Holiday Vacation, Part Two: ENGLAND.

So while I’d like to point out that this post is about 3 and a half weeks overdue, it’s also still January, therefore I feel like I’m in the clear.

It’s insane how many places I have seen in the past few months- Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, England, and Italy…is this real life? Somebody pinch me.

I expected some adventures, but I don’t think I could have predicted all of this. And it’s only halfway over.

I spent the second part of my 2 week holiday vacation in England. My friend Fiona (another au pair I met here France) picked me up from the airport and her and her parents welcomed me into their beautiful home in Corsham, a small English countryside town west of London. They showed me around their town, brought me to filming locations for Harry Potter, took me out to eat for a solid meal of meat pie and mashed peas, and showed me the city of Marlborough where Kate Middleton attended school. Fiona and I drove to Stonehenge, explored Bath and London, and walked through an incredible castle in Wales. We welcomed in the new year with an ice skating session at Somerset House in London, a glass of champagne, and a lovely display of fireworks that we watched from the balcony.

Yea. I still don’t feel like all of that could have actually happened. Luckily I have the pictures to prove it. ❤

CORSHAM

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BATH

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Birthday love for Mom- January 19th :)

Happy 53rd, Mom!  The years have flown by-  you are getting up there, but try not to fret too much.  It happens to us all.  :p

Thanks for always wanting to make things better between us even if it’s been rough at times.  No matter what, I’ll always be around to remind you it’s time to throw out more turtlenecks and all those vests from 1992.  Love you, and hope you have a great day. 🙂

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Christmas In Ireland

“You headed back home for the holiday’s?” a man in the Bristol, England airport asked as we sat in front of the gate about to board for Dublin. He had a thick Irish accent, faded red locks and was dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a sweater.

“No,” I said as a smile formed across my face. “I’m from the U.S. but I’m headed to Ireland for Christmas to meet up with my mom.”

He tilted his head when I started talking and replied “Oh, I thought you were Irish with the red hair!”

Some small talk ensued and he told me about his background, how he now lives in Bristol but returns home frequently several times a year. He was older than me, late 50’s or early 60’s with a twinkle in his eye as he told me about his family, his life and amount of time he spends traveling back and forth between the two cities. I don’t remember as much of what he said, but rather how he said it, his calm and genuine demeanor and the eagerness he felt for going home.

We stood up to board and he turned to me and said, “You’ll love Dublin. Have a great trip.”

“Thanks, you too.”

I’ve dreamed about visiting Ireland for years. I’m not sure why exactly. Perhaps it’s because of the overwhelming ginger population. Maybe it is the accent. It could have been the way it’s unbelievable country-side scenery is depicted on screen. Perhaps it’s because of my obsession with the movie Once. Regardless of the reasons, when I decided to come to France for the year, I knew it was somewhere I needed to see. My mom and I made plans to meet up for Christmas and ended up spending a week exploring bits and pieces of the Eastern Ireland coast.

We walked around Dublin- through Saint Stevens Green, Trinity College, The Book of Kells museum, Irish pubs, and the Leprechaun museum. We took a hike through Wicklo, saw unbelievable landscapes, the Guiness Estate, and the location of where they filmed a scene from “P.S. I love you.” We took a bus tour to the Malahide Castle and the beautiful coastal town of Howth.

Ireland was everything and more than I expected.

Thanks for taking the trip out to spend Christmas with me mom, and for putting up with me. 🙂

❤ Can’t wait to go back some day!

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Christmas Markets in Strasbourg and Colmar, France

I first heard about the Alsace region in France while giving an English lesson. I was speaking with a lively, energetic, and sweet woman from Japan who was excited to tell me about her travels.

“You’ve been to France?” I asked.

“Yes..I cannot remember the name…” She took a moment to do some research and quickly returned. “Alsace. You must go. Just beautiful!”

A couple of weeks later my host mom’s parents told me about the region again and gave me a travel magazine from their stash of editions piled high in the back closet in their spare room.

“During Christmas it’s even more beautiful,” they said.

A month later some of my new au pair friends invited me to join them on a road trip there, and I took it as a sign- This was a place I couldn’t pass up visiting.

Strasbourg and Colmar are two cities in the Alsace region. When we arrived to the Christmas markets there, they were situated like pages from a holiday storybook- the kind you read to children on Christmas Eve with a cup of hot coco and a fleece onesie. With a perfect mix of antique shopping, regional memorabilia, handmade crafts, and hott spiced wine- there was really nothing more we could have asked for. As for the rest of the details- I’ll let the pictures do the talking. What a great trip with some great girls! ❤

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