Saturday, July 19, 2008

England and other places

I have left a number of things out of my descriptions of the trip. For example, the night we spent in Marseilles before flying to England for the weekend. I always hate the cities we go to after our walks in the countryside. Marseilles was no exception. I'd like to revisit it someday, when I am able to appreciate city life.

We flew to England for a long weekend of family visits before returning home. From a month of sunny mid 80s to mid 90s weather, we landed in rain and 60 degrees. Then, for reasons too boring to mention, it took us many hours to get to Birmingham from London. The travel time from Marseilles to our hotel was 12 hours. Longer than it took us to get from Birmingham to home.

Spent a happy hour in an English bookstore, surrounded by books in English. I had been reading only in French for 2 months and I cannot describe how wonderful it felt to find books I could read easily and quickly.

Spent all the rest of the time visiting various family members. It was great to see everyone and I enjoyed every single minute of the visits. We took almost no pictures, but here is one from our hotel room window, in King's Coughton, near Coughton Court, a National Trust property with associations with the Gunpowder plot, and other events of Catholic/Protestant reformation history in England.

It's worth mentioning that in this idyllic location out in the countryside there were bars on the windows of our room and signs all over telling you not to leave valuables in your car. England has changed so much in the nearly 40 years I've known it. There's so much thuggery and violence there now.

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