Project 52, Week 35, Part Two – More of England!

It’s time for Project 52, Week 35!

1999_07_17 2 Me at Bodiam

35 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, each week I’m taking one year of my life and blogging about it. This week, I’m covering the year I was 35 — June 14, 1999, to June 14, 2000.

But the years we lived in Europe seem to be impossible to condense into one blog post, so I’m giving in and posting multiple parts each week. Last time, I only got through the first day of our vacation in England, when we roamed around Dover Castle.

We spent that night near Dover, and the next day, July 17, went to Castle #74, one of my favorite castles of them all, Bodiam Castle — certainly the most beautiful castle I’ve visited.

1999_07_17 4 Bodiam

All around the castle are fields complete with sheep. And this castle has a moat (unlike most German castles where we lived.)

1999_07_17 1 Bodiam Castle

1999_07_17 3 Bodiam

And a rather amazing thing — a year or two ago, while working in the Virginia Room on genealogy, I learned that the knight who built Bodiam Castle was my direct ancestor. (This is true for thousands of other Americans, mind you, but I thought it was cool.) He wasn’t a very nice guy, and killed lots of people in France, but he did build an exceptionally beautiful castle.

1999_07_17 5 Bodiam

1999_07_17 6 Bodiam

1999_07_17 7 Bodiam

1999_07_17 8 Bodiam

1999_07_17 9 Bodiam

1999_07_17 10 Climbing walls

1999_07_17 11 Bodiam

1999_07_17 12 Bodiam

1999_07_17 13 Bodiam

1999_07_17 14 Me at Bodiam

1999_07_17 15 Josh at Bodiam

1999_07_17 16 Timmy at Bodiam

1999_07_17 17 Josh at Bodiam

1999_07_17 18 Bodiam

1999_07_17 19 Bodiam

1999_07_17 20 Bodiam

1999_07_17 21 Josh at Bodiam

1999_07_17 22 Bodiam

1999_07_17 23 Bodiam

1999_07_17 24 Bodiam and dirt

1999_07_17 25 Bodiam

1999_07_17 26 Bodiam

1999_07_17 27 Bodiam

1999_07_17 28 Bodiam

1999_07_17 29 Bodiam Moat

1999_07_17 30 Bodiam

1999_07_17 31 Bodiam

After visiting Bodiam Castle, we went on to Castle #75, Battle Abbey (which was fortified), where the Battle of Hastings was fought! The battlefield had a guided audio tour, so we could get a feel for how the battle went.

1999_07_17 33 Battle Abbey

1999_07_17 34 Battle

The audio tour took us all around the battlefield.

1999_07_17 35 Battlefield

1999_07_17 36 Battlefield

We gained an appreciation of how sloped the ground was.

1999_07_17 37 Battlefield

And the tour brought us back around to the Abbey

1999_07_17 38 Battle

1999_07_17 39 Battle Abbey

1999_07_17 40 Battle Abbey

1999_07_17 41 Battle Abbey

This stone marked the spot where King Harold was killed in 1066. Believe it or not, my eyes got misty when I stood on this spot — because I’d recently read The King’s Shadow, by Elizabeth Alder, which tells Harold’s story. It was silly, because if Harold hadn’t lost that battle, I’m sure I wouldn’t exist — the majority of my ancestors are English, with plenty of Norman blood. But the story was so powerful, I couldn’t help but mourn for Harold.

1999_07_17 42 King Harold

Here’s Jade (then called Josh) listening to the audio tour.

1999_07_17 43 Josh Audio

1999_07_17 44 Battle Abbey

1999_07_17 45 Battle Abbey

We went to a tea room in Hastings, where we had lunch and some fun with the statuary.

1999_07_17 46 Hastings

1999_07_17 47 Hastings

1999_07_17 48 Hastings

Next, we headed to Winnie-the-Pooh country! We visited the town of Hartfield, where A. A. Milne lived and explored the countryside where Christopher Robin used to play.

Here’s the Enchanted Place at the Top of the Forest!

1999_07_17 49 Enchanted Place

And the Poohsticks Bridge! The Poohsticks Bridge!

1999_07_17 50 Poohsticks

1999_07_17 51 Poohsticks

1999_07_17 52 Poohsticks

That night, we drove to where we’d rented a self-catering cottage in Wisbech, in the middle of the fens. It wasn’t the most picturesque spot itself, but it was very central, for all our further travels.

On the 18th, we headed East. First stop was Castle #76, Framlingham Castle.

1999_07_18 1 Framlingham

1999_07_18 2 Framlingham

Framlingham had another audio tour. It was mostly a shell wall, which we could walk around. Framlingham had something like 17 chimneys (added later).

1999_07_18 3 Framlingham

The view over the wall was lovely.

1999_07_18 4 Framlingham View

And here’s the inside:

1999_07_18 5 Framlingham

1999_07_18 6 Framlingham

1999_07_18 7 Framlingham

1999_07_18 8 Framlingham

1999_07_18 9 Josh at Framlingham

Sheep dog trials were happening in the field next to the castle! We watched for awhile from the wall.

1999_07_18 10 Sheep dogs

1999_07_18 11 Sheep dog

1999_07_18 12 Framlingham

1999_07_18 13 Framlingham

Our next stop that day was Castle #77, Somerleyton Hall — more of a grand palace than the ruin that was Framlingham. But the grounds were simply lovely.

1999_07_18 14 Somerleyton Hall

This tent was actually a tea room.

1999_07_18 15 Somerleyton

1999_07_18 16 Somerleyton

1999_07_18 17 Somerleyton

1999_07_18 18 Somerleyton

And the grounds had a labyrinth!

1999_07_18 19 Labyrinth

Josh made it to the center first.

1999_07_18 20 Josh Center

1999_07_18 21 Labyrinth Center

1999_07_18 22 Labyrinth

That covers the second and third days of our England vacation!

I did mention that England was one of my favorite places, right? I’d like to say it was my second-favorite vacation of all our years in Germany, but hmmm, our Bavaria vacation was great, too. (Tied for second, maybe?)

So anyway, next up will be Cambridge, London, more castles, Oxford, more castles, and the seaside. (Perhaps not all in one post.)

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