Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sussex Countryside Bus Tour

Each new place I visit on this trip seems to almost immediately jump to the front of the line as my favorite, and today was no exception.

I went on a bus tour of the Sussex countryside, and to my relief, we spent just as much time outside the bus as in. Our tour guide was an adorable little British woman named Glenda, and she narrated most of the journey, telling us the power of positive thinking to will away the rain and saying "jolly good" and "damn them." She was precious, and knowledgeable to boot--definitely my favorite tour guide by far.

The Sussex countryside is full of rolling hills, farm lands, little villages, seaside towns, historic buildings and picturesque views. It could take ages to fully explore just this little portion of the country.

We started at Burling Gap and Beachy Head where we were on the 4th for the hike along the downs. Unfortunately, the morning was misty and gray and the view was not nearly as clear as it was then. But the fog added a dramatic, ominous feel to the hills.

Then we explored the town of Eastbourne, where we began our hike last week. Our guide told us the town has a reputation of being similar to Brighton, or rather Brighton's elderly Aunt. In other words, it's much quieter and runs at a slower pace, without the large nightlife scene and has many older residents. So of course, I loved it.

Garden in the center of town by the pier.

View from the pier.

Lamps and lights on the pier.

The sun broke out and we were pleased to eat our lunch and collect shells on the beach!

Lauren, Karina, Jessica and I. 

Next, we headed to Pevensey Castle. It began in the 4th century as a Roman "Saxon Shore" fort where William the Conquerer landed in 1066. After the conquest, the Norman castle was built on its premises. It was used in war as far as World War II by the American and Canadian soldiers. Most of it, especially the Roman walls, are crumbling which is not surprising given its extensive history and use.

A little cottage outside the entrance to the castle.

Inside the castle walls. The balls stacked in the center were catapult, not cannon, balls.

The Roman wall.
The entrance from its grassy approach.
Little English countryside villages really have stolen my heart, and Alfriston, our last stop of the day, was quaint perfection. It has a population of about 830, and is full of tea houses, cobbled buildings, gardens and lace curtained windows.

While drinking tea and nibbling on warm scones, we wondered what it would be like to live in a place like this. Do the residents know how charming their village is? Do they drink afternoon tea every day? Or, is our envy simply a case of "the grass is greener on the other side?" 
All this traveling has made me curious to know what outsiders think of Oregon, and my lovely Corvallis home. 

Ack! Someone actually lives here!!! 
These ceramic markers were on every house we passed!
There was a french market in front of the church when we were there, as a celebration of Bastille Day (July 14th in France). 
Village sign, side one.

Side two. 
The church of St. Andrew. It was built in the 1370's and unlike many other churches in the area, was not added onto in later years but sustained from that time. 

Glenda raved about the little tea shops in Alfriston, so by the afternoon, our mouths were watering for a traditional cream tea. Please excuse the plethora of tea service photos that are to follow. I couldn't help it! :)
I loved this book as a kid. Its definitely time for a re-read.

There is nothing like drinking out of an ornate and dainty tea cup to make you feel fancy. :)

We got to keep those little jam jars!

Without a doubt, tea and scones are one of my favorite parts of England. Its now my goal to visit as many of these little places as I can, or rather, as long as my wallet holds out!
This little bookstore was a perfect treasure trove of old and new books. I miraculously walked out empty handed--a true testament to my self control!  ;)
They also had notebooks and stationary made out of old books that were unreadable anymore. Here is another cute example of their "upcyling." 

This little post office and gift shop was closed after 5 on this Sunday afternoon, but it was still cute and very representative of Alfriston from the outside. 
I can't help picturing myself living in places like this. Drinking tea, walking along the seaside, riding a bike with a basket along the cobbled streets, writing my novel from behind the white paned windows of my cottage...oh it's fun to dream. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you for an afternoon, Alfriston.

1 comment:

  1. The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams! XO