So it's officially been a week since I have been back and I have only barely managed to unpack. The jet lag has taken me a while to adjust to as there is an 8 hour time difference between England and the west coast of America and frankly - I have just been lazy this past week, which is what I needed. Now, it is back to eating well and hitting the gym, back to cleaning my apartment and wedding planning, back to seeing my baby via Skype and living by the laws of immigration - in three words, back to reality. Oh reality - you always have to come and spoil the party, don't you?
In an effort to push off the truths of reality from my brain, I am going to continue with another post about my lovely trip.
After the wedding of Dan's Mom, we headed to Wales for a night to visit Dan's Dad. Wales is stunning and there are sheep EVERYWHERE. I happen to think that sheep are some of the cutest beings on this planet Earth, so this made me happy. This is a photo of Dan's Dad's house - isn't it adorable? All of the charm and loveliness that you see on the outside continues on the inside as well.
Dan's Dad and Step-Mom live in a part of Wales that is very close to the coast which makes it a very popular spot for vacationers. Due to this fact, they have little holiday rentals on their property which is a nice little side business for them. In this picture you can see some of the little cottages that they rent out. I think it is all just adorable.
Here is a little cabin that they also have on the property that gets rented out to those seeking some sun and surf. Dan's Dad built this himself, which had me very impressed. I love that there are people out there who know how to build things. I wish I knew how to build things.
Anyway...the entire little compound just exudes charm and is delightful. I would love to spend a summer up here staying in one of these little places.
Ah yes - the obligatory family photo. This is Dan, his Dad, Step-Mom and his 15 year old brother who is so adorable I almost didn't know what to do with myself.
The next day Dan and I headed out for our big adventure. What adventure you ask?
Well, driving this thing to the Southwestern part England to a county called Cornwall. Okay - I didn't actually do any of the driving: a) wrong side of the car, b) wrong side of the road, and c) me driving big vehicles is just not a good idea in general.
"It's a beaut Clark, it's a beaut!" (name that film)
Anyway, this BEAUT belongs to Dan's Mom and Step-Dad and let me tell you, camping with a motorhome is my new favorite way to camp. You can stop when you want, nap when you want, eat when you want - you get the picture. I have always considered myself a bit of a traditionalist with camping - I like the tents and the filthy clothing - but after a week in this bad boy, I think my camping life has changed a bit.
Here is the kitchen complete with everything you need really, just in smaller proportions. That is me cooking. Oh look - and there is my blue water bottle. I will let you in on a little weirdness about me and that is that I take that water bottle with me everywhere...I...go. I really do. I drink A LOT of water and that thing is like my security blanket. If I forget it, I suddenly get really thirsty and have to get some water STAT. It is all in my head, I know, but it is appropriate that she, yes - my water bottle is a girl - make an appearance on this blog at some point since it rarely leaves my side.
And here is the rest of it. There is a bed above the front seats that you pull down and it was actually really comfortable. See the towels hanging out to dry? Those were from the showers we took at the campsites...ah yes...clean camping.
Dan enjoying some morning O.J. while messing around on his laptop. Let me just stop for a second and tell you about the insane amount of technology we had in that little motorhome: 1 cell phone, 1 Blackberry, 2 iPods, 1 iTouch, 1 laptop, 1 GPS system, 2 devices so that we could listen to the iPods either through the motorhome speakers or through some portable speakers we brought along and 2 digital cameras. At one point we laid it all out and marveled at the ridiculousness of it all and took back anything we ever said in the past about not getting what we wanted.
So - Cornwall. I knew nothing about it before this trip, other than the fact that every English person who I spoke to about it pre-voyage said something along the lines of, "Oh - Cornwall is beautiful - you will love it," and love it, I did. However, it was a bit of an adventure. Not because of the motorhome or the campsites. Not because I had never been there...no, no...none of that. It was an adventure due to the fact, that the roads that branch off from the main motorways (which are still only about 2-4 lanes) are, in a word, TERRIFYING!!!
Let me just tell you...you have not seen tiny roads until you have been on the roads in Cornwall. In some spots, they are barely big enough for one car, let alone a 20 foot German motorhome. This, however, does not seem to bother the locals as they speed along in all sorts of vehicle shapes and sizes. I, on the other hand, was having near heart attacks as we slowly inched past vehicle after vehicle. There was one particularly tense situation where we had to have over 30 cars back up so we could pass through one ridiculously narrow stretch. Dan admitted after that he didn't think we would make it while I was fanning myself and popping Xanex...not really, but had I had Xanex, I would have been popping it.
