Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Eurotrip Days 11 & 12: the English Seaside and Biking South Suffolk

I am still determined to post about the rest of this trip I took to Europe. I can't believe I got home two months ago and I'm still not done! Life has been so busy that I can't even explain it all! There are literally so many posts spinning around in my head that I want to write, but finding the time is quite a problem. I want to write about everything from my company's new building to camping trips to days out doing random stuff..and now the holidays are coming and I want to write about that too! I have so many pictures to share as well...I need to get on it!

So...without further ado, the second to last post about Europe!

Tuesday (Day 11)
Leaving Hannah's is never easy, but leaving her to see family made it slightly easier ;)

To get to my cousin's I had to take the train into London from Grays, and then back out again on a different line to my cousin's. I also had to find my way from Fenchurch Street station to Liverpool Street, and I completely lucked out...somehow my GPS and Google Maps worked even though I didn't have my data turned on! I'm not even kidding...I was blown away that I could still use it!

While I meandered through London, I stumbled across this super cool building too!
The Gherkin!

Getting up close to this building was on my bucket list! Check!


Catching up on some note taking.

I loved this bike rack at the would be so cool to see something like this at my office, full of bikes! I hope to be a cycling commuter some day!
My train journey took me to Audley End - the nearest station to Saffron Walden where my cousin Katie lives. She picked me up at the station (I swear, I'm always so happy to see her that I almost cried), and took me 'home'. Really, hers is another house where I feel completely relaxed and at home, and I love staying with her!

I was very excited as well, because the weather was stunning and we (Katie, her boyfriend Matt, and I) decided a beach day was in order. After some breakfast and a trip to the shops, we piled into the car and started on our way to Aldeburgh, a seaside town in Suffolk.
All the places I visited are on this map. Just for kicks I put a red dot at Grays, where Hannah lives. And I spend my last day with my aunt in Harlow, just a few clicks south of Saffron Walden.
I wish I could say the drive out was uneventful, but there was an accident and a huge slowdown on one of the roads and we ended up sitting in traffic - literally not moving at all - for nearly half an hour. And I realllly had to pee!

We finally got out of traffic, stopped at a petrol station (for petrol and potties) and then continued on our way, arriving with enough time to have some lunch, bathe in the sea, and make the walk to Thorpeness (next town north) and back.

Per the usual with my trip, I have lots of photos. My phone never rested!

It all looks so English and seasidey!!

Because why not just have sailboats sitting around?

This dog looked like Nigel's twin, only blonder!

Had to snag a selfie with my cuz!

Ohhh rock beaches...

Funny story...the sun was out ALL DAY and then we got to the beach. Oh England... -_-

Artistic and stuff.

I kept this rock.

I was lucky enough to get to use one of the boys' Bart Simpson towel...that you can wear.

Trying not to bust a gut laughing.

I feel like these multicolor houses define every English seaside town I've been to!

The trek to Thorpeness! (You can see the town in the distance, a bit to the right of the path.)

Apparently I like to take pictures of other people's dogs.

He was so cute!
We got to Thorpeness and found this Peter Pan lake to sit down next to and relax for a bit. We didn't stay long since everything had already closed, but it was fun to see the swans and cygnets!

Feathers everywhere.

Peter Pan lake (I'm positive that it's not actually called that).

Katie breaking the rules for a cute picture.

Another selfie, this time with the sea in view as we walked back to Aldeburgh!

I love this picture...

Fun fact: They used to burn 'witches' outside this church.

Walking back into town to find some fish and chips!! (Katie and Matt taking the lead!)

While Matt queued for fish and chips, Katie and I found a pub to grab a pint. This is definitely a traditional English pub, complete with outdated booth fabric and everything! I love pubs like this :)

I don't drink beer, so it was cider for me :)

Matt prevailed for us, and came back with plenty of fish and chips, which we sat by the sea to eat. The sun had gone down, the moon was out, and it was the perfect way to end a warm, active day at the seaside.

(Naturally) I fell asleep on the drive home. I'm not a person who excels at staying up late, especially in cars during long drives. But it was all for the best, because the following day we were planning a nice bike ride!

Wednesday (Day 12)
I don't have many pictures from Wednesday because we were more focused on riding! I'd brought my tri shorts with me because I figured I'd be riding in Germany (note that I did not, haha), but they came in use in England! It turns out Matt is really into cycling, and Katie has picked up interest as well. He happened to have an extra bicycle that I could use - it was a tad too big for me (the frame was both a little high and a little long), but for a short ride through South Suffolk it did the trick!

I was the first one up on Wednesday, had some tea and did some blogging, then hung out while Matt and Katie got up. When the time came we loaded up the car, then popped into town for a few a new helmet for Matt (though he let me use it for this ride, and he used his old one).

Everything just fit, including us!
We drove about an hour away...apparently we started somewhere called Edwardstone, rode to Stoke-by-Nayland, and then back to Edwardstone:

Unlike our beach day the day before, it was hot for our ride. And aside from a foresty area we went through, it was mostly farmland (=sun). Now, it wasn't as hot as a majority of the riding I did during the summer (averaging 90 + humidity), but the temperature crept near 80 and for England it was humid.

Notes on cycling somewhere with completely different 'Rules of the Road': Our average speed wasn't super fast, but I was kind of grateful since I was on a bike I wasn't familiar with and riding on the 'wrong' side of the road. I told Matt he had to take the lead otherwise I'd end up turning into the wrong lane and kill myself. We had a few close calls on extremely narrow roads with vans and SUVs, but for the most part we had the roads and trails to ourselves. There were a few times that I wanted to 'open up' on Matt's road bike and see how fast I could go, but it's probably way better that I didn't!

We stopped for a light lunch (some delicious marrow soup and salad with homemade bread for me!) and then made our way back to the car so we could get home in time for Katie to get to work.

When we got back to the car I snagged this picture with Katie so I'd have at least something to show for the day!

It took us a while to get home because of construction in Saffron Walden, but we got some shopping done and made it home with enough time for Katie to take a nap before her nightshift, for me to pack up my stuff, and for Matt to make some super-delicious fish pie for dinner!

Before Katie went to work we hung out at a park for a while, then Matt and I headed back and decided to watch a movie (for those interested, we watched Waffle Street).

After that it was off to bed for me, using the time difference to catch up with Anthony (and I didn't need the time difference to catch up with Hannah, but I did that anyways :P).

The following day was going to be my last full day in England...(so stay tuned and maybe I'll post about that in like another month)


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