Saturday, September 14, 2013

Movin' to the Country...

...Gonna eat me a lot of peaches.

Yes, that song was stuck in my head the whole time while we were visiting the English country side of Hampshire. That, and lot's of David Bowie, thanks to our impromptu karaoke at our Host David's house.

ANYWAS, on Sunday, my aunts and Daniel, along with our new friends Russ and Gail, met for brunch with Dianne's old friend, David. David moved from Houston 20 years ago and is a writer, living a 1.5 hour train ride away from London in the small village of Alton. The aunts and I took the train back with him and just fell in love with the quaintness of the country.

We saw badgers, bunnies, and bobcats roaming the narrow and often times unpaved roads of the country.

Could the cottage shave been any cuter?
 We got out and walked around for a bit, because the windy roads were making me carsick. I've decided that I would be quite content leaving London for the country, if only Daniel wouldn't have a 4 hour commute everyday.
Pub 1

Birthday Pub
 We were lucky enough to spend our trip with David during his birthday, so we went to this pub that was in the middle of nowhere to share some wine, tasty food, and of course a cake or two.


Hampshire is full of hidden walking trails that go on for miles through the woods. I loved how unmanicured and rugged it all was. There were wild horses that supposedly had been left there by gypsies hundreds of years ago. 

We stumbled across an old church. The tombstones were blank and unnamed due to centuries of erosion.

This ain't just any ol' country cottage...It was the home of Jane Austen, where most of her novels were birthed. 

Recreation of the Round Table
We drove to the small town of Winchester. It reminded me a bit of a smaller and calmer York. Everything was old. Ancient.

Church in Winchester

Mosaic window

Winchester, like York, had a big, ancient church. Some cool tidbits: One of the stained glass windows was destroyed during their civil war. All of the townspeople came together, collected the glass, and created the first known mosaic. Another tidbit: the crypt is normally flooded.

This is a picture that I actually took!
But the coolest thing that we got to do was tour Downton Abbey (called Highclere in real life). I am so happy that we got to do this. Although I've only seen the first season of Downton Abbey, my aunts are HUGE fans and really wanted to go see the estate where the show is filmed at. When we called to get tickets, they said they were booked, but we still decided to give it a try and just show up. Thankfully, they had room for us!

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures of the inside. I'm a rule follower, unlike others (coughcough Dianne) so you'll have to go there yourself to see it. It was much smaller than it appears on the show. All of the rooms were labeled and we got to see the character's bedrooms, too. Everything was perfectly decorated and thought was put in to every nook and cranny.


What was really stunning was the outside. I can't remember how many acres they own, but basically as far as the eye could see was their land. It is different from the perfectly manicured gardens...just rugged, rolling hills for miles.
I just love this picture because A. it looks like I am a baller at handstands when in fact I almost always fall over after 3 seconds and B. It looks like I am giving birth to Highclere (as noticed by my Aunt Laura).
I think we could have spent a few extra days in Hampshire and have been content (we were only there for 2 days). I loved the quiet, slow pace of life there. Definitely need to go back with Daniel next time! 


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