Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weekend in the Cotswolds

Bibury, Cotswolds
I feel like a lot of people see travel as something that has to take place at a far distance. I really really don’t think that’s true. Everywhere I live, there are weekend trip possibilities – more than I can even get to in a year or two. Needless to say, I’ve never moved from a place feeling like I’ve exhausted all exploring. After moving to London, I was beyond excited to see England. So many people visit London, maybe Stonehenge, then they’re done. England is so lovely and old! There are great things to see here. A local favorite is the Cotswolds. Cotswold stone is a warm buttery limestone – Jurassic and full of fossils usually –  that is native to England. It ranges from a sort of honey color to almost white (like in Bath and Bristol area).

I had been dying to go on a road trip and see these notorious little villages with funny names filled with pretty stone cottages. First thing, convince boyfriend (check). Second, see if the pup can join (check). Not surprisingly, the English countryside is very fond of dogs. They are even allowed in fancy restaurants! My. Kind. Of. People. Gryffindor is so good in the car too, all bundled up in his cable knit sweater. Next up, I had to formulate a little road map. I booked an inn (yeah, I know, an inn…so cute) in Charlbury. I wanted to see the infamous Bibury, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Upper Slaughter, and Bourton-on-the-Water with its ducks and stone bridges. I made a map and off we went.
All the excitement really hit when we went to get in...on the wrong side of the car. Then, drove on the wrong side of the road. I might look happy in this photo but every time boyfriend would round a corner on the narrow country roads right next to a stone fence – yeah, I backseat drove in the front seat and held onto Gryf for dear life.

We had tea in Bourton-on-the-water and a nice walk in Upper Slaughter. Bibury was my favorite for the architecture (and trout, yum) but they each offer a little something different. I especially love the tiny ones. I can’t figure out who exactly lives at these places but when you see nothing but warm yellow stone and a bright red phone booth on the side of a country road, it melts your heart. The Cotswolds is perfect for a romantic getaway. It’s quiet and the people are lovely. Don't forget the scones with clotted cream! You can't even ship or save clotted cream, which seems to make it all the more special.

In Charlbury, our inn was just up the lane from the claimant for the oldest pub in the area, the Bull Inn, and just down the lane from a small church and graveyard. It reminded me soooo much of how I pictured the graveyard in Godric’s Hollow when Harry and Hermione walk the gravestones looking for his parents. I’m not sure why they chose 14th century wood homes for the films, I would absolutely have went with stone cottages. Silly producers.
PS: I love how the roads are lines with stone fencing. Who built all this, I wonder? It just goes on and on snaking through the countryside.

I have a story to tell. But, let me preface it with the fact  that boyfriend and I had had champagne and several pints beforehand. So, it was maybe midnight and we were just leaving the Bull to head to our inn when we decided to stroll down to the graveyard. It looked really spooky with one light shining just near the ancient gravestones. We were standing at the gate silently daring one another to go through first when boyfriend decided to take a photo of the large tree. This tree is huge! He holds up his phone camera and in the screen there’s a floating bluish white light about the size of a quarter hanging near that low branch (the one that's so inviting to sit on...well, it was)…

The home of the light that chased us out
Charlbury, Cotswolds
Weird thing, yes, but whatever, take the photo, move on. Then it starts moving closer to us on the screen! It's dead silent, there is no one else outside or around and we are. not. moving. But, the light is. Completely spooked, I said no way and headed back up the street. Half way up boyfriend turned and there again, in his screen, the light. It followed us up the lane! It was about 4 feet away. It didn't help that this whole time Gryffindor was pulling his lead away and away. He sensed something bad in that graveyard, I swear it. Here is when Gryffindor and I run, straight to the inn, into the hall, through two doors, then our room. Boyfriend is laughing but running just the same. Luckily, the light didn’t follow. STILL. To this day, when we see the photographs of that light, we both get freaked out. then giggle, then get silent again. You know, I don’t not believe in spirits and energy that can move other energy. Whatever that light was, it sure chased us off. Yeah, goosebumps. Goosebumps, my friends.

Gryffindor in the car and later listening to the chatter of the Brits in the pub

Our first taste of clotted cream came with some lovely British humour

Constantly swooning over the loveliness

I would so recommend anyone to visit this region of England. Have tea, go for a dreary walk in the bright green grass, shop for handmade trinkets, and enjoy the blissful silence of little brooks and yellow houses. You’ll love it!