Yes, we are in England.  Currently the southern portion of England, at that.  From just before New Year’s, until the end of March, we have four different house sits set up across this glorious country.  The first of which is in Swanage, a lovely little village in the middle of England’s south coast.

While I never have trouble with jetlag when traveling east to west, the jetlag while traveling from west to east always hits me pretty hard.  The night we stayed in Poole, we were both out like lights around 8:30, but I was unlucky enough to wake up at 2:30 in the morning (7:30pm back home in Colorado) and was not able to fall back asleep for about three hours.  Since we needed to be up and moving by 8, I wasn’t too pleased with my brain and body thinking they needed to be awake in the middle of the night.  Nonetheless, when morning rolled around, we packed up our stuff, loaded it into the car, and began our hour long drive along the coast, to Swanage.

The roads we traveled grew narrower the farther we got away from Poole, and the two-lane roundabouts with no lane markings or signage gave us pause at several intersections, but we began to get used to the country highways.  When we were about five miles out from our destination in Swanage, we began passing signs for “Corfe Castle”, and were eventually given our first glimpse of the wonderful crumbled ruin that is Corfe Castle.  Sitting atop one of the taller hills in the area, the castle stood over the village of Corfe Castle, casting an enormous shadow in the early, winter sunlight.  Passing by, on our way to meet our first house sit, we decided we would have to come back and take a tour of the castle and the town.

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So here it is, the big reveal!  Our next big trip, and the country we will be house sitting in for the first three months of 2018!  Drum roll please! Drdrddrdrdddrdrdrdrd: England!

Since it had been many years since my last (and only) international trip, and Ian had never left the country other than on cruises, it was an interesting experience preparing for our trip.  We found it easy to pack for the first portion of our trip; the three months we plan on staying in England being rainy, winter months.  The lack of any definitive travel plans past those three months however, made it a challenge in terms of knowing what we might need to pack.  Though we knew we would need our winter coats, and rain gear for winter in The United Kingdom, we could also require lighter clothing for southern Spain in the spring or summer months, or even heavier clothes for the snow of the Swiss Alps.  We simply didn’t know.  So, we packed everything.  (At least that’s what it felt like.)

Determining that we didn’t want to be lugging half a dozen suitcases across Europe, we limited ourselves to one large checked bag and one carry-on for the plane, each.  When Ian realized his camera bag was gaining a bit too much heft, he added on a laptop bag as well, to distribute some of the excess weight; and, for the plane ride, I added a small backpack which held my kindle and some snacks for the long journey across the pond.

At DIA (Denver International Airport) we flew through our check-in, dropped off our checked luggage, and were waiting at our gate in a flash, and we played a few games of Worms on our Nintendo Switch while we waited for our plane.  Somehow, we had managed to get impeccable seats, and even had priority boarding, and we were some of the first people on board.  The seats we were in, though not quite first-class, were Iceland Air’s equivalent of Business Class.  For a seven hour flight, the extra leg-room, and the television screens in the back of the seats were definite plusses.  The flight was even empty enough, that I could have hopped over to the other side of the aisle to get away from Ian, if I wanted.  Definitely felt like we were living the high life. Read More

Alright, so I’m a fail.  “I’ll post the next part tomorrow” turned into “I’ll get distracted with all the new sights and sounds, and post the next part 5 days later.”  Woops.  Oh well!

Anyways, on we trot.

The days following Christmas were a flurry of getting things done, and preparing for our next long trip, but there were two things we absolutely had to do before we left.  First off was Ian and my third year Anniversary.  Yay, go us!  When we first planned our trip overseas, we made sure to give ourselves a couple of specific travel windows.  We knew we wanted to be a day early to our first scheduled housesit, and we knew we didn’t want to go out for a huge meal the day before being stuck on an airplane for seven hours.  As we needed to be at our housesit December 31st, had our flight the 29th to the 30th, and our Anniversary is December 28th, we were forced to celebrate our Anniversary on the 27th.

Every year since we’ve been married, we have celebrated our Anniversary at The Melting Pot in Louisville, Colorado.  We love the food and the atmosphere, and it’s one of the few meals we like enough to splurge on each year.  At about $60+ per person for the 4-course meal, it really is a once-a-year type of extravagance.

Each individual course is delicious of course, but my favorite is probably the cheese fondue.  With veggies, fruits, and breads to dip into amazing melty cheese, what could be better?  We started with the Bacon & Tomato Alpine (a mix of gruyere, raclette, and fontina cheeses, along with beer, bacon, garlic, and tomato pesto) which we had never tried before.  Best. Decision. Ever.  The tanginess of the beer and cheeses mixed with the smoky, savory flavor of the bacon and garlic made for an amazing contrast to the bright freshness of the apples and veggies, and perfectly complemented the lightness of the breads. Read More