Posts Tagged With: day trips

Tuscan Vineyard Trailride

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I don’t think I can count the number of hours I’ve spent in the saddle. I can, however, remember every single destination trail ride. Riding a few miles up from our starting point at a barn in Colorado comes to mind. This trail ride kinda tops them all in terms of scenery.

I booked Kate and I a ride through Fun in Tuscany. It included pick up and drop off in the center of Florence, as well as a wine tasting/food pairing lunch (after the ride, of course).

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Our trail guide

The stable was located a little over 30 minutes from our pickup point and surrounded by some of the most breathtaking countryside I’ve ever seen. We drank a few cappuccini as we waited on a patio, and sampled different kinds of honey. I never thought a honey tasting could be all that interesting… but the group we were with discussed in-depth the differences in each type… the hazelnut honey was my favorite. yum.

The previous tour was late getting back, so we hung out in the barn area, saying hi to the old goat. Just from the barn, the view was amazing. The tour guide helped the less experienced people up into their saddles first, and gave them brief instructions on steering, stopping, going, etc.

Kate and I, as we had the most experience, were at the back of the line. When I mounted from the ground and comfortably picked up my reins, he just blinked at me and said, “You’re good.”

Even though I was slightly bummed I wouldn’t be close enough to the tour guide to test 20160614_122018any of my Italian horse-related vocabulary… there’s something to be said for being at the back of the line on a trail ride. You don’t have to be nose-to-tail. We got to walk around a farm, through a slightly wooded area, and right down into a vineyard, going between rows of grapevines. It was sunny with a slight mist, which made the temperature PERFECT.

Of course, Kate and I would have been happy with a 5-hour trail ride, but it was so relaxing to sit in a saddle, in a quiet vineyard, after we’d been averaging 7 miles of walking a day through crowds of tourists. Instead of our feet being sore, now it was our riding muscles.

I’ve never spent this much time in a vineyard, but I definitely didn’t get tired of our tranquil surroundings! By the end, Kate and I were scheming of ways to get hired as the next trail guides. I wouldn’t mind riding that trail every day.

The wine-pairing lunch was just icing on the cake at the end. I now know how to look like a snob at my next wine tasting, as well… And I’m still dreaming about the lasagne they served us. Overall? On a scale of 1 to 10, the day was about a 15. Definitely recommended!

 

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Holy vineyard view, Batman!

 

 

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Brighton, Round 3

The first time I went to Brighton I was by myself, had missed breakfast, and so happily stumbled on a lovely little privately owned coffee shop… And that is now my Brighton “tradition.” Get off train. Walk past hipster secondhand shops. Get coffee.

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Kate and I both knew our limits at this point in the week. No sightseeing without being sufficiently caffeinated or we will lose steam quickly. It doesn’t hurt when the coffee is also amazing. So we relaxed for a minute with our lattes.

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Looking inland from our spot on the beach.

But I was ready for some (British) sun, so we walked down towards the pebble beach to relax soon after that. You would think it might be difficult to get comfortable on a pebble beach, but it is surprisingly nice… Especially since I had my cardigan for a pillow.

I was disappointed to discover the Ferris Wheel had come down just one month previous. I had been wanting to ride it for awhile and decided this would be the trip for it…. Until it was mysteriously not on the shore.

At least Brighton has some of the most interesting people-watching I’ve ever seen. So we leisurely walked around The Lanes and had some (more) salmon sandwiches and tea in my favorite spot. One of the staff asked if we were locals, so we must have started sufficiently blending in… Or they hadn’t heard us talk too loudly. haha.

Brighton was my much-needed relaxation day for our week in London. We did nothing but wander aimlessly through bookshops, side streets, the pier, and some pubs. For someone who has dipped her toes in the sea in Florida, Mexico, and some Caribbean islands… It isn’t the best choice for a swim. (Maybe you can handle ice cold water better than I. And I’ve never been in Brighton during July/August, so maybe then it’s better?) But the beach and pier are perfect for getting some sun and fresh air after being surrounded by the concrete and stone in London.

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Stonehenge and Bath

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Me, Lily, Amie. Photo cred and best group selfie taker award goes to Amie!

I cannot believe I neglected to post about my day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Two of my bucket list items crossed off, and no blog documentation? I must have been going crazy. Or, you know, I was just in the midst of writing my 20+ blog posts for work at that point in my 4 month adventure.

Amie, Lily, and I loaded up on the bus on a cloudy British morning for a perfect day. Traffic was kind of horrible, but we still had plenty of time to listen to our audio guides once we hit Stonehenge. Stonehenge was, actually, much smaller than we all expected it to be. However, I predictably geeked out a bit and captioned all of my Instagram and Facebook pictures with Doctor Who quotes. From the season 5 two-part finale, of course. Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica takes the Universe!

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With traffic once again on the slow side, it took us awhile to get to Bath. But once we did, I decided that even with the tourists it was all so picturesque I might be able to live there for awhile.

We were all three excited to see inside the Roman Baths. We were warned off touching the water, though I’m pretty sure none of us would have wanted to touch the lime green standing water anyway. The history and other artifacts that were in and around the structure were all fascinating. The waters were believed to have healing powers, though I would bet they also used to be less, well, green.

We all chipped in to share a glass of the (not green, but not entirely clear) “healing” hot spring water from the area. It tasted a bit like eggs. I suppose I’d choke it down if I really did believe it had healing powers.

So then we got the taste out of our mouths with some tea and scones at the Pump Room. We finished off our day walking around Bath before hopping on the coach to head back home to London. (I miss saying that. Home to London.)

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Behold, the greenest water I have ever seen.

“Now, the question of the hour is: Who’s got the Pandorica? Answer: I do.”

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Travel by Train

IMG_2452Over my four months abroad, the train has definitely been my favorite way to travel. From Brighton to Derbyshire and across Italy, it has been the most relaxing way for me to get around, so we were definitely utilizing this mode of transportation when my parents came to visit. (Why don’t we have widespread trains back home? Get it together, America.) Dad was excited for his first train ride, and I think Mom was just happy to travel above ground. We took a little day trip to Brighton, and were able to enjoy the whole trip without any stress.

The day after Brighton, however, we turned into a traveling circus. Have you ever taken three people with 45 lbs suitcases and a carry on each (plus a backpack for me, because, well, 4 months abroad means needing more stuff) on a bus, then the tube, then through King’s Cross? Hahaha. We probably would have been better off with a taxi to King’s Cross, but you live and learn and attempt to save money.

I’m already looking back and laughing at how hilarious we probably appeared, from King’s Cross to York and York to Edinburgh. Thank goodness for taxi drivers who didn’t complain too much about the heavy luggage on the way to/from the train stations, hotels, and airports. (Because we did definitely use taxis in York and Edinburgh.)

Now, the US just needs to get some decent train lines for passengers so I can easily visit all the friends I met this summer! And while I do actually love the traveling part of traveling (except for airport security), I found this quote appropriate:

Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.  ~Regina Nadelson

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