Europe · Travel

London, England – A Few ‘Local’ Experiences

We are so very lucky to have some extremely generous friends living in the Midlands region of England (about 2 hours outside of London) who host us for a week in their lovely home, after our little 4.5 days stint in London.  In addition to more sightseeing day trips, this allowed us to experience some local British culture that we would not otherwise have the opportunity to.

HOMEMADE TRADITIONAL ENGLISH FOOD
Our friend was set on fatting us up and she has cooked up a storm before we even arrived and then froze them all up.  The thought was that since we would be out road tripping everyday, it would be late by the time we get back to her house every night.  This way all the meal prepping would already be done and just needed to heat up the dinners.  How thoughtful was that, right?

The menu items included some Indian curry dish, Italian meat sauce with noodles, but most notably were the traditional English Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding as well as Shepherd’s Pie.  That Roast Beef meal could rival our Thanksgiving feast with all the various sides that were served.  And I also absolutely loved the Shepherd’s Pie.  Of course I have completely forgotten to take pictures of these delicious meals before we pigged out, so you will just have to take my word for it.  We were also introduced to the clotted cream and oh my goodness it tasted like heaven.  It’s better than any butter or cream that I’ve ever had.  So yummy that the danger of over consumption was way too high.  😅

OTHER TRADITIONAL FOOD & DRINK
We went to a local popular shop to pickup some authentic Fish n Chips for dinner one night.  We were told that traditionally the English folks like to get Fish n Chips as their Friday night dinners.  Though we were there on a Saturday night, the queue at the shop was still very long.  The fish was super delicious and we all (yes the kids too) loved it.  There were some leftover chips (fries) when we got home later that night and Hubby decided to add some flavors to them.  Our friend shouted out “I can’t believe you are modifying the national dish?!”  Sorry, we didn’t mean to disrespect the national dish, but they were really pretty blend…  😛

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After wolfed down the Fish n Chips dinner, we stopped by a local pub nearby.  We were never beer drinkers but our friends were convinced that it was because we did not taste the ‘right’ beer.  Hubby decided to give it another try and ordered a pint of local English beer.  And…the answer is still no, he just doesn’t like the taste.  So I think we can very safely say with conviction that we will never become beer drinkers.  😁  Going to pubs (public house) is such a big part of their culture and day-to-day life.  We would never see an older gentleman sitting in a pub in the U.S. reading newspaper while his dog sitting quietly on the floor next to him, would we?

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Another item on my to-do list is to have the English Afternoon Tea.  No any particular reason other than just being curious.  We ended up having the Afternoon Tea at England’s oldest coffee house ‘The Grand Cafe’ in Oxford, which also turned out to be our very last stop of this trip due to some mishap that occurred just prior to it (I’ll talk about the unfortunate turn of events in another post).  I did enjoy the scones, especially after they were slathered with that ‘to-die-for’ clotted cream (the cup with strawberry on top in the picture below).  The petit fours (aka tiny bite-size desserts) were pretty good too.  The finger sandwiches on the other hand were not exactly my cup of tea (no pun intended) though.

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RUGBY
Our friends live about 30 minutes away from the town Rugby, which is also our train stop from London.  And in case you have not figured it out, this town is where the sport rugby originated from.  Needless to say, rugby is widely popular in this region, probably even more than soccer (or I should say football), and our friends’ 10-year-old son is also an avid rugby player.  So on that Sunday morning, we all went to the local rugby club to see our very first rugby game.  In some areas the game is a little similar to American football, but for the most part I really couldn’t make out the rules and such.  All I know is that it made me wince when I see the kids got tackled to the ground without wearing any protective gear.  😱

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DRIVING
I was nervous about having to drive on the other side of the road but luckily Hubby was the one who ended up doing all of the driving, since we did not want to pay for me being the additional driver.  This was probably for the best anyway since I would most likely have been a complete wreck.  However, I think I was still pretty much an emotional nutcase regardless.  I am sure that I would not have done any better, but when Hubby drove the rental car, it tends to hug the left edge/line/curb of the road.  I constantly had to remind him to move closer to the middle.  The kids even started to keep a count of how many times the car jumped the curb in one day.  It was especially nerve wrecking when we were passing semi-trucks from the right, driving 80 miles per hour.  But the worst was when we were driving on this narrow, winding and hilly country road, while trying to keep up with our friends’ car in the front, who was not slowing down for us amateurs.  At one point I actually covered my eyes and whimpered because I was so sure that we were going to sideswipe the rental car on the left (where I sat) any second!  😂😂

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