I'm a 37-year old Seattle girl who was bitten by the travel bug on my first tour of Europe in 2004. This personal blog follows my attempts to visit as many countries as I can, as often as my budget will allow. Since starting this blog in 2007, I've also worked as a freelance copywriter for an online travel publication. This only served to add even more must-see locations to my already extended list.
Journal entry - England '04
London has its own smell; musty, lingering and completely unlike any other smell I know. Sometimes it smells more like coffee, sometimes perfume, sometimes gas, or "petrol" as the Brits prefer.
Almost every building has a history. Corners are worn with age, streets are far from level, damage from World War II freckles the walls. The scale of the architecture is immense and impressive. Even Starbucks has acanthus leaves flanking its doorway. And if it isn't very old, it's very new. Geometrically-shaped modern architecture peppers the city. And though it seems that these would seem out of place, they aren't. Such is the quirky charm of this place.
London is massive, and its contents are tightly packaged. People move like well-oiled machines through The Tube, on the buses, down the sidewalks or the streets. Yet, simply cross the street from the focused insanity and escape into one of the many Royal Parks. Geese flock in man-made lakes, locals play fetch with their dogs, people whip by on bicycles or rollerblades. Inside these parks, its truly difficult to tell you are in one of the world's largest cities.
Outside London, rural England is exactly as I've always imagined. Broad rolling hillsides extend beyond the horizon. A patchwork quilt of deep brown soil, vibrant green grasses and cream-colored crops. These patches are defined by short, fat shrubs, aged stone walls and large leafy trees. Lazy cows gather in one field, a herd of sheep seek shelter from the rain under a cluster of trees. Quaint tudor or brick cottages are scattered all over this tapestry, so cliche you have to look twice.
Bath is simply breathtaking. It's a stew of architecture, much larger than I anticipated. It's built on a series of hillsides, and this unexpected landscape takes your breath away. City regulations make it a beauty based on uniformity, but the countryside hills framing this picture give the city unmistakeable charm.
Kent doesn't disappoint either. It is a beautiful part of this English quilt. The sheep have been replaced by ponies and horses frolicking in early morning sunlight. Large round haybales speckle the fields. There are more gardens here, splashing bits of lavendar and pink all over. And if you glance to your right as you drive along the motorway, you see the Eurostar rip by on its way to Paris.
My fellow travelers have fallen asleep, and it's a shame. A rainbow has followed us for the last 20 minutes...