English Roadtrip - July 2008 - The Cute Cities and High Tea Tour
The quaintness of the cities below, married with the habit of enjoying afternoon high tea made for a vacation that was quintessentially English... scones with clotted cream (both not too buttery, of course) and jam... yum... while we didn't exactly have the full set at *every* location listed below, I did have 4 scones over the vacation. I had it once coming back to Hong Kong (not the same), and so I'm good for six months, I think!
Bath - The Pump Room is well-known for its high tea accompanied by live music. The room is a "neo-classical salon" that is beautiful in its simple and elegant decor. Here are my parents at the table! The Pump Room is adjacent to the Roman Baths, and as an educational service to the people who visited the Roman Baths, they serve the mineral-packed spa water for you to taste. As I said, it's mineral-packed (or, rather, it seemed like it was just packed with sulphur)... it tasted.. disgusting. However, my mom, being able to move paste these superficialities to the nutritional value, downed three glasses!!
Cotswolds - area denotes the rolling hills area in mid-southern England. As I mentioned before, it is best on horseback, and so we went! About horseback riding, it is tiring and uses some muscles that never seemed to exist! Therefore, there is a need to "stretch out" after the exercise. :p
While I am not a "typical girl" to appreciate the full satisfaction of horseback riding through the English countryside, the ride was peaceful, beautiful and enjoyable nonetheless -- it was peaceful as long as I could control my horse from eating all the high grass, shrubs, or trees that it came across. The funniest thing was that Janey's horse ate EVERYTHING in its path. :p In the other picture below, the plains were full of sheep happily eating away! What a simple, yet full life!
Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the towns in the Cotswolds area. Though much of the buildings retain their original forms, the Lonely Planet says, "this town has sold its soul to the tourism industry"... and indeed, it was packed with tourists who came admire the quaint little stream with quaint little bridges, lined with quaint little rose bushes and stately shrubs. Haha, we enjoyed great weather, so it was a great day walking around outside.
The Lakes District is not as historic as Cotswolds, but is quaint in a more modern 'small town' way. The numerous swans also made for amusing episodes since they are no longer afraid of anything in their path! Walking around the lakesides made for very peaceful walks around these gentle waters.
York has a local chain of tea cafes called Betty's, and Alison and I enjoyed a late lunch and tea here. Yum... the pastries and food were all prepared SO very beautifully! This was a long day (to be explained later), so sitting down for a quiet tea time was much needed and very appreciated.
London - by All Souls Church at Langham Place is Langham Hotel, where we enjoyed high tea tea at The Landau. The environment, service, and food were all exquisite... nor did they regard us as a bunch of silly Chinese girls! Of course, the most important thing about spending time eating is the company, and we were lucky to catch Ina and another of Alison's friend in London that weekend!
What a simple joy it is to eat and drink amongst good company!
Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.