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best vacation ever

It’s been almost a month since we’ve returned from England and Scotland and I’m finally getting back into my old routine at home.  When friends and family ask us whether we enjoyed our trip I really don’t know what to say.  It’s such a mixed bag for me.  There were some great moments but also some really bad ones.  I think Stink had a good time but I feel like we had to work REALLY hard for her smiles this time around.  Most of that can be attributed to the fact that she’s 3 and something as simple as flushing the toilet for her can cause a meltdown of epic proportions.  But some of it was due to other factors as well: the length of our trip, the amount of activities I had planned, the phases of the moon.

But I, ever the optimist, prefer to dwell on the good moments.  I’m sure there will be a post in the future about everything that went wrong on this most recent vacation but first I’d like to remind myself of everything that went right.  So here are 5 reasons why our trip across the pond was our best vacation ever.

1. The Food

Contrary to popular belief British food is actually tasty.  REALLY tasty.  Even the processed foods like Lunchables, apple juice and Skittles are better than our American versions.  I tried plenty of English and Scottish foods on our 16-day trip: haggis, steak and ale pie, cullen skink (a type of fish chowder), fish and chips.

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But my all-time favorite dish was Cornish pasties.  I could live on Cornish pasties for the rest of my life!  It’s like a delicious pot roast stuffed inside a flaky croissant.  A cheap little takeaway food that you can find at any food stand, it’s really a must-try food if you’re visiting the UK.  I’m currently looking for an easy recipe so Brandon can make his own Cornish pasties, if you happen to have one!

best vacation ever
Afternoon tea was my second favorite dish, only after Cornish pasties

2. The Weather

We were so lucky on our vacation that we only had 2 rainy days and one of those didn’t really count because it only rained when we were driving.  For the rest of our trip we had sunny weather, though it was a little windy and chilly most days.  You’d be surprised how windy London and other parts of England can be!

best vacation ever
At least bringing her rain boots wasn’t a complete waste of space

3. The Sunsets

Because of #2 we had an abundance of #3.  The sunsets on our trip were stunning. For 3 nights I sat on Hadrian’s Wall admiring pink and purple clouds dotting the sky.  One evening in Scotland we had another wonderful sunset, though I didn’t stay awake too long to enjoy it because I was starting to get a cold.  And the last 2 nights of our trip I was rewarded with more beautiful sunsets over the rolling hills in Kent.  It’s not that we’ve never seen a good sunset on vacation before, but here in Great Britain we had an abundance of them all over the country.  I took more photos of sunsets than I care to admit!

best vacation ever
Epic sunset along Hadrian’s Wall

4. The Bonding Time

My mother (Nonna) rarely gets to visit Stink on her own.  Living 16 hours apart makes it hard to see each other and when we do it’s usually at large family gatherings where Stink’s attention is divided among everyone else, namely the cousins she adores so much.  So I was really looking forward to this vacation and the one-on-one time that my mom would get to have with her, time that my father never got.  Stink enjoyed bedtime stories, foot rubs and silly songs with Nonna for two solid weeks and both of them enjoyed every minute of it.  There was also some serious bonding time over the backseat vomiting when Stink got sick but I’ll save that story for another day.

best vacation ever
Nonna’s reading Madeline in London, one of Stink’s favorite stories
best vacation ever
Bird watching is so fun that they forgot they’re sitting in goose poo

5. The Season

There’s a reason why I love traveling in May.  Great weather, small crowds, and cute baby animals!  We experienced all three in both England and Scotland.  We even traveled over a bank holiday and still didn’t have to deal with the same crowds we experienced last year in Paris.  While the temperature was a little too cool for my mom, who dressed in upwards of 5 layers a day, it was perfect for me.  Yes, May was an absolutely perfect month to travel to Great Britain.

best vacation ever
So many babies!!

Check out my follow-up post, 6 Reasons Why Great Britain Was Our Worst Vacation Ever.  Boy, have I got some stories in that one!

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