Well, the wind is blowing outside my window here in the grey north of Sweden in Jämtland. Showers of rain come and go and it is have-a-cup-of-tea-and-cuddle-the-cats weather. I am not complaining. Honestly.
I have just come back from a lovely holiday to England. The first visit in almost 3 years since I moved to Sweden in August 2010. This was a chance to visit friends and to show my dear Swede my home town of Bristol and to give him a tour of the Cornish coast for a blast of refreshing sea air.
We packed our bags in anticipation of an exciting trip and, of course, included a decent rain coat in our respective suitcases.
We arrived to a heatwave.
Every day we rose to unrelenting sunshine and temperatures often tipping over the 30 degree mark, much to the delight of my sun-loving, long-legged, lets-walk-all-day-or-perhaps-swim-in-the-sea-Swede. Not so much to the delight of his over-heated, unfit, sweaty and inherently much-less-cool-burning-really-easy-English-rose-skinned-girlfriend. Now I am complaining. I know.
Still, it was a fabulous holiday through the many litres of water and cups of tea breaks that the aforementioned sweaty Swenglish girl had to take. There a quite a few photos inside cafes. We needed to get out the sun and take a little drink pause (usually tea or coffee plus water.) Swede needed caffeine, girl needed rest (ok and caffeine.) Sometimes, we had to compromise so, the tall, (dark, handsome) variety of our partnership occasionally left me under cover and near a cold drink to rest. That freed him up to continue some of the adventure at a good pace. Don’t get me wrong, I did do my best and even managed a steep path to reach a breathtaking cliff view and (briefly) rejouvenating sea breeze. However, as I am still in recovery from long-term illness, I did need more rest breaks. Now I am home again, I must admit to being worn out and am again somewhat in recovery mode.
Still, on the positive side, the enforced tea breaks did allow for a sneaky stitch or two while on holiday. Though, I didn’t craft as much as I’d thought as actually being on holiday is about doing different things too. Most of the time I was offline, away from Wifi and the outside world, which is probably a good thing.
Travelling first class to Penzance from Bristol was a great, air-conditioned move on a hot day. We did the whole tour using public transport which went smoothly – as well as greenly – I suppose. Only one packed train ride and there were a couple of times a standing by a broken station lift looking up to several stairs ahead lugging heavy cases. Mind you, my Swede always did his best to help me and, luckily, complete strangers stepped in with the offer of help with carrying my case up (or down) flights of stairs as appropriate.
There was a bit of walking under the beating sun with our cases when going to and from the train stations to various destinations. We were lucky to have had help along the way and met with politeness and friendliness from those both in the service industry and the general public that made me proud to be British! Proud to be Bristolian, at that!
Swede definitely noticed some cultural differences and he even managed to subsitute some of his caffeine injections with tea during the day (as long as a double espresso hit could top him up at regular intervals.) Certainly the English cream tea was a hit for his first time, and it had been many a year since I had had the (somewhat guilty) pleasure.
The photos show highlights from our UK tour: Bristol/Bath – Penzance/Perranuthnoe – Looe/Perporro – Taunton – Bristol. I feel I should give a mention to those places we stayed or visited that I can highly recommend: Glencree Bed & Breakfast in Penzance, The Old Malt House in Looe, Blue Heaven Vintage in Looe, Cornish Wools in Perranuthnoe, Seasons Coffee House in Taunton, John Packer Ltd in Taunton (woodwind shop), The Pump Rooms in Bath, The Bridge Cafe at The Avon Gorge Hotel in Bristol.
I managed – off and on – to work on a little knitted bag, inspired by a flower motif I saw in the UK magazine, “Knitting.” I didn’t buy yarn in “Cornish Wools” but I did buy some more magazines there as it is useful to be inspired in my own language!
The little sewn flower purse photographed was given to me by a very kind lady in Looe after we had a rather nice chat in her shop one afternoon. While I was there, having just returned by bus from Perporro, Swede had taken the long and winding, up and down, undoubtedly beautiful, coastal path home instead. It would take him a good couple of hours under the blazing sun but he was blessed with those long legs, a panama hat and, significantly, he was also armed with his first Cornish pasty…
PS The title refers to “Travels With My Aunt” by Graham Greene. Well worth a read for an amusing story of vicarious travels…