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Published: March 10th 2011
Hartland Quay Church
Catch up in Devon
Hi all, it has been a while since I have updated you on my life and adventures in England, and I am afraid you are going to have to wait to hear about my present activities until later. Right now I plan on finishing the story of my family’s visit to England. Now to recap their trip thus far, they arrived in London, played, saw a play, and ate amazing food (if you really want to know read the previous entry). After a harrowing car ride to Bristol my grandparents and parents then departed for their week on holiday in Devon, which is where the story picks up again.
My family was lucky enough to find a gem of accommodation in the Woodford Bridge Country Club, which featured all the expected accommodations and if I may say was very lush! While I was holed up in Bristol taking classes, doing labs and suffering the miserable existence of being a student they were traipsing around the Devonshire countryside. However, on Friday I took the train to Exeter – it was so crowded I sat on a luggage rack – and my weekend holiday in
After meeting my parents at the Exeter train station, we proceeded to get lost trying to get onto the motorway. Really, it was because of all the roundabouts – seriously I would like to see a major intersection in England that isn’t a roundabout – and of course wasn’t influenced by the fact that we had absolutely no clue where we were going. A positive of this deviation from the plan was our stop at the local big Sainsbury’s for food. I must say that going grocery shopping with my parents again was a marvelous feeling. After months of feeding myself on Sainsbury’s Basics and Tesco Value it was nice to buy the Taste the Difference brand instead. (In actuality, I am not sure if I taste the difference, except for in the Basics wine, which I do not recommend to anyone.) We arrived “home” to the Country Club, after a terrifying journey between hedgerows in the dark. You would think that at some point the Brits would understand the need for a shoulder on a road, but no instead they seem to believe that one lane roads are perfect to drive two ways down. After a
delicious meal of fish, pesto pasta, and brussel sprouts, I settled into a wonderfully big bed and entertained myself with my Organic Chemistry book that my parents had kindly brought over.
The next morning, at an ungodly early hour, my slumber was stopped by the chaos of making breakfast. However, as I was back in the bosom of my family I was immediately presented with coffee as I got out of bed, they know my morning mood to well to do otherwise. After scrambled eggs with Romano cheese, we packed up and made our way to the North Devon Coast and the town of Hartland. Hartland was a tiny town with a beautiful farm shop where we settled in for lunch and I experienced my first Cream Tea. For those of you who do not know the two counties of Devon and Cornwall have a fierce rivalry over who invented the Cream Tea, as well as the proper way in which to eat it. In the Devon method the clotted cream (amazingness in a jar) is put on the scone and then the jam is spread over it. The method from Cornwall insists that the Jam be spread first
and the clotted cream spooned on top. I must admit I like the Cornish method far better as the tart sweetness of the Jam is mellowed by the creamy deliciousness of the clotted cream. After our luncheon was completed we went to the coast.
England has a vast and amazing number of old Norman Churches and Cathedrals. We happened on one of these in Hartland Quay, and had the pleasure of exploring the grounds and the cemetery around it. Furthermore, there are a number of amazing walking trials that litter the countryside in England. One of these took us along the coast for some ways until we crossed a nice little waterfall that plunged down the steep coast into the sea. At one point my mother and I climbed down to explore the beach and the craggy rocks that littered the shore. We also unexpectedly ran into brown sheep. Overall the beautiful vistas and sublime intersection of water, sky and earth made this journey one of the more fantastic that I have taken. Although traipsing through the thick Devonshire mud did cake my shoes and jeans with red gunk. After concluding our journey we drove back (on horrifying little
roads) to the Country Club and went for a dip in the pool/soak in the hot tub. Quite a quality day.
After an amazingly comfortable sleep, we packed up everything and everyone into the car and ventured back to Bristol. On our way back we decided – intentionally – to take a detour to the august, mighty, over studied, over emphasized, but still magnificent: Stonehenge. After walking the laid out path, listening to the audio soundtrack, and genuinely freezing in the wind, we hopped back into the car and made our way to Bath. Bath, you see was the last cultural thing that we had left to see in the Southwest so with great enthusiasm we entered the ancient Roman Baths and spent the next four hours with our ears pressed against audio devices. Actually the tour was quite enjoyable, but I am not sure if it was worth the eight pound. The highlight for sure was our opportunity to taste the water at the end – if you have ever smelled a rotten egg imagine that taste. Blech.
We finally made it to Bristol and into the Avon Gorge Hotel, which is situated on the edge of
the Avon Gorge overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge. After a nice meal in the pub, I took a taxi ride home, the weekend officially over. However, the next day I was able to tour Bristol with my family, going to the waterfront, Cabot Circus, Primark, College Green, the University precinct and Clifton. It was wonderful to show off the city within which I was living.
Finally on Wednesday, my family left for London. They stopped in Oxford and then made their way to Heathrow where their flight left early Thursday morning. I went to class, to the canoe club pool session and fell back into my routine as a student. I was happy to have had my family’s visit.
All right, now that is done! Here are some pictures although I think you have already seen them. Oh well!
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