Driving ~ to the Cotswolds

Published on 25 May 2023 at 16:26

     This.   Exact.   Spot.    I have dreamed of this exact location for years! It has been my computer wallpaper many times, and I have dreamed of standing there for so long. And it was so incredibly worth it. What a beautiful spot on this earth….

     Started our morning by picking up the rental car… the real adventure has begun. We ended up with a really nice Nissan small SUV. Always a challenge when driving any new car, that initial feeling of ‘how do I work this thing!?’ Add that feeling of figuring out a new car and multiply it by about 100! I have attempted to reach down to shift the car with my right hand about 25 times already, not to mention missed a couple of turns because I forgot you turn into them on the LEFT side. OY Vey! In reality, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought. It definitely isn’t something that should keep a person from driving here. It has gotten progressively easier as the day goes by, but I will tell you, you don’t want to get too comfortable - because those old habits are burned in deep. I will also not gloss over the fact that Cody and I had a few arguments about it already. We tried to make a pact before the trip to not yell/scream orders out. However, exclamations of:  ‘The curb, the curb!!’ ‘There’s a car there! Turn RIGHT stay LEFT!’ O M G!  After 7 days of constant together time mixed in with a lot of exhaustion ~ it was bound to happen. I usually get a bit tense and grumpy even when I am driving in a strange place in my own country. I think not knowing where you are headed always creates a lot of tension, and add into the fact everything is on the opposite side - arguments are definitely going to happen. But - once we found our stop, got out and cooled down - we had to give ourselves a restart.  My concern is Greg won’t ever travel with us again. He is not familiar with the fact that Cody and I have done this during our travels for the past 15 years. He is sitting in the back seat - trying to stay out of it, and probably his number one reason for saying “I’m not driving over there!” LOL.  Anyway, driving on the interstate is not hard at all. Driving in town and in the country, wow - everyone said the roads were narrow - but add narrow and windy and now I understand why my nephew got car sick while riding in Ireland. How do these people drive so fast on these tiny roads? We are adjusting, though - and I have to admit - it really is quite fun. An unexpected challenge. The freedom it gives us to come and go as we wish is definitely motivation enough to power on. 

     First thing as we headed out was to attempt to make a pit stop at Highclere Castle - where they film Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, we were unable to even see it from afar to take a photo - other than the very top of it. So - sorry Mom… we did get a photo of the tippy top, but that was it. From there we headed to another part of the Cotswolds and walked a bit, found a pub to eat in, and got our bearings a bit with directions to head to Bibury to see Arlington Row. I wish I could describe it to you in a way that you could fully appreciate. Quaint, stone cottages all in a row. A stream flowing by with trout splashing and flopping. A cool and perfect breeze blowing our hair and rustling the trees. Birds chirping a lovely song in the quiet of the country, and sheep baaing in the distance. Yes - this is exactly what I knew the English Countryside would be like. The air - smells so fresh and clean. The temperature was a perfect 70 degrees, sun shining, just enough breeze to keep you comfortable, and sun to keep you from getting too cool. Quiet. Peaceful. Perfect. 

     We stopped off at a grocery store before heading to our cottage and stocked up on some food to make dinner and breakfast. Dinner in was glorious as we looked out at the open field behind our cottage - covered with grasses, yellow flowers, trees, sheep in the distance, and nothing but wide open country. We even had a pheasant visit to add a touch of wildlife. It feels glorious to be in a homey environment - with separate rooms, and space to spread out. Quiet and relaxing downtime. Just what we needed. 

     Tomorrow - we decided on no alarm. Then, we will either go to Stratford Upon Avon (birthplace of Shakespeare) or the Upper/Lower Slaughters for more quaintness, and some lovely country walks with sheep, birds, breezes, and fresh air. Or - perhaps both. We shall see - as this cottage is everything I dreamed of, and spending time here is in itself a dream come true. 

     With that, we will call it a night, and settle in for a long spring nap. 

     Love to all ~


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