Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Visit

One of the advantages Baxter and I offer by staying in one place for a while (i.e. more than two weeks) is that we get to know it really well.  We extend invitations to family and friends who could simply take a quick flight, land and leave the rest to us.  Baxter and I line up the transportation, the hotel, and the fun-genda, as it has come to be known, essentially playing the role of a full time tour guide.  Molly's Mom and sister experienced this in Guadeloupe last January, Edd and Becca on Tour-de-Caribbean in February, and then Mary, Regina, Brent and Amado in St Maarten in March.  So we were so thrilled when Baxter's parents booked a visit at the beginning of December here in Plymouth.  

We hired a car in Plymouth and were waiting at the door at Heathrow Airport as soon as they stepped out of customs.  From then on, it was nothing but f-u-n!  Within an hour, we were driving by Stonehenge and having lunch at a British pub.  Afterwards, we made our way to Plymouth and talked about the exciting plans for the week.

We spent the next five days driving throughout southwest England including visits to Dorchester, Falmouth, and Salcombe, allowing us plenty of time to chat and catch up and experience each seaside town with its unique style and charm.  The weather was, well, true to England in December so sometimes it was sunny warm(ish) and then five mintues later raining and cold.

The days went by so fast and before we knew it, we were driving back to London with six inches of snow on the ground.  We had one last fun thing planned with them which was a tour of Highclere Castle, the estate featured in Downton Abbey.  We had watched so many episodes with Baxter's parents so it was great to see inside the castle where "Earl Grantham wrote letters from his desk", where "Matthew and Mary were engaged", to see "Sybil's bedroom", etc.  Another bonus was that the 5th Earl of Carnarvon (the family who owns Highclere) actually discovered the tomb of King Tut, along with Howard Carter.  

Many of the actual artifacts from the archaeological excavation were on display, including a stone that dated back to 4000 BC, which still had carvings that were as clear as if engraved yesterday.  Unfortunately, we couldn't take photos in the castle or the expo but it was wonderful to have the memories.  We were so fortunate the dates lined up as tours in the castle are only available on select times.  This particular event, Sing for Peace, also raised money for Syrian war refugees which has become a pivotal event in British history.  

The next morning, we sadly said goodbye and dropped Baxter's parents at the airport.  We headed back to Plymouth where the snow faded and the temperatures warmed.  We had such a great time and welcome anyone interested in joining us for their own adventure.

Baxter's Mom and Dad paying a visit to Terrapin
Falmouth Haven Marina on a breezy winter day
Big smiles after breakfast at Fuel, one of our favorite eateries in Falmouth.
Fuel goodness! Who wouldn't want to eat this tasty deliciousness?
Walking through the town of Falmouth as the snow begins - but we were prepared
St Andrews Church in Plymouth, built in 700AD
Baxter's Dad had so much fun on Terrapin, he even tried our Cat's Meow - the best sleeping bag on the planet (duct tape and all)
Kala showed Granny her favorite beaches in Falmouth
Drinks by the fire at the Duke of Cornwall hotel
Having fun at Highclere - Isn't this is where Thomas tripped Bates in Season 1?
Such a beautiful estate
Staying in London for the night offered the luxury of a bathtub.  We haven't see one of these since June in Atlanta.
Stopping at Starbucks after leaving London.  Fortunately, we didn't have this snow on Terrapin in Plymouth

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