Our English Adventure: Part One

This trip was an amazing trip.  Inspired by the Poldark books, authored by Winston Graham, and the 1975 BBC mini-series that followed, Mom has been talking about seeing Cornwall, England for as long as Molly and I can remember.  The books are currently being filmed again as a miniseries on PBS (Season 3 coming soon to the U.S. and now airing in the U.K.)  If you're a fan, you might recognize some of the places we visited later in the trip. 

Due to a little Vacation Research Scope Creep, we ended up seeing much more than just Cornwall, packing a heck of a lot into eight days.  This first post covers days one and two...so maybe there will be four parts in all? Can you stand the suspense?

Rather than try to remember all that we learned and surely get something (eh, most things) wrong along the way, I'll link to all of the historical site websites throughout each post for anyone interested in knowing more. 

Thank you, Mom, for dreaming up this adventure and bringing me and Molly along for the ride.  xoxo

This map is an overview of our major stops.  Basically, we started in London, meandered out to the furthest West coast and then meandered back to London to fly home. 

This map is an overview of our major stops.  Basically, we started in London, meandered out to the furthest West coast and then meandered back to London to fly home. 

Departure day.  Something was up.  And Brisket could tell his leash wasn't going to fit in that suitcase.

Departure day.  Something was up. 

And Brisket could tell his leash wasn't going to fit in that suitcase.

DAY ONE: DFW>LGW, Westminster Abbey, The River Thames and the Tower of London

A close-up of the first couple of legs of our journey (plus the last leg...more on that later).

A close-up of the first couple of legs of our journey (plus the last leg...more on that later).

No. 1 on the map: Jet lag be d*mned, we were off to explore London.

No. 1 on the map: Jet lag be d*mned, we were off to explore London.

But first, some carbs and caffeine.

But first, some carbs and caffeine.

First official stop: Westminster Abbey

First official stop: Westminster Abbey

Taking a cruise up the River Thames to the Tower Bridge let us see a lot of the city in the short amount of time we had to spend that first afternoon.

Taking a cruise up the River Thames to the Tower Bridge let us see a lot of the city in the short amount of time we had to spend that first afternoon.

We were the very first people to ever think of taking this photo at The Tower of London. 

We were the very first people to ever think of taking this photo at The Tower of London

Traitor's Gate

Traitor's Gate

If you're a bride in public, I'm going to sneak a photo of you.  I can't help myself.

If you're a bride in public, I'm going to sneak a photo of you.  I can't help myself.

After a tasty, but slow, dinner at The Blue Boar, we settled back in at St. Ermin's Hotel (where they apparently raise their own bees).  Taking up temporary residence on the porch, we eavesdropped on a wedding party that was out for a smoke.  They later showed off their headstands and somersaults, bride included, but sadly my flash didn't reach far enough. 

After a tasty, but slow, dinner at The Blue Boar, we settled back in at St. Ermin's Hotel (where they apparently raise their own bees).  Taking up temporary residence on the porch, we eavesdropped on a wedding party that was out for a smoke.  They later showed off their headstands and somersaults, bride included, but sadly my flash didn't reach far enough. 

DAY TWO: Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Old Wardour Castle and Wareham

No. 2: Stonehenge

No. 2: Stonehenge

Stonehenge took our breath away to see in person. 

Stonehenge took our breath away to see in person. 

Near the small museum that accompanies the historical site, there are replicas of thatched-roof huts that may be like what the people who built Stonehenge lived in 5,000 years ago.  While beautiful, I had to wonder...these unknown people could transport, carve and precisely place multi-ton stones in alignment with celestial beings...and this is what they built to live in?  I wonder if the historians and archeologists might be missing something. 

Near the small museum that accompanies the historical site, there are replicas of thatched-roof huts that may be like what the people who built Stonehenge lived in 5,000 years ago. 

While beautiful, I had to wonder...these unknown people could transport, carve and precisely place multi-ton stones in alignment with celestial beings...and this is what they built to live in? 

