Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ENGLAND {Day 2: Hampton Court & Arundel}

After 12 hours of sleep...
yes 12.
We drove to Hampton Court.

Oh man,
we have read so many books that take place here,
and are a little obsessed with Henry the Eight's reign.

We were so excited that when you visit Hampton Court, the parking lot makes 
you drive right in front-
which means your first view of the castle, is the entire castle.
The size of this place is ASTOUNDING.
It's huge!

We were much more impressed with the audio tour here.

Hampton Court has 3 different types of state apartments,
and we were most excited that the Tudor apartments are still standing.
Most of the castle had been redone since Henry's reign,
but they ran out of money and never quite got to his apartments, church and great hall or kitchens.
Thank goodness!  It was pretty astounding to see.
Here's Julie in the Great Hall, where they did most of their entertaining.
Julie had to sit in his throne.

This room is surrounded by gorgeous woodwork from the ceiling down and Henry's initials are all carved all through it.  At one point there was also many AB's for Ann Bolyn, but after he had her killed he removed all of them, but somehow missed one.

We learned pretty quickly that the audio tour is fabulous, but asking the tour guides questions is even better!  They had so many interesting side notes to tell us and we sat and talked to many of them for quite a while.  (We spoke to a super nice guy from New Zealand who told us about the secret rooms and trap doors and talked to our new friend Gemma, who told us all about the rumors surrounding King William....Julie also may have tried to set Gemma up with her son....)  We saw the tiny room Henry married Catherine Parr, the working kitchens and the beautiful chapel.  And then toured William and Mary's apartments-where we learned quite a bit about them and now are dying to know more!  And also toured the apartments of Queen Caroline and King George, who hated their son Frederick and we couldn't get enough of their story.....
I'm just dying to get my hands on a book about their CRAZY relationship stat.

Ok, if you are still with me, forgive me for geeking out over books.
I just can't help myself.
Hampton Court was just amazing and I need to soak in so much more information!
Hampton Courts lovely gardens.

We dined on traditional English food to finish off our visit where I began my love affair with Scones and clotted cream, and we were on our way.
To say that it was a successful visit is an understatement.
It was epic and I wanna go back right now.
After Hampton Court we made our way to the tiny town of Arundel.
Arundel Castle belongs to the Duke of Norfolk.
(The Duke of Norfolk in Tudor times, was a bad, bad man...who also happens to be on Julie's family tree).  We had to add it to our list when she realized she had ties to the city and castle.

Here's a few things I remember about the drive:
Us sighing in tandem over the stunning views.
Us not knowing what the English street signs were and screaming as we thought we were gonna die as we entered the freeway...we may have got honked at once or twice.
Driving through Petworth and gasping at it's beauty!
And us almost crying as 6 huge garbage trucks passed us on the skinny road.
I can't help but laugh remembering it!

Arundel was a bit of a dream!
We stayed in a 500 year old Inn below an old pub that was completely shadowed by the cathedral.
After being made fun of for our awful parking job... "How long have you been driving?"
We checked in and took off to explore the city.

The cathedral.

Our darling Inn...remember this place as it pops up again down the road.
Another old church (1200's) down the road surrounded by the creepiest, most lovely cemetery.
Julie and I were alone walking around this cemetery and it was pretty dreamy.

After the cemetery we made our way to the downtown area,
with shops and restaurants and our first good view of the castle.
Gorgeous castle...exactly what you'd think a castle should look like.

It made us pretty excited to go in the next day!

We spent the rest of the night eating ourselves silly at the pub and enjoying the wifi and our hour of touch with the rest of the world...and laughing at their awful DJ and sad little party.
Things I want to remember: the kind man offering chocolate for the next day.  The garbage trucks.  Parking and laughing till we cried.  The darling girls singing in the church. Spilling my candy in Julie's bag.

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