Holiday Tales 1- Chester

*Warning : Long post ahead*

Even best laid plans could get unraveled, so the not to well laid going awry is not really surprising.

We had not made any proper plans for the Easter weekend. We couldn’t come to a decision on where to go. I wanted to go to Dorset to see this and this, and of course for the beaches. Then my friend mentioned that they were off there as well, so we decided to pile on. We used some of the points that husband has been hoarding up on his hotel stays in Glasgow, and booked a free(almost) holiday.

We were to set off on Friday – early morning. It is a 5 and a half hour drive from where we live, and we wanted to get there nice and early. I was in record form. Bags packed, everything sorted by the time husband returned from Glasgow. The weather was not the greatest, but at the very least, it wasn’t raining(or snowing), so we were all excited!  All we needed to do was have dinner and go to bed early. Daughter chose that exact moment to throw up everything she ate. And was also running a temperature. By the time, I got her sorted and went to bed, I was dead tired.

Woke up at 5:00 – as per schedule, only to realise that I had a terrible, throat pain, and I could barely open my eyes. Between daughter’s temperature and my feeling terribly ill, we decided to not travel. Much to all our disappointment, but it did not make any sense to travel to a coastal area and not even be in a position to get into the water, given that both of us were feeling so ill. So having informed our friends, we went back to sleep.

That extra sleep did seem to work wonders. We were feeling better, I was still not completely well. but daughter was back to normal. By mid day, we started wishing that we could go somewhere. It was too late to go to our original destination – we would not reach before night-time, and we would have to start back on Sunday, leaving us just one day there. So we started hunting around for places to go to. It did not help that the weather where we live was dismal. Cold, wet and miserable, and all places nearby seemed the same as well. It was funny how when you are desperate to go somewhere, you just can’t find one place worth visiting!

Finally, we decided on Chester. Chester Zoo is supposed to be one of the best zoos in the UK. We had been planning to go there since ages. Places close by, get pushed away, because we can go there anytime. Chester seemed perfect for this weekend. We could stay overnight, visit the zoo and be back by the next evening. We did not want to plan a longer holiday, just in case we felt ill again. The weather in Chester was not great, but it seemed manageable. Light rain was forecast, and we thought we could handle light rain. Since we had packed bags waiting, all we needed to do was have lunch(which was more of a brunch), and book a hotel and be off.

It was mid-afternoon by the time we set off.

This should give you an idea of the weather around here in the last week. The snow had melted in most places, but this was taken on one of England’s highest motorways.

First stop, Chester City. It was a cute, quaint town. Chester is supposed to be one of the best preserved walled cities in Europe. We have been on similar walls in other places like York, but the walls in Chester certainly seemed to be in much better condition. We did not do the full round, we did about three-fourths of it, and then got off to walk by the River Dee.

The iconic black and white buildings that seem to define Chester City Centre. Check out the building below, the black and white one in the middle, it seemed as if it were wider on the top than the bottom..

Check out these columns and column bases, apparently from Roman times.

The Roman walls overlooking the city centre..

And the clock on the wall..

View of the street from the wall.

Chester Cathedral – view from the walls..

and a little closer..

Walls circling the city..

By the river..

The Roman Amphitheater

We get all excited at Easter window displays..

Every single time, when I upload pictures, I realize that the best pictures have us in it 😦

After all that walking around, all we had energy for, was dinner. Dinner and sleep, were the only things we were capable of. The weather had not been too bad. It did rain a bit, but most of the heavier rain happened when we were having dinner, so we escaped most of it. So we concentrated on food, after all, we needed all the energy to walk around Chester Zoo.

…(to be continued – Holiday Tales 2 – Chester Zoo)

Picture this..

Swaram had tagged me to share my favourite photograph.. Well, this is one of my favourites.. from one of my favourite trips..

DSC04827

It was the spring of 2007 and daughter had just started to walk. We were both working at that point in time and had very little time to just relax and have fun. Husband used to travel to Europe a lot then, and I had a horribly busy job as well. So when the Easter bank holiday came up, we had nothing planned – no time for planning, you see. Also, it was daughter’s first winters and it was tough. She had been unwell, quite a lot and holidays were the last thing on our mind.

So when the Easter bank holiday came up, we realised that we had 4 days off and we could/should do something. Spring and summer time in the UK – we dread to waste weekends – that is the only time when stepping out is fun.  Bath seemed interesting – not too far, we could easily do a day trip..so off we went. We desperately wanted a break from the routine.

Daughter had just started walking, so on the train – all she wanted to do was walk. She refused to sit still and insisted on walking, which was just not made easy by the fact that there was some football match scheduled that day in Bath and the train was packed with fans, dressed in their football club colours! It was one of the few times that I have seen such a packed train on a weekend! It was choc-a-bloc! And even that did not deter daughter from insisting that she wanted to ‘walk’!!

