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England to stay with good friends

We flew via Cincinatti & had 8 hours there so we caught a bus into the city for a walk around.

We flew into Gatwick airport in England & were picked up by Gemma & Lee for a 2 week stay with them. Gem's Mum lives with them & Crystal & Luke seemed so grown up since we had last seen them & were now 16 & 14.

Our family for these couple of weeks is spread across the world. Adam is in Australia, Michael in France with my Mum & Dad & Nick & Nath stayed in Denver with Rick & Debbie Blissard!! We went for a walk to the beach ( not a nice beach but an english beach) which is just near where they live. They live in a joined house - small & typically English & very cosy!!!

Gemma had some tim off work & took us sight seeing - sometimes Luke or Crystal took a day off school & joined us.

I hadn't seen this part of England, the south coast before & it had beautiful towns & villages. I loved the oast houses which were new to me & are part of England brewing history The red brick & tile houses of Kent were built onto farmhouses & used to dry the hop crops

Canterbury was not too far way & Gemma worked here. We walked around this lovely city & walked along the wall remnants, visited the cathedral & saw the old witches ducking stool used only a few hundred of years ago. The cathedral was the country's first was built on this site in 597 AD

We went to the West Gate Museum - which was one of England's finest medieval fortified gates. With Gem & Brad there lots of laughs to be had & at nights when Lee got home from work there was even more!!!

Gem took us on lots of day trips:

I loved Rye & the ancient cinque ports villages from the 11th century. The cirque ports were part of the country's coastal defensive system. Rye used to be on the coast & was a smugglers hideout. Now the river is silted up & Rye overlooks Romney marshes and it is 2 mile from the coast . It has lots of narrow streets & half timbered houses. The Mermaid Inn was built in 1420 We stopped in a lovely cafe & has warm drinks & cake

The door ways on many of these old houses are so low & small & Brad would have to really bend over to walk in without hitting his head. People must have been way smaller then!! I love the sign I saw in a shop saying that no naughty children were allowed to enter! We walked around this lovely old part of town closed to vehicles & also Ypres Tower that was used once for a prison

Leeds Castle - this was beautiful fully restored functioning castle beautiful set on 2 islands in a lake & surrounded by 500 acres of landscaped gadders including a maze It is near Maidstone & tickets were 9 pond fifty each. It was a really interesting castle with lots of exhibits & the lovely Crystal joined us this day .

Bodiam castle was so romantic looking & totally surrounded by a moat & entry via a drawbridge. It was built in 1385 to withstand a French invasion. Unfortunately we arrived just on lock up time & could not do more than a quick look in. It looked fascinating & a great one to explore as it was partly ruined but all the external structure walls were in great condition. We got to hold the massive key that the caretaker came to lock up with. Would defiantly love to go back to explore

Dover Castle - another really interesting castle in great condition with the war tunnels & rooms used in the 2nd world war. It managed to survive both world wars & was begin in 1168 & in continuos military use until the 1980's. It looks over the channel to France just 17 miles away

These next 2 castles were on the coast & had lovely grounds we wandered on:

Deal – largest of Henry V111's coastal castles. Designed by Henry as a coastal fort to beat off the threat of 16th century invasion. Built in shape of a Tudor rose

Walmer Castle – Tudor Castle residence of Queen mother

One of the highlights was a wonderful dinner we had in small village about 30 mins away called Stodmarsh in a 200 year old traditional country pub called " The Red Lion". It was everything & more you expect in an english pub with fireplaces, nooks & crannies, great decor & of course an interesting inn keeper called Robert Whigham who was very chatty & love his alcohol!!! We ate sooo much food & it was amazing food!!!

Also loved popping into the local beachside fish & chip shops - after 4 years in the middle of the USA we had missed this!!!

Big anchor in Rye

Big anchor in Rye


Beach at Ramsgate

Beach at Ramsgate


Holding the key to Bodiam Castle

Holding the key to Bodiam Castle


Brad in Canterbury Cathedral

Brad in Canterbury Cathedral


Cincinatti

Cincinatti


Brad at Deal Castle

Brad at Deal Castle


Canterbury West Gate

Canterbury West Gate


Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle


Brad in Rye

Brad in Rye


Rye Bakery

Rye Bakery


Rye

Rye


Leeds castle

Leeds castle


Brad by low doorways in Rye

Brad by low doorways in Rye


Luke with the sign

Luke with the sign


Moat at Leeds Castle

Moat at Leeds Castle


Crystal & Gemma at Leeds Castle

Crystal & Gemma at Leeds Castle


Deal Castle

Deal Castle


Castle Gardens

Castle Gardens


Canterbury

Canterbury


Canterbury

Canterbury


Canterbury

Canterbury


Rye

Rye


Leed  Castle porticullis

Leed Castle porticullis


Smugglers Inn

Smugglers Inn


Rye

Rye


Tea break

Tea break


Witches ducking stool

Witches ducking stool

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in United Kingdom

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