Cotswolds

The second half of our holiday we spent wandering around Gloucester and the Cotswolds.

wpid-20150728_174522.jpg

The area is at least as beautiful as Wales, though it’s a lot busier. Every valley hides another lovely town or village, though.

image

Wonderful medieval market towns that used to earn their money with wool. The town names amuse me so much, they almost seem like a parody of the British countryside.

image

Small passages between the tilting houses.

image

And more gorgeous churches…

wpid-20150726_121144.jpg

Apparently the Romans quite enjoyed this region too. The limestone bedrock apparently creates a rare sort of grassland in the UK, which is probably the reason why this region has become so rich in the past. Also probably explains the flourishing medieval wool trade. Okay, true, as a Roman the weather here would desperately disappoint me, but then the fertility of the area and the outstanding natural beauty would probably make up for a lot of that.

It was fascinating to look into the past of the wool trade. We visited the so-called ‘wool churches’ (very rich churches that were paid for with the money earned in the wool trade), wool mills and of course shops! One place we really enjoyed was the Cotswold Woollen Weavers. This combination of shops, studios, museum and artizan community was very inspiring.

wpid-20150726_161443.jpg

The gorgeous clothes were a little bit out of our price range, though….

wpid-20150725_152423.jpg

We also visited Cooper’s Hill, where the annual cheese rolling takes place. A couple of years ago the husband decided to live up to his heritage and flung himself off this ridiculously steep hill amongst a bunch of idiot men. Managed to get down without breaking himself too badly, which is lucky for me. It must be one of those things the male gender does to weed out the silliest genes in their midst….

wpid-20150725_152435.jpg

Also pretty bees!

Oh and last but not least – we went to a lot of pubs. Did I gush about pubs already? Pubs are awesome. Seriously, why does this never take off in the Netherlands? The food, the cider, the atmosphere, the fact that in the best pubs your dog is more welcome than you… Oh man, pubs are the epitome of gezellig. Which is probably why we don’t have them *innocent grin*

wpid-20150729_133731.jpg

Look ancient medieval pub with ceilings lower than we were tall! So pretty.

Now I want to go back…

Wandering about Wales and England

wpid-20150719_150956.jpg

This summer husband, dog and I went off to the United Kingdom. My brother in law got married in Pembrokeshire, which is of course a very good reason to wander about Wales and England and photograph all the beautiful views in sight.

I am so in love with the British coastline. Seriously. Rocks and sea and wind and birds and sun (and rain, but shh). It’s all so ridiculously gorgeous. Add to that the rolling hills, lovely walls and hedges and beautiful buildings, and you can add me to the list of people who want to marry the UK. (There must be a list of people who want to marry the UK. Right?)

Okay, so yes, I do love the Netherlands. Very, very much. Our landscape is beautiful and varied and lovely. But. The UK has hills. And rocks. And did I mention the coastline? (though to be fair, I also love our Dutch broad, sandy beaches and dunes).

So anyway, I need to show you these pictures. Because it was so beautiful. I know you understand.

wpid-20150719_150747.jpg

The first week we were camping out on the peninsula near Dale and Marloes. As you can see, we had some pretty good summer weather that first week! When the sun was out, temperatures rose to around 25 degrees Celsius. Of course when it was raining, temperatures quickly dropped. But oh well, you know that when you plan your trip. And really I don’t mind the weather at all – us Dutchies are used to rain, and I fare pretty well in temperatures around 20 degrees.

So anyway, you can imagine we had to take a lot of walks. These pictures were taken at St. Annes Head.

wpid-20150719_150614.jpg wpid-20150719_151757.jpg

The rocks show off their volcanic origins.

wpid-20150719_150854.jpg wpid-20150719_150400.jpg

Isn’t that just gorgeous?

We also went to visit St. Brides, which is the place I want to live. Just look at this!

wpid-20150720_173915.jpg

That must be the best place for a house ever.

wpid-20150720_181542.jpg wpid-20150720_180555.jpg

Pretty church is pretty.

wpid-20150720_174501.jpg wpid-20150720_180030.jpg

Even the seaweed was gorgeous! How is that even possible?

wpid-20150720_183029.jpg

This epitaph amused me muchly *grin*

wpid-20150720_174246.jpg

Kim was definitely enjoying the waves.

wpid-20150720_180957.jpg

Swoon.

wpid-20150720_131421.jpg

We also went on a trip to Skomer Island, which was literally awesome. You get there on a very small boat. Boats are cool anyway, especially on sea. (Not quite sure why I’m not a sailor.) This trip was made infinitely more fantastic though by the appearance of dolphins. Yes, dolphins! When we were out on see, we saw gannets diving for fish. An impressive sight by itself, the way they simply let themselves drop straight down, headfirst, like a spear into the water, coming up with fish more often than not. Turns out gannets are often accompanying shoals of predatory fish (or sea mammals). And yes, not much later we saw dolphins literally jumping up around the boat. They apparently enjoyed the backwash of the prow. Some were right underneath the bow, others were a bit further off. They joined us for a good while before they left. As said, it was literally awe inspiring.

Of course, Skomer is wonderful all by itself. It’s a nature reserve where many sea birds breed, with the puffin as the most famous.

wpid-20150720_101949.jpg

A lovely tourguide showed us around the island and told us a lot about the birds and the history of Skomer. We pretty much decided we have to move to such an island at some point in our future *grin*

wpid-20150720_125608.jpg wpid-20150720_130005.jpg

Of course, with all this beautiful nature, it’s easy to forget how lovely and quaint the little towns around here are. They’re quite touristy for the area, but since they’re so far out of the way it’s not very touristy at all. And it’s so pretty!

This is Little Haven:

wpid-20150719_172521.jpg

Isn’t that just gorgeous? They also sell fantastic cakes here *grin*

wpid-20150719_172937.jpg

Later on we took another walk around Marloes, hiking around the very edge of the world (well, at least until you reach Ireland). wpid-20150723_140049.jpg

Wide skies, wide fields, wide seas….

wpid-20150723_170601.jpg

wpid-20150723_150159.jpg

Kim was definitely enjoying this trip.

I think I’ve proven by now that Wales is simply beautiful. A good moment to stop this post, because the other half of our trip was spent in the Cotswolds, also an immensely beautiful place, and I certainly wouldn’t want to claim either of those places was more beautiful than the other.

(Although Wales has the sea, which I do think adds something that the interior simply can’t compete with).

Can’t think of a clever pun to end with, so have another picture.

wpid-20150723_140744.jpg

(I bet you’re planning your trip to the UK right now!)