Adventures in the UK!
After 10 years of marriage and 2 kids, my husband and I took our first-ever trip without the kids! We’ve been away a night here and there, but never a full-fledged trip! We lined up my parents to take care of the kids and the animals, and headed off on our own adult adventure!
My husband is originally from the north of England near Liverpool and still has a sister, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews who live there. So, we went over to stay with them for a week.
Leaving the kids was torture. They were crying and clinging to me, shouting “I don’t want you to go Mommy!” I of course was a mess, too! However, I knew they would be fine as soon as we were gone, and it was good for us all!
Our plane left Halifax for Heathrow, England on the overnight flight on Tuesday. We transferred flights to Manchester where we were picked up by our brother-in-law, Paul who became our amazing chauffeur for the week.
On Thursday we headed to Liverpool for the day. David is from the Wirral peninsula which is across the Mersey River from Liverpool, so as the song by Gerry and the Pacemakers goes, we literally took “the Ferry Cross the Mersey”.
We spent the afternoon at the Maritime Museum, focusing on the Slavery exhibition. Liverpool was grown on much of the wealth gained from the slave trade. Paul then gave us an in-depth tour of Liverpool along Hope Street from the Anglican Cathedral to the Catholic one.
As all good Brits do, we stopped for a pint along the way at was called the most elaborately decorated pubs with crystal chandeliers everywhere!
No visit to Liverpool is complete without some mention of the Beatles! We walked down Matthew Street which was home to the Cavern – the place where the Beatles first performed. Unfortunately, it was torn down, but there is a sign to indicate its location.
We topped the evening off with what I was most looking forward to – a ghost walk! Shipverpool Ghost walks gave us an amazing tour around the city which was full of dramatic stories of ghosts, the plague and murder. Unfortunately, a teenage hoodlum began to cause problems for the tour guide and became rather threatening. As a retired assistant chief constable in the police, we felt safe with Paul there, but still had to cancel the rest of the tour for the safety of everyone. It was a ghost walk that no one will forget!
The next day we headed to North Wales where Elenora and Paul have a weekend home that they converted from an old chapel. Along the route, we stopped in a tiny café that was used in the filming of the original Dr. Who TV show! The whole area is rocky mountains, so that too, was used as part of the show as another planet!
I have been to Wales several times, but this time I really fell in love with the place. Northern Wales is full of rolling mountains, vast fields, quaint villages and of course, sheep!
On Saturday, we took the local bus to the town of Caernarfon and visited the castle which was built by Edward I in the 1200s. There were countless nooks and crannies and stairwells to explore – all offering incredible views.
The second thing on my list to do on our trip (the first being the ghost walk) was a train ride through the Snowdonia National Park. This line was repaired and re-opened only a few years ago with steam trains imported from South Africa. The train wove in and around the mountainsides offering stunning views of the landscape. This was a definite trip highlight!
The rest of the weekend, we did countless hikes in the Welsh rainforests and to the site of an old gold mine (the gold from here was used to make Queen Elizabeth’s wedding ring!) We also visited a Welsh church from the 1100s – possibly one of the oldest in Britain.
We also had a traditional Sunday dinner including Yorkshire pudding, roast beef, lamb, and of course mushy peas!
On our way back to England on Monday, we stopped in the historic town of Chester. I had been here almost 25 years ago with our choir and had sung in the Cathedral, but did not remember much of our visit.
On our first stop, we checked off another item on my list – scones with jam and cream! You can’t come to England without indulging at least once!
We spent the afternoon walking around the ancient walls – many parts of which date back to Roman times. We saw Roman baths which had recently been excavated, toured the Cathedral, and had a great view of the city.
It was so nice to get up when we wanted and to eat when we wanted, and only have ourselves to look after!
A few things are for sure though – it’s definitely a trip that we could take the boys on the next time. We have already started planning for it, too! We are also talking about a six month sabbatical in North Wales, as well!
Overall, it was so great to get away, even if only for a week! We owe so much thanks to all our family who took such great care of us, and introduced us to some of the best chocolate ever!
Here’s to our next adventure! The kids are already asking when we can go away again and they can stay with Nana and Grandad!