My time in England so far has been quite an adventure!
After leaving LAX at 10pm on Monday, May 19th, I arrived in London at about 4:00pm, and had quite the transportation adventure right off the bat. I was a bit disoriented after sleeping about 9.5-hours of the 10.5-hour flight. My first stop was to go through customs and I had absolutely the rudest agent I’ve ever experienced, who asked me the most outrageous questions (like who was funding this trip I’m on and how much money I had in my savings to do so.. and more!) and he felt very accusatory even though I had answers for every question, except that I didn’t have every detail of my flight and rail plans printed out to show him… It was weird. Has anyone else experienced a bad customs agent? I mean I’ve certainly had many grumpy ones, but never rude to the point of feeling attacked. Well he let me go but first said that I should have everything available for future reference because everyone in Europe will for that information. So I went on my way, picked up my luggage and made my way to Paddington station via the Heathrow Express, then to the Bakerloo underground line, and then found the train which took me out to the countryside, where my dad’s friend (whose family I’m staying with for the week) picked me up at the Etchingham station. We then drove (on the wrong side of the road! heehee) all the way out to their beautiful estate! They took me on a tour of their home, which is an old farm style house, with beautiful gardens, including a vegetable garden, greenhouse, and 15 acres of land surrounding the entire house. There is also a river, where they catch fish, and they have 2 dogs, a few ponies, and chickens! Typical beauty you would expect in the English countryside. See photos
After a light dinner, and some celebratory champagne, I made sure to get to bed by 11pm so my sleep schedule would get on track as soon as possible. But the sleep aid I took didn’t quite do it’s job and I woke up at 5am and luckily was eventually able to fall asleep, but then couldn’t get out of bed until after 11am! My first day started off lazily, but it was nice to rest and not worry about doing anything. I had a late breakfast/lunch, and then Amanda (the mom) and I went to do a bit of sightseeing and then go visit her daughter and granddaughter. We stopped in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells to walk through an adorable little shopping area, Pantiles, but I guess on Wednesdays a lot of shops close, and it was a bit chilly out today so there weren’t many people. But the buildings were still beautiful to look at. There was an extremely old building/landmark, a well, originating in 1606 that is supposed to have healing effects, but it was closed for repairs. Then we drove on to Tonbridge, to their daughter’s flat. The 2.5-year old was a bundle of energy and of course we immediately became best friends. We spent time visiting and playing outside in the garden, and then enjoyed some GLUTEN FREE banana bread and tea! Yep, the family eats gluten free also, well actually the daughter tries to stick to a paleo diet, but enjoys gluten free pastries if she does eat them. Then we headed back to the house, about 25 minutes away. I spent some time catching up on emails and such, and then decided to go on a walk and take some photos of the house, which is so beautiful and photogenic!
Excited to see what adventures will come next!