Romancing Castles in England

There is no place like home but in order to say that, one must venture out on a wonderful vacation. For the past two weeks, hubby and I were in England and The Netherlands celebrating our Silver Anniversary. It is hard to believe I walked down the aisle 25 years ago. In all that time, we have moved countries, traveled, and nurtured two kids who are now young adults. It was not always smooth sailing but I am very happy and thankful to say we have many, many wonderful memories together.

Romancing Castles in England

Today, I am sharing pictures of England with another post to follow on The Netherlands. Some of you who are fans on Facebook may have seen a few pictures I posted while we were out there. Thanks for following and keeping us company on our vacation. The ones I am posting today are mostly new.

Romancing Castles in England

I am blessed to have a dear childhood friend living in England whom I get to visit every couple of years or so. This gives me opportunities to experience the quaint English neighborhoods. Notice the neatly trimmed age old hedges above and the cropped bushes below. Reminds me of childhood stories about English gardens.

Romancing Castles in England

Morning or afternoon walks in the woods are highly recommended. Made me think of Watership Down, Robin Hood, and Sherwood Forest.

Romancing Castles in England

Can anything be more English than grilled kippers, baked beans, and scrambled eggs accompanied by marmalade or Marmite on toast and a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea for breakfast? Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Romancing Castles in England

After that hearty breakfast, we were ready to romance some castles and manors. When I was growing up, many of our story books were filled with images of English lords, ladies, castles, and manors. Those books were fun to read as they portrayed fairy tale lives so totally different from the daily realities in the tropics. It was all so foreign and fascinating. Some were even romantic. I never thought back then that someday I would get to visit. Perhaps the recent success of Downton Abbey on television may have rekindled some of that old fascination with these places.

This is The Vyne Estate in Hampshire, a Tudor house complete with its own chapel. We spent several hours exploring the house and grounds and hearing tales spanning centuries while walking in the footsteps of Henry VIII and Jane Austen.

Romancing Castles in England

My gracious host had everything planned. While we were out and about, the meats were marinating in the refrigerator for a barbecue and relaxing evening at home. We had chicken, pork, sausages, salads, wine, and beer.

Romancing Castles in England

Cheese and crackers are usually eaten after a meal as part of dessert. The cheese with the blue vein is Shropshire Blue, a soft cheese with a sharp strong flavor. The one in front is Wensleydale with cranberries and the other one is brie.

I would like to take a moment here to thank my dearest friend and family for their most gracious hospitality. Hopefully, I will see them again in a couple of years.

Romancing Castles in England

The next morning, armed with a GPS (Global Positioning System), hubby and I set out to visit Highclere Castle, the film location for Downton Abbey. This castle is still partly lived in today by the current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. It was fun to be in the rooms seen in the television series. The visit took a good part of the day and we had lunch “downstairs” in the tearoom. No pictures, eating, or drinking were allowed “upstairs”.

Romancing Castles in England

We spent the evening in Reading by the River Thames.

Romancing Castles in England

Dinner that evening was delicious and spicy Indian, Nepali food.

Romancing Castles in England

The following day, I took the train up to the university city of Oxford to meet up with a fellow blogger and friend.

Romancing Castles in England

It was wonderful to finally meet up with the lovely and talented Ruby, a freelance photographer and writer of Lens and Letter. Some of you may remember Ruby from Honest Cooking. We awaited the birth of the future king of England at The Grand Cafe in Oxford. It was then 2 hours shy of HRH’s birth and so we decided on the High Tea instead of the Grand High Tea which came with a glass of champagne. Many thanks to Ruby for the delightful tea and a very enjoyable afternoon.

Romancing Castles in England

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8-)

Biren