Maybe you have read what I wrote last, about getting ready and therefore already know that my sister and I went to England for a holiday.
Our holiday served a dual purpose; just as much as I wanted to go back to England for a bit, where I feel very much at home (and not only in terms of language) and get away from work and the everyday routine this involves, I also wanted to see the people whose family I became part of when I married my second husband. As most of my readers will know, he died very suddenly last year, and I am glad to say that his friends and family in England have been just as supportive as everyone over here.
The relatives and friends all seemed to be genuinely pleased to see us, and we were truly made feeling welcome. Beforehand, when we were still planning our holiday, we had so many offers where to stay that we really had to plan carefully in order to fit everything into the less than two weeks that we had. Hospitality was so kindly extended to us from all sides, and so we worked out the following route:
Ripon was our first stop. There, we stayed for two nights at my mother-in-law's; I slept in this room on the settee, accompanied by one of Mary's black and white cats:
The area around Ripon and the small town itself have much to offer to the visitor, and we had another two days there, but moved to a B&B in order to give Mary and ourselves a bit more privacy. This was our room at the B&B, which is called Box Tree Cottages:
We then went for a big contrast and took the bus to Leeds, a city of 750.000 inhabitants (as opposed to picturesque Ripon with maybe 17.000). There, we stayed at the Cosmopolitan hotel in the room you can see below. It wasn't the best of stays - the room was surprisingly spacious, but the bathroom had not been cleaned proplery (we complained, and it was sorted out instantly) and the only window in our room was very tiny, leading into a kind of light shaft which incidentally also had the tubes of the kitchen's ventilation system ending there, so that we heard the noise of that all night (not me - I simply put my earplugs in. I never travel without them.).
Our next stop was Bolton upon Dearne, where a couple of friends had invited us to stay with them. There, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of a house looking onto fields; I did not take a picture of the two rooms we slept in, for various good reasons (just believe me).
After that, we were ready for a taste of city life again, and went to Sheffield, which I found to be a lot more beautiful than I had expected. Our hotel there was a four star one, and this was our room:
For it being so comfortable, clean and stylish, we would have liked to extend our stay; alas we had the next episode already lined up and took the train to Thurnscoe, where my utterly lovely Auntie Ann was waiting for us. She gave us this room:
Two nights we stayed there, before travelling to the Peak District, where I'd never been before in my life. The scenery there is breathtakingly beautiful and so completely different from anything I know around here, and I really want to go back there and explore further where I could only scratch the surface this time. After a short hike, we arrived at our quarter for the night, a medieval barn that was practically rebuilt and furnished by the Crookstone Adventure Trust.
It was the most basic of all our stays, practically the opposite to the hotel in Sheffield, but we enjoyed it very much. The barn looks like this:
Only too soon, our holiday was coming to an end. Because our flight back to Germany was in the morning, we decided to go to Manchester the day before and spend the night at Bewley's hotel next to the airport. It is nothing special, just your typical business travellers' place to stay, and nothing about our room was remarkable, except for the sheer size of the beds (quite welcome after where we'd been before, I must admit):
As I said, the holiday was great. We did lots of different things and met lots of lovely people, had many an excellent meals and saw some truly stunning sights.
Nonetheless, after all those strange beds, my own bed felt very welcoming, and so did having my own bathroom to myself again, and having full access to my complete wardrobe.
I love travelling, I really do.
But I also love coming home :-)