Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn Holiday

The summer went by really quickly and we haven’t traveled anywhere or did anything worth mentioning. And as the days started growing colder and shorter we decided to have a break and to explore English countryside. The initial plan to visit the New Forest fell through, as we couldn’t find accommodation due to some event taken place in the area. A brief discussion established that I mostly wanted to see open fields (after years of living in London, surrounded by houses in all directions, I was starting to develop a mild case of claustrophobia), my husband wouldn’t mind visiting a castle, Katya wanted to go on the old train or visit a farm and none of us wanted to go very far. There are not that many castles in the South East England and soon we had our new destination - Bodiam Castle.

Drawing of Bodiam Castle
Katya was so impressed by the castle (I think it may be the first real one she saw) that she produced this drawing of it and castles are now added to her list of the most fascinating things, which includes trains, birds (specially penguins, ducks & chickens) and dinosaurs.

At Tenterden station
The great advantage of Bodiam was that to get there we could travel part of the way by Kent & East Sussex railway and so another requirement was satisfied. I was joking for the last few months that we should set ourselves a mission to visit all the old railways in England and at Tenterden station we found a tourist brochure, which list them, so our railway mission could become more than a joke.

The next day we visited two other National Trust properties: Sissinghurst Castle and Bateman’s, home of Rudyard Kipling. If you know about my addiction to the printed word you’ll probably also know that I’m unable to resist visiting the places where writes & poets lived, worked and created.

It was cold, grey and drizzly day; Katya was getting tired of looking at the old houses and somehow we agreed to drive towards the sea and ended up in Hastings. I discovered that my child loves the sea, her face lights up when she sees it, she wants to run around and play and laugh.
The sight of the grey clouds and the waves, the feel of the wind and the rain on my skin brought back memories of my family ending up on the beach in all sorts of weather in the first few years after we arrived to Australia. And in some way I like being at the beach more and feel more connected to the sea on the grey days full of movement and empty of people.

In the best tradition of my family we bought some fish & chips to eat sitting on the ground scanning the horizons for the clouds threatening stronger rain.

On the last day we drove to Rye just because there is another one close to Melbourne, in which I holidayed few times with my parents, and I love visiting English towns that gave their names to the Australian ones. The highlights of the day there were seeing another castle and eating at the Mermaid Inn, which proudly boasts about being rebuild in 1420.

The Mermaid Inn
As usual there are more photos are on Flickr.