5/5/07

Northern Wales and England

The last part of our trip was filled with even more hospitality experiences as we toured through Northern Wales and England. Most of you know that my husband is the author of No More Christian Nice Guy, and was invited to speak throughout England.

We stayed in Colwyn Bay for much of the time, traveling down to Gloucester, London, Sheffield and Liverpool. A highlight for Paul was attending the Liverpool soccer game. Being a high-school boys Varsity soccer coach, he was like a little kid himself!

We also take pride in the fact that we only took one taxi on the whole trip, and that was in London!

We walked most of the time, or took the train or tube or bus (unless being driven in a car by friends).

I loved the new Broadway show in London, Wicked, playing at the Apollo Theatre, right around the corner from where we stayed in the Victoria area.

A funny story about that night was when my husband disappeared during intermission to run (literally) to the nearest pub to watch the Manchester United soccer game. He watched the end of it, then ran back to see the ending performance of Wicked. Only my husband, so very passionate about soccer, would do something like that! We’re still laughing about it.

My new friends from Gloucester, Sue and Ally, took me on a great walk through Painswick, a fascinating step back to the flamboyant English Rococo period.

These magical gardens in this small town, which were laid out in the 18th century, had a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. We found our way up the hill to a small pub, where I had to duck to get in the door! Those English girls were a kick in the pants! True sisters, indeed!

We stayed at an old castle, Hatton Court that was quite magnificent.
We drove through the country side of England where every city had its own unique charm.
And we took the train down to London and visited Premier Radio/TV station where we did a live radio show, and where Paul also taped a TV show (whew! I got out of that one!)

The love and openness that we saw from these people made us feel like family. The generosity was enormous, as when Mel and Simon invited us to their home one Sunday in Colwyn Bay for a Moroccan meal.
We thought we had died and gone to heaven as we savored every bite. Those two gelled in the kitchen as Simon did the cooking and Mel helped along side her husband. It was a succulent meal, right down to the dessert, when they served lemon sorbet with Lemoncella on top (second most popular cordial in Italy). Heavenly.
Paul and I got to sit out on their deck and relax and enjoy the view and the bay. It was very cool how they gave us our time just to “hang out,” by ourselves.
On our last night we walked into the village of Dyserth, to The New Inn pub, and had another fantastic meal.
This would be our favorite night as our conversation fell, once more, to all the wonderful memories of the past two weeks. Folks over there really went all out to make us feel welcome and at home. They, beyond a doubt, succeeded.

Interestingly, the responses I’ve received from many friends who have been to Europe are all similar. They’ve agreed with our take on European hospitality and how fresh it is. As one of my friends mentioned, Europeans don’t seem to have the spoiled mentality and expectations that we Americans have. They are free to be who they are and just be raw, warm and hospitable, with no pretensions.

Another friend told me today that European priorities regarding family and time, in general, are so much healthier than ours. They are not frantic and rushing all the time. They spend more family time, as a whole, and are more relaxed.
They have such a sense of community!

As I mentioned in my Irish Hospitality post here, what are we teaching our children? Are they learning the importance of prioritizing what is important when it comes to relationships in general?

We are a little convicted by the running around that we do, with 3 very active kids.

It has definitely given my husband and I something to think about.

9 comments:

Barb said...

Look at the FLOWERS on the vines behind your new chickie friends! And sheep! Great photos of a great trip!

angeleyes Blue said...

Where were the kids? You look and sound like it was the most relaxing trip ever. Glad you are home. Have a great Sunday :)

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Sandy ~ I have SO enjoyed hearing about your trip, viewing your pictures, and vacationing vicariously through you! I am thrilled it was such a success for you and Paul and that you had a truly fabulous time :-)

Rhoda said...

Sandy, it's been great hearing about your adventures in Europe. How great that your hubby was asked to speak & that ya'll got to enjoy such a fantastic time over there together. I love your recap of the time you spent there & all the friends you made. Love the pic of you & Paul on the deck...sprawled out on those chairs, that's the life. I think your recap of how Europeans are compared to Americans is right on. I spent some time in Italy back in the early 90's & they were the warmest, friendliest people & just welcomed us in their homes like family. They do have a better sense of family & community than we do & they sure don't have the rush, rush mentality like Americans do. I love that about Europe!

So, if you're back already, welcome home! Thanks for the reviews...it was fun to tag along.

Rhoda
Southern Hospitality

Rachelle said...

OH, I've just been adoring these Ireland posts and all your thoughts about hospitality. I'm living vicariously through you!

BTW -- I tagged you on the Morning Face Challenge. Check it out on my blog... and do it if you dare!

Joy said...

Sandy, the pics are amazing! Looks like you had really fabulous weather too!

The kids must be happy to have you two home...

:)

Elizabeth said...

Wow! I think Joe and I are going to try to be stowaways on your next trip. It looks like like it was just fabulous!

Welcome home!

Jana said...

First off, I think this is my FIRST visit to your blog, in spite of the fact that you've commented on mine and I make it a policy to ALWAYS visit my commenters. So I don't know what happened there.

Secondly, I LOVE all these pictures. I LOVE them. Beautiful.

Thirdly, I DID NOT know that your husband wrote No More Christian Nice Guy. That book is AWESOME. A breath of fresh air. I read it, and then basically YELLED all the awesome stuff at my husband, who in turn told me to calm down because he's not the one who needs that message. (He's the epitome of a "don't put me in a Christian box" kinda guy.)

Anyway, I'm glad I found this blog!

Nadine said...

You and your hubby look so happy in your picture. The gardens are so beautiful. What a great opportunity to visit so many beautiful places with hubbby when he's not working the tour.