8 April 2012

A holiday in March

We went on holiday the last week of March. It was a well-needed break from the daily grind, since I've been working non-stop since the beginning of this year to get my job as a freelance translator going, and we haven't had a real break from work since August last year! Together with 4 friends, we headed out to the Cotswolds to stay in a cottage for a week.

What a lovely week we had! We were so lucky with the weather, sun all week and only a few clouds here and there... We even barbecued twice! In March! Can you believe it? Well, just in case you can't, here's a brief overview of our week.

Naturally, you can't start the day in England without a proper English breakfast. Home-cooked, even. I normally eat a bowl of granola for breakfast, and if I'm really hungry, I throw in a chopped apple, so this whole plate for breakfast took some struggling. But I managed! And I'm glad I did, because it was delicious.

We were about an hour away from Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of one Mr. Shakespeare. To be precise, this birthplace. I enjoyed the city itself, which has a relatively small centre with a large pedestrian area surrounding the birthplace of William Shakespeare and the adjacent information centre. We took the tour, which was deceptively small, and enjoyed all the non-information they put out for the tourists. ("we found this ring that has 'SW' engraved on it, therefore, it is likely that this belonged to William Shakespeare!".. Yes, or to Wentworth Smith. Or Wendy Scott. Just sayin'.) It was impressive enough, though. If you kept in mind that you were walking in the same grounds as one of the most famous writers of all time.

Since you can't go to the UK without visiting at least one castle, we went to Warwick Castle, a gorgeous medieval castle-turned-themepark in Warwick.

There's even a Dungeon á la the London Dungeon. Naturally, we were out of luck, because it was closed for redecoration for the Easter event. Inside the castle, a whole host of rooms has been turned into the "Kingmaker"-event, which follows the preparations in the castle for the Battle of Barnet in 1471. All in all, not your average visit to a castle. The castle was gorgeous though, and we went on an impressive climb along the castle walls that offered views of the surroundings. It was amazing!

They also held a bird-show in the castle grounds, which was very cool. This gorgeous creature was one of three birds that came out for a few swoops around the grounds.

Our days were mostly filled with lounging around the house and enjoying the warmth of the sun, reading and playing games, and going out for ventures into nearby towns and places. We were staying just outside of Broadway, a small town with many hidden alleys and tucked-away shops. I can only imagine how crowded it must get in the summer, but we went there on Saturday and it was filled with people.

One of the other towns we visited was Bourton-on-the-water, "the Venice of the Cotswolds". We weren't sure they had ever been to Venice before deciding on that nickname, but it was a lovely town nonetheless, if not a bit dull. We sauntered around for a while, did some window- and actual shopping, until we came across a sign that holds up for March 2012 as well:

Then we stopped at a café for lunch and I had my first ever cream tea.

Even though much of our holiday was spent relaxing, I really enjoyed the Cotswolds. The yellow stone houses and towns are gorgeous and there's a ton of nature to enjoy and places to visit. It was definitely a trip worth repeating!

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