Northern Wales and England
The last part of our trip was filled with even more hospitality experiences as we toured through Northern Wales and England. Most of you know that my husband is the author of No More Christian Nice Guy, and was invited to speak throughout England.
We stayed in Colwyn Bay for much of the time, traveling down to Gloucester, London, Sheffield and Liverpool. A highlight for Paul was attending the Liverpool soccer game. Being a high-school boys Varsity soccer coach, he was like a little kid himself!
A funny story about that night was when my husband disappeared during intermission to run (literally) to the nearest pub to watch the Manchester United soccer game. He watched the end of it, then ran back to see the ending performance of Wicked. Only my husband, so very passionate about soccer, would do something like that! We’re still laughing about it.
My new friends from Gloucester, Sue and Ally, took me on a great walk through Painswick, a fascinating step back to the flamboyant English Rococo period.
These magical gardens in this small town, which were laid out in the 18th century, had a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. We found our way up the hill to a small pub, where I had to duck to get in the door! Those English girls were a kick in the pants! True sisters, indeed!
We stayed at an old castle, Hatton Court that was quite magnificent.
We drove through the country side of England where every city had its own unique charm.
And we took the train down to London and visited Premier Radio/TV station where we did a live radio show, and where Paul also taped a TV show (whew! I got out of that one!)
The love and openness that we saw from these people made us feel like family. The generosity was enormous, as when Mel and Simon invited us to their home one Sunday in Colwyn Bay for a Moroccan meal.
We thought we had died and gone to heaven as we savored every bite. Those two gelled in the kitchen as Simon did the cooking and Mel helped along side her husband. It was a succulent meal, right down to the dessert, when they served lemon sorbet with Lemoncella on top (second most popular cordial in Italy). Heavenly.
Paul and I got to sit out on their deck and relax and enjoy the view and the bay. It was very cool how they gave us our time just to “hang out,” by ourselves.
On our last night we walked into the village of Dyserth, to The New Inn pub, and had another fantastic meal.
This would be our favorite night as our conversation fell, once more, to all the wonderful memories of the past two weeks. Folks over there really went all out to make us feel welcome and at home. They, beyond a doubt, succeeded.
Interestingly, the responses I’ve received from many friends who have been to Europe are all similar. They’ve agreed with our take on European hospitality and how fresh it is. As one of my friends mentioned, Europeans don’t seem to have the spoiled mentality and expectations that we Americans have. They are free to be who they are and just be raw, warm and hospitable, with no pretensions.
Another friend told me today that European priorities regarding family and time, in general, are so much healthier than ours. They are not frantic and rushing all the time. They spend more family time, as a whole, and are more relaxed.
They have such a sense of community!
As I mentioned in my Irish Hospitality post here, what are we teaching our children? Are they learning the importance of prioritizing what is important when it comes to relationships in general?
We are a little convicted by the running around that we do, with 3 very active kids.
It has definitely given my husband and I something to think about.