I was incredibly fortunate this past year to do quite a bit of travelling. The most memorable road trip with my dear friend Sylvia, across the country. The paradise that is Maui with the women of my family. And the most exciting trip of all, England, with my mom and sister for a few days, and then a week with one of my best friends, Natasha.
This trip was one of a lifetime. My mom and sister had a couple days in England on the way home from a trip to India, so my mom flew me out to meet them for the weekend. We explored the streets of Bath, toured Stonehenge, and wandered through Salisbury Cathedral. Stonehenge is such an interesting site! Massive rocks that date back to prehistoric times.
I just couldn’t get over the detail of Salisbury Cathedral. It’s so hard to believe all this was built by hand so long ago. It’s just simply beautiful. I feel a little silly, because I just could not get over the beauty in the architecture everywhere. The structures, and buildings, and character are what I loved most about this beautiful country!
Majority of our time was spent adventuring London. We walked around all of Central London and saw all the main touristy things. Big Ben. Tower Bridge. Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park. Unfortunately, due to a marathon, we weren’t able to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace. Nonetheless, it was the best weekend with my mom and sister!
Perfect timing led to Natasha, one of my best friends, getting engaged the day before I was supposed to meet up with her. With the help of Con, I left my family and adventured to the English countryside to be part of a surprise engagement party! Coenraad couldn’t have planned the more perfect day for my best friend, and I’m so super thankful I got to be there to celebrate with her. Definitely a moment to treasure!
This trip was so memorable for me because it forced me out of my comfort zone. After my family left, I got to stay with Natasha, and her fiance’s family. During the day she would be working, so I got to explore the streets of London on my own! A few years ago I would have melted away at the thought, but I relished in the freedom! A beautiful city – all mine to explore! It’s hard to believe in a city as large as London, how many beautiful green spaces and parks there were. All of them were so peaceful and a treat to walk through. I’m not going to lie, I walked by Big Ben quite a few times, just to remind myself I was in London! He’s such a majestic structure. Even riding the tube was so exciting!
While in England, I decided to adventure to some sites that I’ve been dreaming about. My favourite movie of all time is Pride and Prejudice, (contrary to most, I actually prefer the Kiera Knightley version. Matthew MacFayden as Mr. Darcy… swoon!). After some researching, my train ticket was booked and I was travelling about 2 hours north of London to Chesterfield. A short taxi ride later and I had arrived at Chatsworth House, which is the house used in the film. My fascination with this house runs deep. I’ve illustrated it for a school project in college, and I’ve dreamed of what it looked like inside. I couldn’t believe I was standing infront of it and exploring it’s halls! The inside was more than I could of dreamed, so lavish and beautiful.
Another big bucket list item was the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I grew up reading Harry Potter. I spent endless hours lost in the pages of fiction, adventuring with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I grew up with these characters. As they got older, I got older. I even had a week long Harry Potter marathon with my dearest friend from university, JP, prior to the final movie coming out. So I just had to take advantage of the fact I was in England. The day after Chatsworth, I hopped on the tube to Watford Junction, and boarded the tour bus that would take me to the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was amazing to see how the films were made. I spent nearly 4 hours exploring all that was packed into this tour. I could not have prepared for the breathtaking view that was the Hogwarts Model. At a ratio of 1:20 of the real thing, this model was huge! You can’t really tell in the picture as there’s no size reference, but trust me, it’s large and simply stunning!
Friday night I got to experience England at night with Natasha, Con, and a couple of Con’s awesome friends. We had some drinks at a quaint little pub by Natasha’s work, and had some mexican food at this super fun little restaurant, though I forget the name of it. The night ended with a trip to Oxford to drive Con’s friend home. It was quite the treat, because I wasn’t expecting to see Oxford. We went on a little stroll through the town and the University grounds. Even at midnight and with the rain, Oxford is gorgeous!
My last day full in the country was spent wandering the English countryside with Natasha. We walked and talked and laughed. We stumbled upon a farmer’s market. Went shopping. Explored. And ended the day off with Indian food and wedding planning! It was a really special day with one of my dearest friends. Before I knew it, Sunday was here, and it was time for me to travel back to Toronto. My last meal in England was a traditional High Tea! Tash was so excited to share this with me! Tea and crumpets never tasted so good!
As I reminisce on my days in England, my heart can’t wait to get back there. I don’t even think about the fact that it rained most of the time, and I normally don’t like rain. I just can’t wait to wander through the parks, hear the amazing accents, and just take it all in again. It truly is a country with so much character, history, and charm! Until we meet again London!