Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Last Day in the UK

Every day but one of our trip was cloudy and drizzly, so it was pretty typical that we would sleep until 10:00 a.m. or later. Mostly because the hotel room simply never got light enough to indicate it was daytime. Usually one of us woke up and checked the clock, then opened the curtains to wake up everyone else. On January 2nd, my friend Liz had the honor of waking us up by calling at 9:00 to see what time we wanted to head out. I was a little embarrassed that we were still in bed and that I had thought she was calling much earlier. In the hour it took her to drive to our hotel, we got up, got dressed, and had breakfast at the hotel.

Just as we finished eating, Liz called and asked us to meet her at the train station nearby, so we borrowed an umbrella from the hotel, and went to meet her. We wanted to make the day easy on her and minimize her driving, and so asked to go see Caerphilly Castle a short drive away. She had never been either, so it was exciting for all of us.

The castle, as you will see, was pretty incredible.

Little Bean inside the castle
Little Bean has taken to posing for pictures on her own
Liz and Little Bean
Posing on her own again
We had originally wanted to go see another castle that was very close to Caerphilly Castle, to minimize the driving for Liz, but while we were in the gift shop, she showed me the cover of a book about Tinturn Abbey and asked if we wanted to go there instead. I told her I was sure Hubs wouldn't mind, so our plans were changed.

We all hopped back in the car and began the drive through the countryside, which was absolutely breathtaking. On the way, we stopped into a quaint pub for lunch. It was everything you would imagine a countryside pub to be. Little Bean even had fish and chips, which weren't half bad.

A short jaunt later, we arrived at the Abbey. Words and pictures just couldn't do the abbey justice, and we commented on it the entire time we were there. We could take pictures all day, but we would never be able to capture the magnitude and just how amazing and beautiful the abbey was. I could have spent hours there and still not had enough.

I took this picture to try to show the sheer size of the abbey

This is the countryside right outside the abbey walls
It was just too gorgeous to pass up a picture

At 4:00 as the sun was going down, the caretakers came around, ringing a bell to tell everyone it was time to leave. I tried to take a picture of the sun setting through the ruins, but it couldn't do the beauty justice.

All too soon, we were back at the hotel and telling Liz goodbye. It was by far my most favorite day of the trip. It is impossible to beat meeting a longtime friend in a foreign country, and then spending the day with them seeing the countryside and historical sites. Apparently Liz liked being in our company too because when we looked at a map that night, we saw just how far we had traveled that day.

The only thing left to do that night was pack up all of the suitcases, arrange transport to the airport the next morning, and then tuck in for our last night in the UK.

The next morning we left the hotel by 9:00, and began a two-day (40-hour), extremely frustrating journey home full of long flights, overnight layovers, and flight cancellations. By the time it was all over, I was so happy to be home where I belonged. There was nothing like that first night back in my own big, soft bed with no Little Bean kicking me in the back all night long, and with my dog curled up by my side while the other slept at the foot of the bed. It was simply delicious.

Our trip was made more wonderful by the fact that we had Little Bean. She never got jet-lagged, she never took a nap, she stayed up late every night, and she loved almost every second of it. She told us constantly throughout the trip how much she loved London and Cardiff, and tells us on a regular basis that she wants to go back again.

Of course, if we ever go back again, which it will be a long time because we are kind of UK'ed out, we will do things a little differently. Still, I'm glad we went and had the experience with Little Bean before she becomes a big sister.


*Jess* said...

That was an amazing experience you gave your daughter :) One that she will always remember!

Fran said...

What an amazing trip, a sort of a reverse of ours in Cali, but it's such a bonding time travelling together isn't it? I love the Little Bean was so well adjusted and made your trip even more enjoyable! Love, Fran