Trip to England: highlights

Here are some of the highlights of our recent trip to England. Although it was family-centred, we managed to visit some interesting places.

Temple Church

I’ve always wanted to see the Temple Church. My first attempt was a few years ago when I had a few hours to kill in London before my flight back home, I can’t remember whether it was to Dallas or to Buenos Aires. Anyway, I walked and walked trying to find this historic church ensconced in the middle of the Inns of Court.  I eventually found it but, to my chagrin, it was closed for repairs.

Cut to July 2011. My friends Romina and Anibal were in London on holiday. Together we visited Westminster Cathedral and had nothing planned for later. However, I had a secret agenda. Mwahahaha! I played on my friend’s interest in history and very innocently suggested we could have a look at this church built by the Knights Templars. Nothing special, only medieval, you know. We asked a guy for directions and he said “Oh, the Da Vinci Code church?” That was a bit embarrassing. I wanted to explain that I ‘m not a Dan Brown fan I knew about this church way before he made it famous but somehow I don’t think this passer-by would have cared.

We were like kids in a candy store!

Fish and chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce

Those who know me know that I don’t care for fish. I managed to avoid Britain’s national dish for years until last week. We met up with some friends in Brighton whom we hadn’t seen in years. It was a glorious summer day, the seagulls were dancing in the sky, the musicians were playing in the square, wine and conversation were flowing easily. One thing led to another and I found myself ordering fish and chips with mushy peas. The haddock was so fresh that I’d like to think it was caught that morning off the coast of Brighton.

HMS Victory

HMS Victory was launched in 1765 and was Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It is a museum now, placed in a dry dock in Portsmouth. I walked about the decks trying to imagine the noises of battle, the roar of the cannon and the shouts of the gunners manning it, the heartrending screams of the wounded, the smell of fear. It wasn’t a very successful evocation, the trappings of modern life and other tourists got in the way.

Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle dates back to Saxon times and was rebuilt by William the Conqueror in the Norman style. Nowadays, only the keep and sections of the wall remain. But my favourite place were the gardens: the design of the flowerbeds, the variety and quantity of flowers, the sweet smells. It was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t ideal but it could have been worse.

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