Chris and I talked about going to England together for a couple of years. We were both excited! He'd been many times before to visit family there. I lived there for a few months when I was completing my master's degree. It was going to be fun visiting there together. We sort of planned the trip, but mostly had a plan to play things by ear. Our main goal was to relax. Our main event was a weekend trip to Bulgaria for my college roommate's wedding. Otherwise, the plan was to visit with his family, take a few steps back from the stress of everyday life, and - most importantly - spend some quality time together!
Our journey began when we met at JFK after one last pre-vacation day of rushing around and tackling all those last minute items that pop up. Our gate happened to be right beside Shake Shack - score!
Our flight wasn't too bad. We went overnight so we both slept off and on before arriving at Heathrow. I was able to watch Admission on the plane. I was a little disappointed by it though.
Upon landing, we headed off to the tube. About an hour (and one nap for me) later, we arrived at Euston Station where we waited for our train to the Midlands....Litchfield Trent Valley stop to be exact.
We spent the first half of our trip in Burton upon Trent with a truly lovely family - the Seniors! Tony and Chris are cousins. Tony and Louisa have two adorable little girls - Amelie and Cecily - along with a very big puppy, Hugo. We had SUCH a fun time with them!
The first night we got ourselves aquainted and settled. We also had some tasty kebobs. Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of those massive treats. We slept in a bit the next day as we were still adjusting to the time difference. Once we were up, we headed off for a run at a nearby park. It was pretty there especially when all of the swans were out on the water. Chris entertained himself with sudoku games from the newspaper while I did my training runs for the marathon. Surprisingly, I was able to get in quite a few runs while we were there.
While visiting the Midlands area, we split our time about equally between family and visiting local and nearby attractions. I'll cover our time spent at Lichfield Cathedral, a League Cup soccer match, the Chatsworth House and Gardens, and Bass Brewery in separate posts since they were all very worthy ventures. For now, let's focus on the fun with family!
Tony and Louisa hosted a portion of Tony's family for dinner one night. Chris was able to introduce me to his Aunt Millie and two more cousins - Deleita and Rose. We had a delicious meal followed by a few hours of laughter, story-telling, and looking at photos. A fun night for everyone!
The next night, relatives from the paternal side of Chris' family were hosting a Bank Holiday get together. Chris introduced me to several more cousins - Edney & Eileen, Denton & Millie, Corinne, and Jennifer & Bob - along with his Aunt Gwen and Uncle Eric. There were also lots of little ones running around playing games and jumping on the trampoline! We had another tasty meal followed by games - multiple rounds of a movies only version of hangman - and roasting of marshmellows over a fire pit. We had a great time!
I'll cover the rest of our adventures in the Midlands soon. Then, it will be on to Bulgaria! Stay tuned!