Stepping Back in Time - England

I felt as though we had instantly traveled back in time. The rolling hills of Stamford, England were dotted with sheep, and their fences - nothing more than perfectly manicured rows of shrubbery – made the countryside look like an organized quilt project. The driver, Dave, told us that we had arrived during the only "summer" weather they had had this year, so we were lucky to see everything bathed in steady sunshine. Dave orientated us on the history of the city as we wound our way through tiny villages and quaint family farms. Stamford was originally built as a Danish settlement over 1000 years ago, and the town eventually became a trade-town about a days carriage ride from London. Stamford is known for its abundance of limestone, and London’s Houses of Parliament were built with Stamford limestone.

As we rounded a corner and started descending upon the city, I let out a squeal of delight, “Chris is this really where we are staying for 6 days?! This is unbelievable beautiful!”
Pictures don’t do justice to this city, but I will try to take you on a visual journey and 
explain some of the history.

Everywhere you turn another alley opens up onto a hidden cafe or antique shop.

They say that in Stamford there are more churches and pubs than there are people. This beautiful church has been converted into office space, but from the outside, you wouldn't know that it was not a functional church.

The George Hotel is one of the most important buildings in Stamford. The exact date of completion is unknown, but it is thought that it may have been built around 947 A.D. The black bar that you can see across the road was used to hang traitors as a warning to all passer-byers that the laws must be obeyed . . . or else!

So many homes look like this; a mixture of the weathered limestone walls and cheerful perennials.

We took so many walks down the weathered streets of Stamford. It is obvious why Hollywood used this town to film Pride and Prejudice and Reservation Road - just to name two.

On Thursday afternoon while Chris worked, I found my way to the tourist information center and asked about a million questions. I discovered that Stamford was well knows for its outdoor theater productions, and that in fact, people often traveled there with the soul purpose of taking in a play or two. It was the last week of the summer that the theater would be open, and they were performing Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Tickets were about the only thing reasonably priced in England, so I purchased two for that evening's performance.

After a lovely dinner at Ask(a modern Italian restaurant), we caught a taxi and made our way to the outdoor theater.

Had the weather been slightly warmer, we might have joined the locals and the tourist alike for a romantic picnic dinner on the lawn. I absolutely love theater, so I was excited 
for the performance come rain or shine.

It did not rain, but as the sun set, our thin jackets were no match for the cool evening wind. all around us people were huddled under blankets and heavy coats; apparently we didn't get the memo to bring our favorite duvet! It was a wonderful performance, but we hurriedly made out way to the warm taxi as soon as the curtain fell.
If you ever find yourself in the charming town of Stamford, you cannot miss the Burghley House. Burghley is one of the largest and grandest estate homes built in the Elizabethan Age. Construction started on the home in 1555, and since it's completion, 18 generations of the same family have lived there.
To this day, there is a family of six who still call this mansion "home." I cannot imagine waking up to this every single day and taking an afternoon stroll through perfectly manicured gardens; it seems too much like a fairy tale.
There is an ancient dear park that still exists at Burghley House. There must be 500 deer contained in one of the mansion's parks. Initially the deer for kept for game shooting, although I am not sure what they do with them now. From what we could see, tourists were just taking loads of pictures of them - us included.

This is the Orangery Restaurant. I had afternoon tea - errr wine - on Thursday here. It is such a peaceful retreat.
On Saturday we spent the entire day exploring London. Dave was driving to the airport to pick someone up, so he offered to save us a little money and drop us off north of London. I just added a few pictures of our big city excursion to the end of this blog post. If you want to see any more, check out my Facebook album.

The beautiful Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
It started pouring rain in the middle of our day, so we ducked into a street-side wine shop to taste a few local white wines. Two young girls had just opened the shop, so we got to know them and their story, and we invited them to come to Serbia and try some Serbian wines.
Buckingham Palace.

We went to the Imperial War Museum - the highlight of the day for Chris.

I promise Kate and William were totally here! This is one of the craziest tourist traps! The line wrapped around Westminster Abbey, and admission was $25 per person!
We had a great day exploring London! Hopefully we will be back soon!

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