I wonder if the historians and archeologists might be missing something. 

Saracen ruins on a hill we passed on our way to Salisbury.

Saracen ruins on a hill we passed on our way to Salisbury.

No. 3: Salisbury Cathedral Having read Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, a heavily researched fictional novel based on this cathedral, it was especially interesting to wander around. 

No. 3: Salisbury Cathedral

Having read Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, a heavily researched fictional novel based on this cathedral, it was especially interesting to wander around. 

We found modern art installations in a few of the churches we visited.  Which was equally surprising and awesome. 

We found modern art installations in a few of the churches we visited.  Which was equally surprising and awesome. 

I've not mentioned her yet, but we had an incredible guide, Sue, who we found through Luxury Vacations UK.  Hint: Sue is the one holding the large pink bag above on the left.  She has stellar driving skills in tight spaces, an encyclopedic knowledge of English history, a quick wit and endless patience for all of the times I wanted to stop and photograph something.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending the week in her company. 

I've not mentioned her yet, but we had an incredible guide, Sue, who we found through Luxury Vacations UK.  Hint: Sue is the one holding the large pink bag above on the left. 

She has stellar driving skills in tight spaces, an encyclopedic knowledge of English history, a quick wit and endless patience for all of the times I wanted to stop and photograph something. 

We thoroughly enjoyed spending the week in her company. 

Sue planned a surprise picnic on the lawn for us.  It was a gorgeous spot, a welcome breather, and provided a great excuse for Mom and I to polish off the half-bottle of wine we had brought along in the van from our evening at St. Ermin's.  

Sue planned a surprise picnic on the lawn for us.  It was a gorgeous spot, a welcome breather, and provided a great excuse for Mom and I to polish off the half-bottle of wine we had brought along in the van from our evening at St. Ermin's.  

Our long day of touring came to an end as we checked into The Priory Hotel in Wareham, England.

Our long day of touring came to an end as we checked into The Priory Hotel in Wareham, England.

Before dinner began -- we had to wait until seven o'clock -- we went out to explore the hotel's gardens.  And we were more than surprised by what we found.  The gardens are clearly a labor of love for someone, and The Priory should charge admission for visiting guests.  They're worth it.

Before dinner began -- we had to wait until seven o'clock -- we went out to explore the hotel's gardens.  And we were more than surprised by what we found.  The gardens are clearly a labor of love for someone, and The Priory should charge admission for visiting guests.  They're worth it.

I believe we were giggling as we began piecing together the dinner that was in store for us.  While we sat there in our jeans and comfy walking shoes, covered in a slight layer of road grit, we noticed that everyone around us was dressed to the nines in the sitting room where we were asked to make ourselves comfortable.  We ordered drinks and enjoyed some complimentary appetizers before a waiter, neatly dressed in a tuxedo, led us to our dinner table. There's feeling out of place, and then there's...feeling out of place.  Ha!  But the meal was so melt-in-your-mouth good, we forgot all about that and focused on our dark chocolate terrines.  (Yes, plural.)  To the credit of The Priory staff, they treated us just like we had recently showered and dressed appropriately for dinner.  This hotel is worth detouring to Wareham to stay for the night.

I believe we were giggling as we began piecing together the dinner that was in store for us.  While we sat there in our jeans and comfy walking shoes, covered in a slight layer of road grit, we noticed that everyone around us was dressed to the nines in the sitting room where we were asked to make ourselves comfortable.  We ordered drinks and enjoyed some complimentary appetizers before a waiter, neatly dressed in a tuxedo, led us to our dinner table.

There's feeling out of place, and then there's...feeling out of place.  Ha!  But the meal was so melt-in-your-mouth good, we forgot all about that and focused on our dark chocolate terrines.  (Yes, plural.)  To the credit of The Priory staff, they treated us just like we had recently showered and dressed appropriately for dinner.  This hotel is worth detouring to Wareham to stay for the night.

With a few goofy iPhone photos from days one and two, I'm going to call it quits on Part One. 

Whew!