It was with sigh of relief that we got off the train and set off exploring Bath. I have to mention here that – daughter loves the buggy. She loves being strapped into stuff. When we bought her a tricycle – with a belt – she would get in , put on the belt and then cry, when she wanted to get off and could not get the belt off! She has some belt mania – even now 🙂 But I digress.

We had a wonderful time soaking in the atmosphere of Bath. Bath is renowned for it’s hot springs and the ancient Roman Baths, and Georgian stone crescents. It has a very nice feel to it and had plenty to see, with it’s wonderfully rich heritage. I will not go into it in detail, because then I will end up posting a lot more pictures.. I simply cannot do justice just with words.

It had been some time since we had such a relaxed and wonderful day, without having to worry about work, day care or stuff like that. We saw the sights, relaxed in the beautiful park(pictured) near the river, daughter got to practise her walking in the park , and see a lot of ducks and flowers. She was at the stage where ducks and flowers could make her ecstatic! We walked around a lot -I think we covered a lot of the town that day and yet did not feel exhausted or tired, just more energized! Must have something to do with the air or the effect of the hot springs!

At the end of the day, we were almost tempted to find a hotel or a bed & breakfast and stay overnight, and would have done so if we did not have a little not-yet one year old with us.. We returned promising ourselves that we would come again – but sadly, haven’t been able to make it – yet.

Swaram, the other tag – I do remember, but no time today, so will do it another time 🙂

A trip that was not meant to be…

Till last Friday, we had no plans for the long weekend(last weekend).. We had been thinking of going for a couple of day trips at the most and had planned to relax at home on Monday.. Then somewhere mid, Friday morning, it struck us that it was the last long weekend until the end of August!

So then started the holiday planning in earnest! We settled on Lake District as we had been planning to go there for the last 4 years – with no luck.. So I started checking out hotel rooms or B&Bs only to find out that every single one of them was completely booked for the long weekend! Talk about popular destinations, eh?

After calling some 20 hotels/B&Bs – finally a nice man gave me the number of the tourist information – who apparently have the latest list of vacancies. Finally, late in the afternoon, after calling some more B&Bs – I found one which had just had a cancellation!

We still were not sure about it as the weather was supposed to be ‘partly sunny’ on Saturday.. We were not sure if it was worth thr trouble.. Finally, we decided to go for it and from that point on – it was a mad, mad rush, to get everything ready.

Thankfully for us, the ‘weather god’ was in a good mood.. We did not get any rains.. We travelled through some of the most beautiful landscapes that we have seen so far – more of it in the next post.

What I really wanted to talk about was the weather.. It’s no wonder that sunny days are so welcomed here in Britain.. Every person in the country must have been out, thanks to the brilliant weather.. Every patch of grass had people having impromptu picnics! We even passed a petrol station where people were sitting in a really small patch of green, sunning themselves! Pubs were full of people drinking beer, outside.. People fishing in every little stream.. Watching the sunset at 9:00 in the night.. Feeding swans and ducks.. Ice cream vans everywhere! We ate a lot of ice cream too! Daughter has finally mastered the fine art of eating ice-cream from a cone – without it dripping all over the place – she’s been having a lot of practise these days 🙂

We finally got back last evening, exhausted, but totally satisfied with our last May holiday.. That was one fantastic trip – especially for one that was so last minute!

Weekends like this…

Ever had a weekend when you are on your feet the whole time, had not had a minute to really relax and end up in bed after a three day weekend with aching limbs , feeling, wow – that was one superb weekend?

That’s how we felt last evening! We had friends over for the long weekend and had the most wonderful time.. It was one of those friends with whom you feel absolutely comfortable and can talk nonstop with 🙂 The funny thing is that we have not even met all that often between our jobs and children and everything – but with some people, you just connect.

The children had the most wonderful time, three little girls, one five year old, one three year old and one one year old, all playing and fighting for the same toys every once in a while, fighting sleep , jumping on beds, making castles, and having the time of their lives! And we,grown-ups, decided not to waste time sight seeing and going around, instead lazed around at home, ate and ate , and talked late into the night! I have never stayed up this late in the night in recent times 🙂 and just when you go to sleep and are in deep, deep slumber, daughter wakes up – ‘I’m hungry’!

And after all that fun, the  house feels empty and lonely after they’ve gone. Suddenly, the weekend is over and its back to business as usual… And the best thing – back to blogworld  🙂 and once again I’ve got 1000+ unread posts in my reader 🙂

Easter Break

Easter Bank Holiday starts in a few hours 🙂 And I am all excited as we are off to Wales! We have a 4 day holiday here! Can I see jealous faces? Well, it used to be a much awaited holiday when I was working!

So, we are off to Swansea, Wales, for the next four days, we are desperately praying for good weather – but weather god does not look very obliging 😦 The worst case scenario is that we get stuck in the hotel rooms and play egg hunt 🙂 hopefully the children will love it (we are meeting two other families there ).

In the meanwhile, I am going to miss all the election tamasha and all your posts,*sob* *sob* !

So wishing all of you a very happy Easter and see you all on Tuesday!