Due to the stress these roads caused me, I didn't take any photos because I was too preoccupied with listening for the sound of our motorhome being side-swiped, but I did find this little gem on the internets that proves to you I am not a lying son of a gun.
At one point, while on a tiny Cornish road, we had to stop for a herd of cows to pass, which I loved. You cannot see it in the photo, but there was a Border Collie bringing up the rear and was basically doing most of the work. Being a city girl who has no experience with such a life, seeing anything like this makes me really excited and happy.
Cornwall is basically made up of a ton of little villages that are all very close together, yet each little town definitely has it's own character. We just drove along, through many villages and stopped when we felt like we wanted to stop. Dan, being an avid water sportsman, had spent many summers down here in his youth surfing and getting into trouble :) This picture was taken at Widemouth Bay which is right outside of a town called Bude. It was really cold and really windy, but there was still plenty of surfers trying to catch a wave.
The rocks come right up to the shoreline and are all topped with this lush green grass - it was so beautiful, even on a nasty day like this one was.
Hi Dan. Nice hat. I was in this picture too, but I looked all kinds of awful, so I took the liberty of cropping myself out of it. God bless technology.
This is the town of Bude. I took this in the middle of a MASSIVE downpour, but I still think the row of houses look adorable. Check out the little gate with the sun. I am still trying to decide if I like it or if it annoys me.
Another shot of Bude. See that green grass? It is such an awesome shade of green and unlike any I have seen - and I come from Oregon!! We have greenery coming out of our eyeballs, but still nothing quite like this.
After freezing our tushes off at Widemouth Bay, we hopped back in the motorhome and headed on down the road. As we drove through a small town called Port Issac, we came upon this beach which caught our eye. It was really quaint and adorable and the weather was finally clearing, so we stopped to check it out.
As we were on the path to the beach, we came upon these two iconic English items: the red phone booth and the red post box. I thought they were both really sweet looking and I loved that they were just along a beach path.
I am so glad that we chose to stop here because, as we got down onto the beach, I was blown away by the beauty of this place. Again you can see how the massive rocks, which are all made of slate, come right up to the beach. In the last photo, you can see there are some people in the lower right hand corner which gives you some perspective of how massive these rocks are.
I took soooo many photos of this beach, but it was simply stunning and my little camera does not do it justice.
We spent a lot of time here exploring all of the rock formations and checking out the caves that line the beaches. Cornwall is in fact known for it's caves where, hundreds of years ago, smuggling was rampant amongst those trying to avoid paying tax on imported items. The caves along the shores of Cornwall were used as secret hiding places for a variety of goods. Oh baby - if caves could talk.
Goodness grief Jocelyn...stop while your
After checking out the beach at Port Issac, we headed into a town called Newquay (pronounced New-key). This is a fairly large, touristy town that lacked some of the charm of the smaller villages, but it is apparently some of the best surfing in all of Europe and...well, I think the view speaks for itself - it was beautiful. Look at that water!!!
Uhm...heeeelllooo - is this not some of the prettiest green and blue colors you have ever seen?
Dan taking in the view. I will have you know that I did not mess with the coloring of this photo at all - this is how it looked right out of my camera.
This was a hotel right on the edge of a cliff that looks out over the water. Some day I will stay in this hotel - mark my words.
We spent the day walking around Newquay and just taking in the sights. As is typical with coastal weather, it would get really sunny and then be raining 5 minutes later, but we didn't let that get to us.
See the structure on the rock? That is a house. See the little bridge? That is the only way to get to the house. Sweetness.
Here is a group of guys in a surf school. Surfing is HUGE in this part of the world - it reminded me of California - except much prettier scenery and the people had nicer accents.
I am still totally and completely transfixed by the English accent and still tickled that I get to listen to one for the rest of my days.
"Mummy, can I have a biscuit?"
That is how I imagine my future children talking to me. Oh please let it be so.
Aside from crazy shades of green, tiny roads and surfers, you also see TONS of these around Cornwall - and I mean they are everywhere. This was a lot of fun for Dan and I who give "friendly" punches to each other every time we spot one. Actually, truth be told, this game got a little out of hand in Cornwall, but I think it is fair to say that I won. It's just an advantage of being a passenger - I had two hands available for punching at all times whereas he only had one.
We have a loving and healthy relationship, I swear ;)
Well, again I have written another ridiculously lengthy post. I have one more to write about my trip, and then I will be done - I promise - but the last one will be the best one yet because I am going to introduce you to a place with such charm and old-world feel that you are going to want to all book your tickets there before I can say Have a Wonderful Day!!!
Update: I just did another glance at this post and realized that I had about 8 spelling mistakes, for which I apologize. Spelling is not my thang - but I should have triple checked it. Thank you and goodnight.