Jane's Travel Blog

New Chapter: Explore the World


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August in the London Area

We spent the month of August in a holding pattern before traveling to San Sebastian, Spain for the fall. And what a wonderful pattern it was.

Because we have always wanted to spend more time in London, Bob found two house sits in the area, one in Wallington and the other in Godalming.

Our first sit was caring for a house and garden. The ample zucchini harvest had me researching zucchini recipes and I discovered zucchini curry soup and zucchini fritters. Both recipes made the gotta-make-that-again list. Here are the recipes, just in case you have a few zucchini lying around.

I added potatoes to the zucchini soup

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12547-pureed-zucchini-soup-with-curry?action=click&module=Global%20Search%20Recipe%20Card&pgType=search&rank=2

Fritters

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/baked-cheesy-zucchini-bites/

We often took the train into London and played tourist. We visited the National Gallery, the Tate, the British Library, London Tower, Notting Hill, and Westminster Abbey, just to name a few. Because the train only took 30 minutes, it was easy to run in for a half day or so and just play. It was no stress touring.

On our last trip to London, we met up with friends from Milwaukee who now live in Bristol and they treated us to a wonderful Chinese lunch, a perfect day!

Our next house sit took us to Godalming in the Surrey Hills. This quaint market town has an amazing yoga studio that I took full advantage of. Our new dog friend Minty has a magnetic personality that I can’t get enough of. Every morning Minty took me into the wooded trails near the house and I laughed every day as she bound through the woods exploring.

We were sad to leave England, but it was time to move on to San Sebastian, Spain. We arrived here late Monday night for a three-month stay. I can’t wait to explore this amazing city.

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Time in England

Hythe has been our home for five fast and fabulous weeks, and we look forward to our last ten days before we visit the US.

I’ve been busy visiting my traveling friends. Winnie and I spent a week in London seeing all the sights with appropriate wine stops along the Thames. I think Westminster Abbey was my favorite. Sooo much history and Winnie knew most of it. Very impressive!

A week later, Melanie came to Liverpool for a conference, so I hopped a train north and spent a long weekend playing with Melanie and the Beatles. We rode the Mersey Ferry and checked out the Beatles Museum. Beatles music plays everywhere and I couldn’t help but break out in song many times. Saving Melanie’s iPhone from an unexpected dip in the sink kept us busy as well. Liverpool and London are cities not to miss.

While I was gone, Bob continued to discover all the great walks around Hythe and Southampton. He walked to one of Henry VIII’s castles guarding the entrance to Southampton Water. He followed the ruins of Southampton’s medieval walls, as well as visited the elaborate grounds of a royal estate on the water.  

Bob and I rode the Red Jet Ferry to the Isle of Wight and hiked on top of the White cliffs of Wight (not Dover, but Wight). Our hike took us to a monument for Alfred Lord Tennyson. The ocean views mesmerized us and I needed to be careful not to trip. It felt wonderful to be hiking after all my “city time.”

House sitting has a great perk, neighbors! Ursula and Richard had us over for coffee when we first arrived. Saturday, we had them over for dinner and it turned out to be Richard’s birthday, so Ursula baked a scrumptious apricot-plum-almond cake.

After an early dinner, we headed out to hear Coal Porter, a bluegrass band. It was a wonderful evening.

And to end…

A Few Fun Facts about Fabulous Hythe.

(I so want this town to start with an “F”)

  • The Hythe Pier is 700 yards long.
  • The pier train is the longest running pier train – It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • King George VI rode the train in 1944, and Bob sat in the same spot. (I think that makes him famous too.)
  • Sir Christopher Cockerell, the inventor of the hovercraft, lived in Hythe.
  • T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, lived in Hythe in 1931-32.
  • Bob Weisenberg and Jane Marko spent 7 weeks in Hythe in 2016.

 


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Catching You Up a Bit. Stockport, Beccles, and Hythe.

We are loving our housesitting experiences in the UK. It’s been more moving around than we’re used to, but totally worth it.

After our first two brilliant house sits (using my new British lingo)  in magical Peebles, Scotland, we moved to Stockport, England for a two week house sit with Kimba, the white German shepherd. The house was next to Woodbank Park and Kimba and I took daily walks along the river. Kimba enjoyed the smells and squirrels and I soaked in the nature. Bob explored the surrounding area with a local hiking group, delightfully named the “Peaks & Northern Footpaths Society”.

We then took the train southeast to Norwich. Actually, we stayed just outside the town of Beccles with Bob’s friend, and now mine, Lucy Edge and her husband David. They live in a beautiful farm house with a classic formal English garden. I was in heaven.

Now, don’t think US farm house (for my family, it’s NOT the Kelley Farm house) but think English stately 1700’s farmhouse, complete with a gravel turnaround driveway.

We enjoyed a delightful four days with Lucy and David chatting over wonderful dinners discussing yoga and whatever came to mind. Lucy has written a few books, and her first novel, Down Dog Billionaire is a fun read. Check it out.

After a too-short visit with Lucy, we jumped on the train and headed southwest to Hythe, Hampshire for a seven week house sit for Sandy and Colin. No pets this time, just a fun garden to tend and a house to enjoy. We’ve been here just over two weeks and are loving the quaint village on the bay.

Hythe is across the bay from Southampton. One of Southampton’s claims to fame is that the Titanic sailed from here one time. We have plans to check out the Titanic Museum before we leave. The Mayflower also sailed from Southampton.  And today, many of the major cruise ship companies sail out of Southampton as well.  You can see them all coming and going right in front of the Hythe dock, two or three per day.

Sandy and Colin set us up with tickets to tour Buckingham Palace so we were off for a day trip to London four days after we arrived. We toured the mews where all of Queen Elizabeth’s coaches and horses are kept.  The golden glam of the Diamond Jubilee coach was my favorite. We toured the staterooms of the palace, and yes, they are very stately. Oversized oil paintings, red royal carpet and pink silk lounge chairs line the rooms giving a, well, “royal” feel.  No photos allowed, so you will just have to imagine.

We are settling into Hythe, relaxing and enjoying the scene.

So know you are caught up on our travels through the UK.

Stay tuned.