Project 52, Week 35, Part 4 – Oxford and Castles!

It’s time for Project 52, Week 35!

1999_07_24 13 Favorite

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.

So far, with three posts, I haven’t gotten very far into the year, because we took an amazing vacation to England. First, we roamed around Dover Castle, then we went to Bodiam Castle, Battle Abbey, Winnie-the-Pooh country, Framlingham Castle, and Somerleyton Hall, and next to Cambridge, London, Weeting Castle, Castle Acre Priory, and Castle Acre Castle.

Tonight I’m hoping to finish describing that English vacation. On Thursday, July 22, 1999, we made the long drive to Oxford. (I’m pretty sure Steve was hoping one of our kids would decide to go to college in Oxford or Cambridge. It didn’t end up working out that way, but we did all have fun visiting.) On the way there, we stopped at a lavender farm.

1999_07_22 1 Lavender

The next stop was the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery in Aylesbury.

1999_07_22 1 Roald Dahl

1999_07_22 2 Roald Dahl

At Oxford, we visited The Oxford Story – an actual ride that taught you the history of Oxford. And of course we visited bookshops!

1999_07_22 3 Oxford

On Friday, July 23, we started out the day at Castle #82, Castle Rising Castle. (Another village with “Castle” in the name.)

1999_07_23 1 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 2 Castle Rising

This was another castle with an audio tour. You can see Jade (then called Josh) is wearing headphones. Steve and Timmy weren’t interested. (So Josh and I went through the castle much more slowly. But it was so interesting!)

1999_07_23 1 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 2 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 3 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 4 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 4a Castle Rising

1999_07_23 5 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 6 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 7 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 8 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 9 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 10 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 11 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 12 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 13 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 14 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 15 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 16 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 17 Castle Rising

There were some earthworks around this castle, too, so we did some rolling down them.

1999_07_23 18 Rolling

1999_07_23 19 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 20 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 21 Castle Rising

1999_07_23 22 Castle Rising - Copy

1999_07_23 23 Castle Rising - Copy

1999_07_23 24 Castle Rising - Copy

1999_07_23 25 Castle Rising - Copy

We suspected it might be a tacky American thing to do, but we had a picnic lunch on the grounds.

1999_07_23 26 Castle Rising Picnic

Next, the same day, since we were on an island, after all, we headed for the Beach! We went to the town of Hunstanton.

1999_07_23 27 Hunstanton

We went to the Sea Life Centre there, a small aquarium.

1999_07_23 28 Sea Life Centre

1999_07_23 29 Hunstanton

And then we took a boat ride along the coast in a DUKW — an amphibious vehicle like they used to land on the beaches of Normandy.

1999_07_23 34 DUKW

1999_07_23 30 Boat ride

1999_07_23 31 Boat

1999_07_23 32 Boat

1999_07_23 33 Boat

We had to visit the carnival there by the beach.

1999_07_23 35 Carnival

1999_07_23 36 Carnival

1999_07_23 37 Carnival

And we finished our eventful day with a walk by the sea. And in the sea.

1999_07_23 38 Wading

1999_07_23 39 Beach

1999_07_23 40 Beach

1999_07_23 41 Old boat

1999_07_23 42 Beach

1999_07_23 43 Lighthouse

Our final day in England was Saturday, July 24. We drove south to catch the ferry at Dover. (And on the way, we passed a van with a family from our church. They were heading into England.) We stopped along the way at Castle #83, another of the prettiest castles, Leeds Castle in Kent. There I snapped my very favorite castle picture (at the top) with the swans posing.

We did touch the castle, but we didn’t have time for a tour. We did walk all over the beautiful grounds, though.

1999_07_24 1 Leeds Castle

1999_07_24 2 Leeds

1999_07_24 3 Leeds

1999_07_24 4 Leeds

1999_07_24 5 Leeds

Another castle with a Labyrinth on its grounds!

1999_07_24 6 Labyrinth

There was also a Grotto.

1999_07_24 7 Grotto

1999_07_24 8 Leeds

1999_07_24 9 Leeds

1999_07_24 10 Leeds

1999_07_24 11 Leeds

1999_07_24 12 Leeds

1999_07_24 14 Leeds

1999_07_24 15 Leeds

1999_07_24 16 Leeds

1999_07_24 17 Leeds

And so we said goodbye to England. Now, when we’d arrived, I’d been thrilled to see the white cliffs of Dover with my own eyes. But it had been a cloudy day, and I didn’t get any pictures. The day we departed was perfect for that.

1999_07_24 18 Dover

1999_07_24 19 Dover

1999_07_24 20 Dover

So that was our amazing and unforgettable family vacation to England July 1999. And all the car travel of the week was accompanied by the reading of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I can confidently say that a magnificent time was had by all.

(Now I’ve gotten through a month of the year I was 35!)

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