Monday, September 21, 2015

England and Scotland - Two years in the making

August 7-16, 2015
In 2013 my cousin Morgan and her husband Matt announced they would be moving to England to be stationed with the USAF there for three years.  Something inside of me said that within those three years we NEEDED to go visit.  Not just a sarcastic NEED, but truly the need that I thought would actually happen.  And two years later, it did.  It took me a while to get Royce on board, but I/we knew this was an opportunity that we wouldn't get again and that we needed to take advantage of them being there.  Truly a trip we wouldn't regret. 
We started rough-planning at the end of 2014, marking a two-to-three month window that we thought would be best.  Not knowing if Matt or Morgan would be deployed during this time we said we'd check in again in the spring.  So we tossed the idea again during Spring 2015 and thought we'd aim for August.  Finally at the beginning of July we agreed to go for it!  We found 9 days and booked our tickets!  Then the real work began of sorting out where the kids would go, making sure all activities were scheduled accordingly, and packing for all of us.  Isaac really didn't understand why everyone couldn't go to England together. Sorry Buddy, someday you will understand. 
Wichita, 6pm Friday August 7th. 
Quick flight to Chicago, made our connection, and landed in London's Heathrow Airport at 11am Saturday, August 8th.  We both watched a movie then slept fairly well on the flight over. 
Matt and Morgan live in Bury St. Edmunds (BSE) which is about a 2-hour drive from London.  *Side note, all of the proper nouns in the UK are very literal.  Bury St. Edmunds is named this because it's where St. Edmunds was buried.  I will share more as I go.* On our drive to BSE we stopped and toured their Air Force Base, Mildenhall.  Seeing their offices, flight schedules, planning rooms, and of course all of the other sites on the base was so neat.  One of the memorable parts for me was seeing "Jet Fuel" on one of the gas tank pumps.  Not everyday you see that!  After arriving at their house we freshened up and walked to their local pub right around the corner.  It was a wonderful welcome to England and we all relaxed before walking through BSE. 
My first Pimm's Cup drink!  It was yummy! 
We walked through the St. Edmunds Abbey which is right around the corner from their home. The ruins were really neat, along with the plaques signifying the signing of the
Magna Charta (year 1214 on the plaques). 

Sunday we rode with them to Cambridge *a bridge over the Cam river, thus Cambridge* where they attend church.  Royce and I walked through a park and walked the streets while they were at church.  Cambridge is known for their colleges (34 colleges) which the locals call "Uni's" for University.  To say how every single building was neat and unique is an understatement.  They were all so cool!   

We also had crepe's while we roamed....
My Belgian chocolate crepe didn't wait for the picture. 

When Matt and Morgan joined us after church we headed for lunch and punting on the Cam river.  This was so much fun, and we had (as you see) a 100% picture perfect day for punting.