the english countryside
Spoiler alert: I may use the word “quaint” more than fifty times in this post. Consider yourself warned.
After our five day stay in London, Tyler & I had the pleasure of heading out of the city to visit his aunt & uncle and their kids at their home in Hemingford Abbots. We swapped bridges and castles for rolling fields and old churches as we made the hour or so train ride out to Huntingdon, a town north of London. I'm giddy that we were able to have the chance to appreciate London for all its powerful, grand beauty and then immediately turn around and fall in love with the countryside for all it’s charm and whimsey. As we trained from skylines-scapes to panoramic field views, my heart experienced that oh so familiar tug of these two worlds. The city and the country - how can I ever choose between them! I think I’ll always need one foot in both worlds to be completely satisfied. (...or maybe, like my BFF Alexander Hamilton, "I'll never be satisfied" ;)
The countryside of England satisfied my heart in a new way though. Maybe it was the blinding neon green grass that grew wild. Or perhaps it was the quaint designs on the thatched roof that made me stop in my tracks and marvel. Although it just might have been the slow, peaceful rhythm that everything around me seemed to have - from the water to the sheep, to the pubs to the people laughing. Because of that quiet peace, I think I’m able to recognize my thoughts and feelings quicker and with more clarity. I feel more in tune with my being, and for those moments, England, I am grateful.
Tad & Jo and their four kiddos are my newest "family crush." I am head over heels in love with all of them - the people they are, and the dreams they have. I feel like I got to know this family more deeply in two days than some people I've known for years! They are open and honest and willing to share. And share we did! Our conversation from the first hellos, to the “see you laters” was continuous! I could talk with Jo for days and weeks and months! I love finding a “soul mate” whose soul and life experience are what I want to learn from and emulate.
Tad & Jo live in a quintessential English home called the Old Rectory (right behind the Old Church ;) Tad has been working as a dentist on the military base nearby for the past few years, and they have been able to use their home as a launch pad for all sorts of adventures around UK and Europe. (You can follow all their adventures on insta @jojogypsies) Even though we only hada few short days together, they were the best tour guides!
My favorite day of the whole trip was spent riding bicycles from Hemingford to Houghton through small forest and across canals, and then on to St. Ives through green fields and farms. We stopped in St. Ives for afternoon tea at a superb cafe where we sat overlooking the canal as rowers and narrow boats floated past. Sweet scones, jam, clotted cream, eclairs, tarts, finger sandwiches, and of course, warm milky tea. Every sit down meal we had with T & J wasat least two or three hours of talking. I felt like we had so much to share and topics to cover!
We visited a few local pubs in the towns we went through; The Cock and the Axe & Compass were our favorites! I love the pub tradition in England - everyone in town can convene at a cozy space (in our experience, so cozy you hit your head on the ceilings!) and talk and drink and bond. These pubs had that small town feel where the bartenders seem to know you and your whole family intimately and everyone you see says hello and smiles!
Our last day, we were able to drive out to visit Cambridge. We walked through a few different colleges, grabbed snacks in a market, and Tyler & I took a tour down the river through town! :) Isn’t it fun to go to cities like this - that represent so much collective learning and knowledge? It’s always inspiring to me to think of the history of brilliant humans who advance our civilization with their minds and hard work!
I had a hard time trimming down my selection of photos to share! Everywhere I looked I wanted to snap a photo to remember the beauty and feelings I experienced here!
(In case you missed the previous post, I wrote about our time in London here!)
As always, thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments below - If you have been to England, what are some of the favorite places you found there? I shared in my last post that I want to go back and live here. I need to start planning! ;)