Thursday, May 12, 2011
Essex is in the northeast of London, around ~50mi away from where we were staying. It wouldn’t be in the itinerary if my Mom hadn’t asked me to meet up with her friend, Tita Camille. She is married to a nice British guy (“Uncle Trev”) who jokingly exclaimed “Those are the funniest couple of girls I’ve seen.” upon seeing Jerome and Dale. Apparently, they were expecting me to be with two girls. Oh well.
Our first stop was their beautiful home. We were given the grand tour and I was pointed out to where we were supposed to sleep had we decided to stay with them overnight. (I have to admit, I was really tempted when I saw the pretty pink room with a tub in the bathroom!) Then we had lunch– a heavenly lunch!– of Pinoy food. At this point, I missed unflavored rice and ulam so much that I could hardly get through the small talk before devouring the food.
(Sidebar: I’ve realized– and this was proven by my recent Singapore trip– that the thing I will miss most when I live abroad is our food here in the Philippines. There is nothing like it!)
After lunch, they took us sightseeing. We passed through the smallest recorded town in Britain, Manningtree. It took all of thirty seconds to go around, haha. We also went to Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town, Colchester, so we can see Colchester Castle, an ancient Norman castle.
We didn’t make it in time for any of the guided tours inside, but the entrance, the outside of the castle, and the grounds were cool enough. The castle is so ancient, that the information about it includes words like “viking invasion”.
When we had our heart’s fill of castle pics, the next place to go was to go see birds. Yup. Birds! Specifically, swans. After gathering our things from their house, we stopped by “the estuary” and I was taken aback by how close these swans were. Well, not close as in they have a special, meaningful friendship. I meant, they weren’t afraid of me. If anything, I was more afraid they’d bite me. Apparently, they’re so used to people coming over and feeding them that they’re used to it.
The bird poop smell notwithstanding, it was a nice way to end the afternoon.