So, 2 weeks ago I made my 3rd trip to England in the past 5 months. I wouldn't call it an obsession so much as seizing an opportunity. My housemate Janine moved back home to Nottingham, England on Sunday and she let me tag along on the drive home. Her dad and one of his close friends made the drive across the ocean to pick us up and then the drive back. We got to cross the Channel via the ferry. I've now taken all 3 modes of transportation to cross the body of water that divides England and France. When taking the ferry,
Once we had crossed to the famous white cliffs of Dover we made the rest of the long drive up the middle of the country to Nottingham. Janine actually lives in a small village called Annesly which is next to Kirkby and all a part of Nottinghamshire which is all a part of the East Midlands region in Northern England. Learned something new! We didn't get back to her house till pretty late that first night. After a quick birthday party for Janine's birthday I was ready for some sleep!
The first day we drove to Matlock with Janine's mom, sister and her sister's boyfriend. It was about a 30-45 minute drive north of their little village and since it was a bank holiday everyone and their cousin was on their way to this little city in a valley. The city of Matlock was really cute and typically english. We had lunch in the park and got ice cream from an ice cream truck. Had my first 99p. It was pretty much vanilla ice cream in a cone with a little piece of flaky chocolate. It was originally sold for 99 pence but of course the price has gone way up. We then drove to another part of Matlock and went into an arcade to play some slot machines and walked along a canal that ran through the city.
The second day in England we spent most of the day hanging around Janine's house with her family. We did get out for a little bit of shopping at a small shopping complex down the road from her house. It was so nice to speak to the sales personnel in english, even though I struggled paying in British pounds. On Wednesday we took a trip to Nottingham University were Janine goes to school and I got to meet several of her university friends and we walked around the campus for just a bit.
Wednesday morning before going to Janine's university we did a little shopping in town and saw the sights of Nottingham. This is of course where Robinhood lived so I had to take a picture with his statue. We also walked past the oldest pub in England. I got to go shopping in my favorite British store: Primark. We had lunch at a small seudo french cafe and I ordered a fabulous hot ham and cheese on a croisant with fries.
On Thursday the Manning clan and I drove to Whitby for the day. On the way we stopped in a small village that had a working steam engine train that would commute passengers to the coast. The train station was very well preserved and set up to look as it would when steam engines were all the rage for transportation.
Whitby is a small coastal town in northern England where Bram Stroker got the inspiration to write parts of his famous novel Dracula. The day started with a stroll through town and then a stop to the most famous fish and chip shop in Whitby. I got a full British fish and chips at the seaside experience in the rain and attacked by seagulls.
Later in the day we took a bus up to the cliffs of Whitby and say an old monastery and walked through an old church. I've never seen a church set up like this one before. Families would rent out the benches and they were sectioned off for just the family to sit in. At the end of the day we did a little bit of shopping in town and I bought some Whitby Rock. It's a hard candy cane like candy that comes in all different flavors.
I had a truly amazing week in England with the nutty Manning clan and can not thank them enough for the generous hospitality and showing me all the highlights of the north. I'm proud to say I am the first American to stay at International Hotel Manning!
I have spent this past week with my dad. I'm proud of him for getting on that plane and flying all the way to France to visit me. It's been a truly memorable week and his help in getting me all packed and ready to go home has been a complete life saver!
These past 8 months have come with many ups and downs and some amazing new friends. Each experience I have had has enriched my life and made me who I am today. I wouldn't trade this time for anything but I am very happy to say that my time in France is coming to a swift end and in just 2 days time I will be back in my beloved USA!!!!!!
Thanks everyone for following me on my journeys this year. I hope you have enjoyed following my blog and reading all about my life in France. I can't wait to see you all soon!