Ever since we moved to the Netherlands three years ago, I've wanted to do a proper holiday in England. Last year I went to London for a day and a half, and we spent a week in Manchester where Dan had a conference, but I wanted MORE. And in July, it finally happened.
We started our trip in Eastbourne, along the southern coast (think white cliffs of Dover, but West of Dover). And technically we started our trip at Gatwick Airport, south of London, but were soon in Eastbourne.
Here we spent two days. On the first day, we traveled to Pevensey Castle--which is where William the Conqueror landed, sheltered, and prepared for the battle of Hastings in 1066. What you see there now wasn't actually what William saw (there were still Roman ruins on the site at the time), but it was interesting nonetheless.
And then we tromped through the countryside back to the adjoining town. This is something so completely English that it seems really weird to Americans. If you entered someone's paddock in, say, Montana with the intention of 'cutting through' to get where you're going, someone may either call the police or shoot you. But in England, you simply close the gate behind you and try to avoid the cow pies (and the very nearby cows (or sheep or whatever)). It's really fantastic, once you get used to it.
Our second day was spent hiking along the coast, seeing some really beautiful limestone cliffs as we went, and getting pelted by rain.
In the next photo you can see the cafe where we sheltered for lunch. We came in sopping wet (I had never stuck my face under a bathroom hand blow dryer before that day. Oh the warmth was beautiful.) and demanding soup. We chatted to the locals behind the counter about the weather and they assured us that this was a pretty normal day, that it wasn't bad weather until the sand on the beach (a good few stories below) started blowing up and hitting the windows. Our soaked selves suddenly appreciated not being there on a 'bad' day.
A good view of some of the Seven Sisters, seven hills just west of where we ate lunch.
And I'm going to leave you with one last photo. I don't normally take photos of my hotel room, but this one had a most interesting curtain. I'm pretty sure Sully (the big blue one) from Monsters Inc. got into some shady business dealings with a mobster in Eastbourne and got skinned for his troubles. Not sure how he ended up a curtain though...maybe the mobster owned the hotel and other rooms had curtain-skins of other Monsters?