PettaughSeptember 1, 2016 in the United Kingdom
After my birthday celebrations in Nottingham we decided to spend our last 3 weeks of freedom in sunny Suffolk with Sarah's parents. Despite only being situated a two and a half hour drive away in East Anglia, the weather difference and change in atmosphere is quite extraordinary. Even if the rest of the country was facing Armageddon at the hands of a ruthless storm or asteroid collision, I am pretty sure it would be a windless 26 degrees in Suffolk and the finches would still be chirping. We have come to Suffolk with a round about 'plan' but our primary objective was to chill our beans before being thrust back into the world of work. And that is what we have done! Three weeks is a lot to describe so I will do my best to summarise.... We have been touring some of the beautiful Suffolk areas; having days out to the beaches at Dunwich, Southwold, Walberswick and Felixstowe. All were beautiful and our days swimming with sharks and sea snakes were soon forgotten as we refused to swim in Dunwich after spotting a few moon jellyfish.. ahh well! Learning about Dunwich and the huge chunk of it which is now claimed by the sea due to erosion was both interesting and shocking. Needless to say me and Sarah have also spent our time visiting Ipswich and the Suffolk and Norfolk aerospace museum where we learnt how aeroplanes fly, viewed some classic UK, USA and Soviet war planes post WWI and had a go (relatively successfully) at completing a flight simulator. I also took the opportunity to bring my road bike to the south and get some nice flat miles in. As well as finally being back in the saddle it was also an opportunity to explore the surrounding countryside and drool over some of the ludicrous houses in the area. They are the kind of houses that make you want to knock on their door and ask them what they do for a living....... Then immediately regret it as you know it can't possibly have been an honest path! Between days out and rides, we have spent our time outside reading, doing puzzles, dining out with several of Sarah's friends and family and in my own case, getting destroyed at every card game available. On the 19th Sarah had a great birthday where super boyfriend managed to stumble across a romantic boat we could have a high class dinner on. I also finally bought her the watch she had been asking for since march... Better late than never. Yesterday we managed to visit the illustrious city of Cambridge and what a day it was! After catching the 'park and ride' to the river Cam we proceeded to take a punting boat tour of the university grounds for £16 each, I would definitely recommend it to a UK tourist. Me, Sarah and her parents had a 45 minute tour by an incredibly knowledgeable host who pointed out all of the college's such as st Johns, Trinity and the Chapel and told us about their history, student life, pranks and famous alumni/fellows such as sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking. He also explained about the architecture and buildings designed by Christopher Wren and pointed out the (incredibly ugly) first building in the world ever designed by a computer. After our trip we had a nice meal at the not-so-British Las Iguanas then headed for the FREE Fitzwilliam museum. I am not too intrigued by art museums but it was free and we were on a cultural binge so why not! The two artefacts that particularly caught my attention were firstly a Bible. This was a huge book (about 60cm x 40cm and 4 inches thick) and dated back to the 14th century. The care put into the typography, artwork and binding was incredible and its age just astounded me. The pages were worn and torn slightly but this artefact was still in a readable condition. Secondly I loved the axe gun found in the armoury, it does exactly what it says on the tin - it is an axe with a gun popping out of the handle. It was made by the Germans during the 17th century. If Hitler had been concentrating on manufacturing axe guns from 1609 instead of trying to master nuclear weapons we could all be speaking another language now........ Ah nein!
I am sitting here in sleepy Pettaugh, under a walnut tree in Sarah's parents garden the day before we return to Nottingham and conclude our travels for now. We shall be moving into our lovely new flat and shall attempt to start my own company, so rather than stopping our adventure, it is merely taking on a new identity. I have thoroughly loved our time off together, 5 months in total. Our 3 months circumnavigating the globe was crazy and our 2 months visiting relatives and travelling the UK has also been great and has actually primed us a bit for life at home so the end of our holiday will not hit us quite so hard. We have learnt a lot about the planet. For that reason I would recommend the time off to everyone I know. Travelling is not a necessity, as some people are genuinely not bothered about travel and to be honest are probably better off staying within the borders. However, five months off work with no money pressure and with your loved one can give you time to stop and think about your life in general and provides an opportunity to change path if that is what you feel needs to happen to make you content. It is what I have done and has personally increased my resolve to stay true on the path my life is currently heading. I would also recommend that although travelling on your own or as a group has its benefits (I've done both) you should go with your spouse if you are lucky enough to have a girlfriend or wife. This takes off all the socialising pressures and you can just be yourself with a loved one for five months which in turn makes you more relaxed and less lonely through out your travels. Having a faithful companion also helps during those inevitable lows where you just want to catch the next flight back to Heathrow, you support each other though these moments and emerge the other side even more enthusiastic than before. I can safely say if Sarah was not with me I would not have made it to Thailand having spent all my money on prepacked sandwiches and taxis! It also provides a test for a relationship. If you are together after 5 months of pretty much only each other for company, having been through the stresses of travelling, illnesses, hormones and a lack of toilet facilities, together, there is nothing you cannot do!
That's pretty much it, they are my recommendations and as for our favourite place, Fijis marine life gets the abroad prize but sunny Britain has to take the overall number one spot! Our beautiful and unpopulated countryside as well as our wild coast and historical cities have won me over through their sheer character, they also provide a half decent bike ride 😋 (Sarah's disagreeing, she's seen this and wants to add Iceland and New Zealand to the favourites list)Read more