like you had an amazing time and wow all the places you visited, I'm jealous too! :D

It's very amusing to know the customs of how people eat in different countries, sometimes are just details that in the end sum up as a different way of living.

Very nice pics, thanks for sharing!

OML :)

I bet you have many things to

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@onemorelurker
Don't be too jealous :D Start planning your own dream tour of England. I bet there are lots of places you want to see yourself. FX it will soon come true for you too!

phylly3 said...

*Sigh!* Sounds like such a lovely trip! I would love to visit again. I still haven't written about all I saw last summer when I was there. We saw so much, but I would have loved to have been on your tour! Wasn't Northern England wonderful? I had always imagined touring around London so Yorkshire was a revelation! Right now it is so HOT here that I remember fondly the cooler, breezy days last July.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@phylly3
The North of England was enchanting. Beautiful nature and in those sunny days it was even idyllic. But I still have so much to see. The coast for instance and so many other places. I'll go back sooner or later :-)Coming with me?

phylly3 said...

That would be a dream come true! I can't really afford to travel much for awhile as we have been travelling more than usual lately. I'll have to start a special fund! Drop me a line though, you never know! :)

alfie said...

It sounds like at fantastic vacation. I would love to see the english countryside. I have a plan with my cousin, that in some years we will go on a "Jane Austens footpath" vacation together. And maybe see the "N & S" places too ;-)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@alfie
N&S locations are in Edinburgh, too. Planning to go to Scotland, too? Coming with you. Drop me a line!

Anonymous said...

You may have taken the only photo of "Shambles" (there is no "the") ever with no one in it.

Some of Chariots of Fire was filmed in York. Nearly all the railways scenes were. Harry Potters school is based on Ampleforth (and the first was filmed there). That is slightly out of York.

The site of Richard III being crowned king is commemorated in the Minister Gardens. Most people miss it.