I know that this blog is supposed to be about our move to Italy so some of you may not be interested in our travels. Others may be and I know some of my friends and my sister will probably like to hear about them so I am posting this first long-ish trip report. You can skip it if you are not interested of course!!
We decided to try out RyanAir, the low cost European airline and see how it is. It flies on a limited basis in and out of Perugia near us. We flew from there into Stansted (near London) Monday, March 16. And home on the following Sunday. All in all it made a good impression. Left on time, returned on time. Packed flights though so not very comfortable but for only two hours not a real problem.
I had an odd reaction to our return. Somehow, it seemed very strange to be flying back to Italy from England. It was a foreign vacation after all, and all my life our return was to Virginia. It was all wrong somehow. But now that I’m back all is back to normal. Italy is again home.
In England we had rented a National Trust cottage in East Anglea not far from the airport. It has been twelve years since we visited England! We had never been to this part of The country before. We drove from Stansted to Stoke by Nayland in Suffolk. We stopped in Great Dunmow for lunch. Then we shopped for wine and food and headed onward. We arrived about 3:30.
The cottage is called Thorington Lodge. It was very well appointed with everything one would wish for. Two bedrooms, nice bath and kitchen, living room with wood stove and TV. The cottage was attached to Thoringron Hall, the much larger big house. It was set in grounds that included a meadow full of daffodils. So pretty. The weather was cold and gray all week until Friday when it finally got sunny and warmer. Here are notes I took, what we did, where we ate, and some pictures.
Tuesday 3/17 we drove to Norwich about 60 miles away to see the Cathedral. We took a lovely tour with a nice man who was very knowledgable and interesting. We ate lunch at The Murderer’s pub. We shopped in Waitrose Supermarket for some things I wanted to take back with me that I can’t get in Italy. Then we drove to Bury St Edmund where we visited the Cathedral there (it was a cathedral kind of day!). Found an IPA festival at the Corn Market pub. They were featuring Devils Backbone IPA from Virginia. Had to have one! Dinner was at the Crown in Stoke by Nayland near the cottage. It was only OK.
Devils Backbone beer in Bury St. Edmund in the Corn Market pub.
Wednesday 3/18 we vsited Ickworth house grounds. Not much open before Easter around here. We took a nice walk. The sheep were lambing. Boy were they cute. Toured the Italian Garden around the house. Then we drove to Lavenham for lunch at the recommended Angel hotel. It was our best meal of the trip. We toured the Guildhall built in the 1300s. It is a beautiful town with more listed houses than anywhere else in the Norfolk and Suffolk area. We also visited the Airmen’s bar for a beer. This is where the British and American airmen hung during the war. This part of England is chock full of airfields from the war because it’s pretty flat and near continental Europe. We ate dinner in.
Thursday 3/19 we drove to Snape. It is said by Wikipedia that JK Rawlings named Severus Snape from this town name. Near it was Snape Maltings. I guess it was a malting factory but they are making it into an arts center, with shopping, and condos. We took about a 3 mile walk. It was cold! Afterwards we looked in the shops. There was one housewares shop where I could have gone wild had I a way to bring stuff back. Next we drove to the seashore town of Aldeburgh with lunch at the recommended Lighthouse restaurant which was good. After lunch we drove to see Sutton Hoo. It is an ancient angles and Saxon settlement and burial mounds. We ate dinner in.
Friday 3/20 we drove to Ely to see the cathedral. The drive along pretty country lanes to Clare which was written up in our book was beautiful. I should mention there are more thatch-roofed houses here than anywhere I’ve been in England. I didn’t get a picture but they had really pretty decoratively carved crowns at the roof peeks. Lunch was at the Bell in Clare. We visited the 700 year old village church which Henry VIII attended with Catherine of Aragone. Dinner was at the Angel at Stoke by Nayland. Only OK.
Saturday 3/21 left Thorington Lodge and headed for Stansted for early return flight home on Sunday. Nice trip. Missed my cats!