Friday, March 18, 2011

England: Part 1

So I've had the most dreadful week, it started out with a cold, I got sick the last days in England, and then had two papers due today and nearly slept through class, even after getting 8 hours of sleep. So here I am finally able to update all of you guys at home with the exciting adventures of Kristina Berg in England. I have so many pictures and things to explain that I have to do this in several installments, plus I want to milk my trip into several posts so you all have more to read. I've heard blog following is quite posh and I wouldn't want to gip you of the fun.

Our trip to England started early early Sunday morning, 6 am at the airport. Pulling myself out of bed at 5 am was the worst, but thank goodness Kara let me sleep over or else it would have started at 3:30 or earlier. We arrived at Heathrow at 9 in the morning and took a ride on an silly backwards bus to Paddington Station. We had lunch way too early in the morning and headed off to Devon on a scenic train ride. It was super long due to construction but the English countryside was to die for, I would recommend everyone vacation there. It's too beautiful to explain and you really just have to go see it. We stayed at the most beautiful "hotel." It was an estate in the countryside and had secret passageways and back doors. It looked onto a vineyard and farm land, it was called the Sharpham Estate. We got there in time for a delicious homemade dinner then went out to a super cute English pub. It was the local, old pub and we ended up taking over the place but it was a good first pub experience.
Any old day at Paddington Station, there were birds flying all over the place too.

Proper English tea.

Our room, it had a fabulous view and cute vintage chairs.

Pumped for England!! And cheaper coffee!

The estate's cows live in those buildings.

The vineyard (you can't see it that well but its there, a couple sheep live over there too)

The estate, nbd.

View of Totnes

Monday was a super packed day; we had homemade jam with our breakfasts and more than enough tea. We sat down to a presentation about Transition Town Totnes, a community run project trying to transition the town from heavy fossil fuel use to more sustainable town. It was pretty freaking cool, they've started their own energy company and a cool project called Transition Streets. The project encourages members of the community to get together to talk about energy issues and provide ways for everyday people to save money and become green. I was super impressed they toured us around some of there pilot project sites and  we went to a green funeral company and a cool mushroom grower guys place. Then we got to have dinner in a local pub, I got a side order of chips just to be super English. And then we ended the night at a different local pub that doubles as a brewery and I of course got a half pint of the local beer, I wasn't about to pass up that unique experience.

Deb leading us through Totnes.

Sea Salt, the cutest shop ever, like Martha's Vineyard back home. I love these/I wanted to be shopping at the Cape.

Dana, a cutie in a red telephone booth.

A tracker in a regular parking space, the usual.

The Mushroom Man!

Mushrooms growing on wood shavings in a bag.

Your everyday castle in the countryside.

Local Beer!

Tuesday was my favorite day in Devon; it started with some more homemade jam. I can't get over that stuff it was delicious and our cook made it right there and raved about how she gets together with friends to make jam. After that, we left for a hike in Dartmoor National Park; it was SOOOO beautiful. The weather was amazing, which is surprising for Western England, the ground was dry, it was sunny, and few clouds in sight. We hiked around on the moor and took a ton of pictures. And of course we had a bit of a lecture about Gaia Theory, but who could turn down a lecture looking onto a valley. There were controlled burns happening across the valley but they just added to the sights. After a couple hours outside, we traveled to the Riverford Organic Farm. On our way there, our bus hit a pole and got stuck teetering on the side of the road, we had to get out and wait for our driver to fix the situation. We nearly had heart attacks, it was a more exciting drive than we'd planned for. OH THE LUNCH WAS SO SO SO SO GOOD! The food was local and we got a pork roast, potato gratin, cauliflower bake, green bean salad, and chocolate hazelnut tarte for dessert. They don't sound as good as they were but believe me they were more than delicious and we were so so stuffed afterwards. We got a brief tour of the farm and then went back to Sharpham. We got to walk around the estate and pretty much went straight to dinner. Vegetarian chili for dinner is fabulous but I didn't need more food after that huge lunch. Anyway, the estate was fabulous, fabulous but we had to leave on Wednesday super early back to London. The views were so beautiful and I'm so glad I got to back at the end of the week.

Views from the moor, it was super super awesome! Beats class indoors!

The controlled burn.

The Riverford Field Kitchen.

Again: most amazing meal ever.

I love organic farms!

River on the estate's property.

View from the "hotel" the morning we left, I don't know why we left.

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