Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Most Breathtaking English Countryside

Hi, friends! I am feeling so much better today, after nearly sleeping for 20 hours yesterday alone. I'm still pretty tired, but I think once I get moving, I'll feel more awake.

I'm really excited to share our day trip to the Cotswolds with you. The Cotswolds are near Oxford, starting about 70 miles north of London and a 100 mile trail of little picturesque, thatch-roofed villages. It's somewhere that I really wanted to see, but it always seemed like so much trouble, because you need a car to get around. I refuse to drive here, and Daniel has once before and said he'll never do it again. SO, when our friends Bailey and Tristan told us that they wanted to take a daytrip and didn't mind driving, we jumped on the opportunity tag along!

We rented a car through zipzar- you can either pay an hourly or daily rate, and it really wasn't too shabby when being split amongst two couples.

They picked us up around 8:45 and we were off! First stop was Bibury, about an hour and a half from our flat. Bailey and I had both read great things about the village, but it was SO small and we couldn't find any shops or pubs. I think we just didn't look hard enough? The houses were cute, though!

Next stop was unplanned- it just looked like a cute town, so we decided to have a look! Bourton-on-the-Water, also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds. It didn't even look real, and I think it was really built up to look old. Everything was a bit too perfect. 


The next town was all of our favorites- Chipping Campden. We spent a lot of time there, and if you are going to the Cotswolds, I highly recommend this town. It was just touristy enough, but mostly full of people that actually live there. There were a handful of pubs, ice cream shops, and little antique stores. 

We went to two pubs- The Red Lion....and I can't remember the other one. We had a cider at each, and lunch at the second one. It was actually pretty good, for being pub food! And cider is always the perfect compliment to a warm day (the hottest of the year in the UK!). 
A Market Hall from the early 1600's
The NEATEST church was in Chipping Campden that we truly enjoyed exploring. There was a wedding going on, and it seemed like the whole town was there! As we walked to the church, it seemed like every little cottage's door was opening, with a little old lady hobbling out, shouting at her neighbor to come along so they don't miss the ceremony. 

There's something about old English churches and cemeteries that I just love. There's such a feeling of peace and you feel so small when reading the tombstones of people that have died 500 years ago. 

Next, we were able to find a walking map and took a 5 mile hike into the countryside. First, we got to pass some old cottages. They don't ever get old to me! I really want to stay in one, one day.

The hike was incredible. Gorgeous views, wild flowers, and LOTS of sheep. Plus, it was so sunny and warm out. 


Our sheep story:
We were sitting down, watching the view, and there was a sheep next to us chowing down on some grass. There was another sheep baaing in the distance, and every time the sheep next to us kept baaing back to it. She started to sound angry, and then we turn around and see it was her baby she was baaing to! The baby runs full force to her momma, baaing hysterically. Bailey goes "AWWWW, we are about to see a tender moment!" And then the baby sheep head butts the momma in the groin, making her stumble, and then starts going to town on her nipples for some milk. It looked painful! And then after baby got her fill, she started rolling around happily in the grass. It was really freaking cute.

After our hike, we got some ice cream and asked the shop owner for another good town we should see. He suggested Broadway, and we went, but I think we were too tired at this point to enjoy any more sights. We had heard of a pub called Falkland Arms, deemed to be the "best pub in the UK" and decided to drive there, before heading home for the night. 

The pub was really old and in the middle of nowhere. I think there were more dogs than people there. We were so, so tired that we just stayed for a bit before going back to London.

Fun, fun times. I'm so thankful we got to go with Bailey and Tristan!

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