england & ireland: pt. 2

20130804_allen_ireland-212i I hope y'all enjoyed my first post on our Summer trip to England & Ireland. London is such a magical place with incredible history. I hate that we only just stopped by to say hello! This post, I'm showing you photos from my day with Uncle Dana & Aunt Lin. I haven't been out to their place, Nottler's Lodge, since I was 7 or 8 and haven't seen Uncle Dana & Aunt Lin in forever! ย They live just outside of London in a small village called Bricketwood, about a 20 minute train ride outside of London. When I was a kid, I would camp in their back yard, go visit Aunt Lin's dad, Reg, ride their tractors, talk with their foxes, fly across their land on my little bike, and once I even buried a baby bird that fell from its nest! I was a pretty decent kid, I think. Anyway, they picked us up from the train station and we traveled around the countryside with them visiting where I romped around as a kid, a beautiful cathedral, & a 900-year-old Royal pub. And even better, Jerry and his mom, Donna, had never met the legendary Uncle Dana, so this day was just amazing!ย Needless to say, family, traveling, & Pimm's make for one awesome day!

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Our first stop was to St. Alban's Cathedral, a beautiful medieval Abbey church who had a great take on its art & architecture. Being the art history nerd that I am, I have absolutely loved visiting churches across Europe & actually knowing what the art means, and the style of architecture, and just...well, being an overall nerd. St. Alban was a martyr for the Church. He was converted to Christianity by the priest of Alban, and when the Roman soldiers came to execute the priest, St. Alban impersonated the priest & died in his place. He was beheaded on the site of the Abbey & legend has it that his body rolled down the hill after his death. Gross, huh? But such a stunning church. The stained glass above is was done in memory of Princess Diana, and the colorful modern-day saints had me in love. I mean, who lets a local group of students create modern-day saints of John Lennon & Martin Luther King, Jr. to stand at the altar? St. Alban's does.

After we traversed around St. Alban's Abbey, we hopped in the car and took some beautiful back highways (and of course avoided all the highwaymen) to The Royal Standard. This pub claims to be the oldest pub in England, and while all pubs claim that, this is the only royal pub in England. This pub has some amazing history, so click this link if you want to know because it's a lot. A lot happens in 900 years, people. Definitely too much to blog about. But the coolest part I will talk about. In this lovely pub that smells of wood, beer, and fish & chips (just the tip of the aroma-iceberg), lies a hidden room that housed King Charles I when England was in a civil war. The pub was also an inn, and the hidden priest's hole housed the King when he disguised as a servant to escape his enemies. The priest hole, or hidden room, is seen labeled in the picture below, saved His Majesty's life. Pretty awesome, huh? danadip1

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Somehow, just somehow, that awesome beer glass & it's mate will forever be with us. I had to get rid of some coffee mugs, but it was well worth it.

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This was our table guest. Such a loving cat who just wanted the "fries with eyes," which were little fried Whitebait fish. And I love the old glass windows where the glass has warped over the years. Such a beautiful thing to look through & hard to get anything in focus with a camera.

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This is the priest's hole where King Charles I hid during war! I hate we can't get in but it's royal & historical, which basically means you can't touch it in England. 20130804_allen_ireland-220i

Oh, and you have to love good ol' Uncle Dana! He can't stop talking for one second to take a picture! Here he is with his lovely wife, Aunt Lin, & Mrs. Donna! Such a great day with y'all! Thank you for being such lovely tour guides!

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Tomorrow-be ready for some photos of Dublin. And beer. And books. And ice cream. :)