After a flight and train ride I made it to Cirencester, England where my friend Dave picked me up and we headed to his childhood friend James’ place in the Cottswolds. James’ family had bought a giant lakeside property many years ago that they developed and built 6 vacation rental cabins on. They now rent them out year round and live and work on the grounds. It’s a gorgeous little oasis and is such a quiet place to get away from the city. That evening the boys, and James’ girlfriend Sophie, showed me around the property before we had a nice homemade dinner and some wine. We relaxed on the patio over looking the lake, took the paddle boards out on the still water, and even had a sauna. I was in heaven.
In the morning we went for a walk and had tea across the bridge on the little island in the lake they call Friday Island. It was one of the most peaceful mornings I’ve had in a while. We then went into town to grab some lunch before the 2 hour drive down to Bournemouth (Which is on the Southern coast of England). That night we had dinner at this nice place in the harbor and when we got back I got to meet his two roommates, George and Tom. The 3 of them are all doing their residency at the same hospital in Bournemouth. These 3 are a really fun bunch and throughout the week I got to meet a few of their other coworkers from the hospital as they came in and out. They would all come home at different hours, from working long days, and just want to unwind with a pizza and bottle of wine or some whiskey, and a little hospital gossip. I would laugh at how I felt like I was on a doctor television show with them working so much, and here I was, the freeloader just posting up for the week. It was so funny. Between that, the comfy couch, and my dose of British reality television, (Made in Chelsea) I was so happy. It was nice to just veg out for a few days. I was even happy to cook dinner, do dishes, and even laundry. Sometimes just a dose of normalcy after being on the go so much is so nice. The guys were so hospitable too and didn’t mind me sprawling the contents of my big bag everywhere either.
Luckily, Dave had the next few days I was there off and we got to go out and explore a bit. He had just moved there a couple months back but hadn’t really got to check out he area much because they had been so busy. So we decided to go for a drive up to New Forest where we hiked and ended up at a traditional English pub. It was so funny because on the trail map it showed you all the trails you could take and where the pubs were along the way…Because I mean why hike if there isn’t a beer in it at the end right? Haha. That night in order to thank the guys for letting me stay I decided I wanted to make them some salsa and Mexican food. Unfortunately the supermarkets in the UK aren’t Mexican food friendly and half the ingredients were missing. They didn’t have any corn tortillas, no jalapeños, (or anything really spicy for that matter) no pinto beans, and I also learned (after being laughed at and looking forever) that the English word for cilantro is ‘coriander’ haha! So dinner turned into more of chicken burritos with salsa and kidney beans… Kind of a fail. But regardless they are typical guys and ate it all regardless. That night George offered to be in charge of dessert and said he would make a pumpkin pie. Having never had or made a pumpkin pie he came home with an actual pumpkin and all the ingredients to make it from scratch… Hahah. And he really sat there and cut up the pumpkin, steamed it, smashed it and strained it. It took forever haha! But it turned out delicious and we applauded his efforts. The little Jamie Oliver wannabe chef even made us a giant lamb roast come Sunday as well with potatoes and veggies and the works. I was definitely spoiled that week and did not go hungry!
Throughout the weekend I got to go to my first rugby game and we went out for drinks in town in the typical UK pouring rain. We also took a day and drove up to Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic coast. Everything was gorgeous here and so postcard worthy between the thatched huts and windy but beautiful coastline. I was having so much fun! But unfortunately, Monday came way to fast, and everyone had to head back to work. I wasn’t with other backpackers anymore, I was with normal people, leading normal lives, and I had forgotten how quickly the weekends fly by.
The next day I hopped on a train back to the city and caught a flight to Budapest to meet back up with the girls. I was bummed to have to leave and was going to miss the English accents and my new mates. But there was definitely more of the countryside I wanted to check out so I guess that just means I’ll have to come back and visit right? Haha later UK. Last stop in Europe, Budapest!