A castle, a cottage and a college in the countryside.
When I think of England, I think of idyllic pastoral scenes of rolling hills and green pastures dotted with wildflowers. I think of picturesque villages with Tudor-style cottages and winding country lanes. I think of having cream tea and scones in a rose garden. I think of old stone castles on top of a hill, flanked with towers and turrets. I think of misty moors, vast, lonely and haunting. I think of lush woodlands with babbling brooks and wild meadows. I think of magic and knights and mythical lands, of Arthur, Merlin and Camelot, of the merry men in Sherwood Forest. I think of England as told in the story books and fairy tales that I grew up reading.
Did England live up to my imaginings? Given that our time was very much limited and we had but a glimpse of all that England had to offer, I would still say yes, it certainly did. All it took was a couple of days out in the English countryside and that was it, I was madly in love with everything England. In fact, I would have happily spent the rest of our tour just exploring England. But since it was not to be and I wanted to pack in as many sights in a day as possible, we went on a day trip that took us around the countryside to see a medieval castle, an English village and a university town.
The English Countryside
Oxford: Christ Church College
Like all day tours with several destinations, there was a feeling of being rushed. While we did see the major sights, I kept wishing we had more time to wander around at leisure. There was so much more to see and it rather difficult to take a nice photo when we were constantly being herded. I was also very disappointed to learn that there would be no stopping at the Cotswolds, even just for a photo-op. It was a charming drive though as we passed by rows and rows of cozy cottages with thatched roofs and crawling ivy and roses, each one prettier one than the last.
Passing through the Cotswolds
|Crappy bus photos in HDR.|
But even with all the shortcomings of the tour, it could not detract from the absolute beauty of the English countryside. Oh, I knew it was going to be beautiful but seeing it firsthand was beyond breathtaking. The scenic views made even the long bus ride pleasant. I tuned out the tour guide and gazed dreamily outside the window, lost in my daydreams of roaming the countryside. I had this sudden and intense desire to move to England and live in a tiny but quaint cottage. I was utterly - and I still am - enchanted with England and since we left, I have been longing and dreaming of our return.