TRAVEL: ENGLAND – PART 2

Travelling to places that you’ve been to before is like reading a mystery for the second time. You see things that you didn’t notice the first time, when you were distracted by something new. The next time seeing a place means that you’ll pay attention to different things, usually less of the touristy things, and start to experience more of the culture. 

2009

My vacation to England with my friend, Jocelyn, in 2009 was completely different from my vacation in 2007. Not only did I have the opportunity to see new places, I had the opportunity to meet new friends and family. I have many highlights from my vacation in 2009, but my favourite memory will always be meeting family that I had no idea existed until a few weeks prior to my trip. They also lived in the Lake District so I was able to see a lot more of the beautiful English countryside.

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Our day trip to Chester.

Chatsworth House, located in Derbyshire, was on the top of our “must-see” list. This beautiful house was “Pemberley” in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. As incredible as the house was, the gardens were even better. We spent hours exploring the gardens, walking and talking and taking pictures.

Another special moment was going to Liverpool’s first game of the year against Stoke City. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. There’s nothing quite like it. We beat Stoke City 3-1 so it was the perfect experience.

Since my vacation to England in 2009 was so long ago, it’s hard to remember more than a few specific memories. I didn’t take a journal with me, like I usually do, and I didn’t blog about my time away. Thankfully, on my big trip to England in 2011, I did both of those things.

2011

Here’s an excerpt from my journal while in London:

“London has been amazing so far, other than our sore and blistered feet. The fact that we did a six hour hike the day before we came to London didn’t help. Anyone who’s been to London knows that it involves a lot of walking. The highlights of London so far are as follows:

1. We crossed over the Westminster Bridge and walked along the water towards London Bridge. There were tons of weird street performers, none of them good, until we came across some break dancers surrounded by a giant crowd. They were amazing!

2. Millennium Bridge aka the Harry Potter Bridge. Although it wasn’t the most incredible sight, it was pretty cool crossing the bridge used for Harry Potter. Thankfully it didn’t fall apart like it did in the movie.

3. We went on a search for London Bridge. We walked and walked and walked and it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Then I took us down a road to get us back to the water and right there in front of us, under the bridge, we noticed that it said “London Bridge”. We were all very confused, so we consulted the map. It was, indeed, London Bridge. No doubt about it. Apparently, for 20 years of our lives, we thought that the Tower Bridge was actually London Bridge. Very disappointing, but we managed the see the humour in it.”

There are very few cities that I’d actually consider to be beautiful, but London is one of them. It doesn’t have the same charm as some of the smaller English cities, but there is so much to see and do in London. I haven’t even seen half of what there is to see in London, and I’ve been there 3 times.

My cousins, Keith and Donna, took us on a road trip to Durham, Alnwick Castle, and a few other stops along the way. Alnwick Castle is famous for being used as Hogwarts in Harry Potter. It was cool to see some of the exhibitions they had set up for all of us Harry Potter fans. I’m grateful to Keith and Donna who took the time out of their week to show us around an area of England that I maybe wouldn’t have thought to explore before. Everywhere we went to was absolutely gorgeous and we had such an amazing time. I think back on that road trip with very fond memories.

Back in the Lake District, Christina and I celebrated Canada Day by helping my cousin, Kristian, bale hay. It was hard, but rewarding work. The hay bales were about the same size as Christina and I so we struggled to awkwardly carry them to our destination. We eventually gave up and started carrying them together. I never thought that I’d ever bale hay, but it was actually a lot of fun. Good company makes even the most tedious tasks fun.

One of the things that I love about the Lake District is the amount of beautiful hikes and trails there are. We made sure to go on lots of walks to get a better view of such a gorgeous area of the world.

We spent our last day in the Lake District helping my cousin on the farm. We made a few friends along the way.

England will forever hold a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to take Peter there so he can experience it all for the first time, with me by his side.

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