Friday, 31 August 2012

Days 21-50:England (take one)

Alright I'm failing pretty badly at this whole updating my blog thing at the moment. It's pretty stupid really because we have done some awesome things while we've been here.

When we first arrived we stayed with my aunt in Shepperton, outside of London, we stayed for a couple of nights and spent one full day in London with two of our closest friends. The day involved being completely baffled by the sheer number of people. We walked from Waterloo station, past Westminster Abbey and big Ben, down past Downing street, and to Trafalgar square. After stopping for lunch we decided to have a look at some of the best known big English stores. First we went to Hamleys,the giant toy store, a store that would make anyone feel like a kid again. Next to Selfridges a Huge department store, and on to Harrods, another huge department store.

After our day in London we headed down to Oakham, the county town of Rutland, and the place where my grandparents live. It was lovely to see my grandparents again, and really nice to be able to relax. I loved travelling around Malaysia, but it did feel like we had to keep going, there was so much to see while we were there and we had so little time, that we felt guilty when we took some time out to just blob. We did a fair bit of blobbing once we got to Oakham. We didn't feel as guilty about it for a number of reasons, it rained a lot, which made it easier to stay inside, but more importantly, we are planning to live in England so anything we don't do now, we will have a chance to do later.

Everything in England is so big and old. That's one of the things that strikes me most about England. Everywhere we go there is something to see that has been around far longer than any man made object from back home. So far we have been to churches and found grave stones dating back to 1577 and earlier, been to a pub that has been around since 1190, we've been to an Iron age camp that is being excavated to discover exactly the what the shape was.

The stone-age camp was the first place we went to. It was a lovely day in Oakham, one of the first nice days they have had for months and months apparently and we decided to make the most of it by going to Borrough-on-the-hill. When I stayed with my grandparents when I was twelve I visited Burrough several times as it was only about half a mile away from the village in which they lived. It has only changed slightly from the place that I used to visit, and that is only because they are excavating it to find out the exact shape of the roman camps. The views from around Burrough are stunning. You can see for miles across the English countryside.

After a few days of rain, in which we didn't bother to do anything much we went to Melton Mowbray to have a look around. Melton is a tiny little town, but one thing it really knows how to do is Hand raised pork pies. They are rather hard to describe, and when you do describe them they sound revolting, but are actually one of the most delicious things you can imagine. If  you like meat of course.

Main room in the Guild hall.
We also went to Leicester. I didn't really like Leicester much. The town was soulless. Although was a very pretty Guilde hall which dated back several hundred years and had been used for the town hall and mayoral offices for centuries as well. The place was stunningly beautiful.

Nottingham on the other hand, was much nicer. The whole city feels friendly and it has a lovely atmosphere. It is also home to the "Oldest Pub in England" called The Trippe To Jerusalem as Crusaders used to stop there on their way out to fight. We did a few touristy things in Nottingham, went to the caves of Nottingham, an underground network of caves that have been dug out of the sandstone over centuries and used for various purposes like tanneries, and air raid shelters, and are still used as cellars by many of the pubs in Nottingham. We went to the Crime and Punishment Museum, in the old Gaol, which was really quite cool. And we went to Nottingham Castle, which was hugely disappointing, as it has been turned into a museum featuring Eastern wonders, and modern art.

Nottingham was so nice in fact that we have decided that when we are finished travelling around Europe we will look to live in Nottingham. After a lot of discussion and thought we decided that Edinburgh might be nice to visit, but not somewhere I would want to live.

Argh! That's enough I'm never going to finish writing this post. I give up. You can have half a post so that I can get on with updating about the rest of the trip.

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