I’ve been trying to decide which topic to write about this time (how vulnerability rather than strength allows us to connect with each other, or, musings on why so very few of our friends and family members “like” or comment on my blog posts, or, the enormous blessings that have resulted from therapy and a lot of hard work, for example) but I just wasn’t feeling any of those this time. Over the years I’ve learned that my best writing happens when my brain starts racing, sentences begin to form in my mind, a spurt of energy comes, and I feel a sudden rush of urgency. I’ve tried following those cues to guide me when it’s time to put thoughts onto pages.
As I was thinking about the above topics, I just wasn’t feeling any of these physical and mental signs this time. But what else is there to write about these days? Then, as soon as I started thinking about documenting our upcoming trip, all those feelings came. So that’s what I’m going to focus on today and I’m excited!
In a future post, I’ll go into specifics about my process of financing and planning our trips…because it IS a process! This time, one that’s taken 9 months to fund and 4 months to organize. However, since I finished all of that and am now in the waiting game (6 weeks to go!), I want to focus this post on the more fun side of things and just tell you want our plans entail. Eeee!! We are so excited!
Through the sometimes arduous task of deciding where we go next (dependent upon airline and hotel point availability, easy flights, season and weather, where I’m not susceptible to getting sick, etc.) we settled on a road trip through parts of England, Wales, and Scotland. Ireland was included originally but it quickly became apparent how much we’d have to cut out of Great Britain to make it work. Something had to give. Actually, LOTS of things had to give. There are just too many amazingly incredible places to visit in these countries! We had to do a lot of focusing and zeroing in on the places we ultimately felt we would enjoy the most.
Here’s rundown of our itinerary, subject to any needed flexibility when we’re actually on the ground:
- Fly nonstop red-eye from SLC to London.
- Take the train to our hotel in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London. After resting up, we’ll take a double-decker bus to Big Ben and Kensington Gardens. We’ll walk through the gardens to the Princess Diana Playground.
- Ride the River Thames ferry to the Tate Modern Museum and eat our way through Borough Market. We’ll also walk across the Jubilee Footbridge when it’s lit up at night.
- Explore the Mayfair and Marylbone neighborhoods (or Notting Hill?). Head to St. James Park to watch the Cavalrys Parade and Changing of the Guard. Then we’ll pick up our rental car and head out of town to Eastbourne, a Victorian seafront town on the south coast.
- Go see the white cliffs at Seven Sisters Country Park, walk along the beach, and do some rockpooling (tidepooling). That night, Rob and Nate have plans to do the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour. The girls and I will relax at the hotel.
- Rent a punting boat in Oxford and do a self-tour. Drive/walk through a couple of the Cotswold villages and play croquet at Hidcote Manor Garden.
- Stop at Ludlow (medieval town) and walk across the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct on our drive through Wales to Snowdonia National Park.
- Play on the beaches of the Lleyn Peninsula (most Welsh part of Wales).
- Try our hand at crabbing and visit Conwy Castle.
- Drive Winnat’s Pass to Castleton in the Peaks District and on through to York.
- Stop at Hadrian’s Wall and wherever else suits our fancy on the northeast coast.
- Visit Edinburgh’s Old Town and Royal Mile.
- Explore more Edinburgh, Culross, and drive to The Trossachs National Park.
- Hike through the forest to see Braklinn Falls and Devil’s Pulpit.
- Fly out of Glasgow (possibly stopping at the Necropolis on the way) back to London and catch our late afternoon flight to Boston.
- Walk Beacon Hill and maybe Boston Common or Feneuil Marketplace. Fly home!
Oh! One more thing I want to do while there…keep an ongoing list of all the new words/slang we can use in our speech once we are home. Their verbiage is so great and it’d be so fun to sprinkle it in whenever we feel like raising some eyebrows!
Half of our lodgings are normal Holiday Inn type of places, but I did book us in a few gems:
- Victorian seaside row house B&B
- YHA (youth and family hostels)
- Mobile home by the beach
- Hut in the woods of Snowdonia
- A vestry (little apartment attached to an 1800s church)
- Stately luxury hotel on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh
- Converted manor house garage apartment in a mountain village
Animals we are endeavoring to see:
- Shire or Clydesdale horses and Shetland ponies
- Lots of starfish, crabs, etc.
- Highland cows
Food we are endeavoring to eat:
- Fish and Chips
- Scones with jam and clotted cream
- Banoffee pie
- Norfolk crab
- Blakewell pudding
- Hot cross buns
- Jacket potatoes
- Various cheeses
- Sticky toffee pudding
- Aberdeen angus beef
- Scottish eggs
- Lobster roll
That’s it! Easy peasy! Haha, don’t worry, I’m not daft. I DO realize that this itinerary (and menu) is NOT for the faint of heart or for those who actually like to RELAX on their vacation. This is more for the family who likes to see and do (and eat) as much as they can because they wonder if they’ll ever return to this part of the world again. This is for the family who loves the drive through the landscapes and towns as much as the destinations at the end of the road. This is the stuff that gets my blood flowing and my mood high. Ooooh, I LOVE it!
Maybe our next trip will just be a sit-your-butt-on-the-beach-and-don’t-move-it kind of trip…but I doubt it.