Sunday, April 26, 2015

Road trip | Wye Valley



Jake is officially twenty-one, and what better way to celebrate than with a road trip? It was a three hour drive, which surprisingly I managed without trouble on the way there. The journey home was a different story. It was night-time, tiredness set in and I was going home after a trip, driving was no longer fun.

As soon as we got out of London, I was travelling through the country roads marvelling at how beautiful it was, and overtly confessing my affection for the countryside. Then I hit and killed a pheasant, it was extremely unpleasant and for a brief moment I missed the city. I soon realised however, that pheasants are stupid animals and that this was an extremely common occurrence, hopefully one that did not damage my karma too much, just my emotions.

After the upsetting pheasant incident, we arrived in the beautiful setting of Wye Valley. Our accommodation was the Royal Lodge in Symonds Yat, located right on the river, in the heart of the Valley. The lodge was beautiful and the staff were lovely, being young however, among a vast group of retired couples, we did receive some strange looks. We embraced our age however, I skipped, Jake swung on a rope swing while we were meant to be hiking, and we demolished a healthy amount of breakfast each morning. Breakfast, though relatively moderate portions, was beautifully cooked.

While on the topic of food. Everything in the Valley tastes like it's been hand picked. The meat is fresh, the vegetables are fresh, everything is fresh. I don't think I've had ingredients that tasty since I was in Italy last summer. We had dinner at a lovely restaurant called Inn On The Wye - possibly the best restaurant of all time! Extremely large portions, which is great when you have a boyfriend with a hearty appetite - beautifully cooked and very reasonable. Not to mention the decor is quaint and idyllic, how I dream my future house will look. The staff were absolutely lovely, but did mention that the place was being turned into a steak house in May, so let's hope it doesn't ruin the magnificence.

On day two, we spent the afternoon on the lake, canoeing down the river (or rather round in circles). Sadly there were no kayaks, and you're not allowed down the rapids in the canoes, so we could only row upstream, which clearly wasn't successful with my lack of upper arm strength, and of course the distraction of cute ducks that wanted the crusts from our sandwiches. We named them Ben and Jerry, and every time we decided to row onwards, they followed our canoe, quacking away.

The weather was certainly on our side for the entirety of our visit, as the sunshine made everything that bit more majestic, not to mention it was probably the reason the locals were all so happy and friendly. On our last day, we got up to watch the sunrise on top of Yat Rock, despite the lack of enthusiasm for a 5.30am start, it was worth it. The views over the valley were breathtaking, with fog clouding the lake, and the sun taking over the whole sky. We managed to get some incredible photos, but even they don't do the view justice.

After a brief nap and some breakfast, we headed to Goodrich Castle, which was gorgeous. The weather was beautiful, which made exploring the ruins much more enjoyable. The lady at reception gave us guides to listen to as we walked around, telling us all about the lord and lady who lived in the castle, what it looked like and what types of activities would occur in each medieval tower. I'd say we made it about 80% through before we gave up and started running round and taking pictures. All in all, a very successful stop.

Our last stop however, wasn't so successful. We decided to pass through Bristol for lunch, after I expressed a considerable amount of interest in seeing the Bristol Bridge. This was probably the worst decision I could have made. The only adjectives I could possible use to describe the place, is busy and dirty. Maybe we were in the wrong part of town? I apologise to anyone that lives in Bristol, but the city certainly wasn't what I expected. If we visit Wye Valley again, I think a stop to Bath will be on the list for the journey home. Despite Bristol, driving down through the Forest of Dean and into Newport was such a lovely route to take, definitely worth the extra half an hour added to the journey back to London.

It was such a lovely break, and such a beautiful place, sometimes I forget how much fun can be had without even leaving the country. More road trips are definitely going to be planned for the future.











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