Well, I’ve been tardy with my blog posts and have fallen a bit behind. But with good reason – I just loved England too much! I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was feeling a wee bit homesick and loved the chance to see my family, the mixture of urban and rural environments that I visited, the food (no explanation necessary), or experiencing the British humour and way of life that I’ve been raised with first-hand, but whatever combo it was did the trick for me. Congratulations England on becoming my favourite country that I’ve visited thus far! (don’t worry New Zealand and Laos, I’ll still continue to look back on you fondly).
What I will miss most:
- Old stuff. And by this I mean the churches, abbeys, castles, villages and piles of rocks. Avebury should be a must-visit by anyone who goes to England. Stonehenge, from what I’ve read and heard, is overrated and inaccessible. At Avebury you wander through fields with giant rocks, get up close to grazing sheep, and your thoughts aren’t disrupted by the sounds of a million tourists trying to get the perfect shot. Be sure to give yourself enough time to see both the well-known sites (such as Glastonbury Abbey, which was beautiful) as well as the random ones you might see driving through an old village. If it looks old, chances are it’s going to be a gem.
- Marks & Spencer picnic lunches. I’ve mentioned before about the great lunch options that are available everywhere. I didn’t strike out with any of the options I picked from M&S when my parents and I decided to plop down in a park for a nibble and snooze. So delicious! Pret a Manger was also quite good, particularly their red onion and cheddar crisps.
- Speaking of food, I’ll miss the food. Not all of it, mind you – lots of cream and fatty pastries abound here, but I found the most amazing vegetarian substitutes in the local supermarket that actually tasted good. I would be a very satisfied vegetarian here. I’ll also miss the proper chocolate, ice cream, and preservative-free breads. Fine. I’ll miss all of it, even the junky stuff. Can’t be healthy all the time in life.
- Boots. The pharmacy, not the shoe. I love roaming Boots, much to the dismay of my poor waiting Dad.
- Shopping! I have to come back when I have a larger bank account and a proper suitcase, because this was just a tease. Markets, independent boutiques, boot sales (yard sales, again not the shoe), I wanted it all!
- Family. I have mentioned it numerous times, but discovering that I have a larger family than originally thought was a pretty nifty perk to a vacation. Getting to spend lots of time with them was also swell. And seeing where my Dad grew up and have him take me on a tour of his old hood was wonderful.
- Taking the Tube. Complain all you want, Londoners. Come take the TTC and then we’ll see who has it worse. Yes, you have strikes (we do too!). Yes, you have delays (we do too!), however you get a ridiculous amount of advanced notice when things may be inconvenient to you. Your staff are polite (for the most part). And ultimately, your transit system takes you to useful places and is pretty good value. Plus you have double-decker buses!
What I won’t miss:
- Devon roads. I think my Dad would agree whole-heartedly with this. I took numerous videos (which I’ll one day post) of the nightmare that is driving in the moors, on single-lane roads with people whipping around like they’re on a motorway with important places to be.
- The sense of dismay when realizing after a few seconds that a price I was looking at was in pounds, not dollars. Yep.
Thanks for a great April England. I can’t wait to come back!