Destination: Blockley, United Kingdom

We had a several-hours long wait at the Portland airport between turning in our rental car and our flight taking off. We read, played games, took walks (at separate times), ate lunch and dinner, and the time eventually passed and we were one our way!

Each travel day is unique. Some are easy while others turn out to be a challenge, and some are longer than others depending on where we’re traveling to.

Our journey over to the United Kingdom wasn’t a difficult one, nor was it unpleasant. What it was though was l-o-n-g, and ended up being sort of expensive. It felt at times like our big savings on airline tickets were almost eaten up as we paid for airport meals and local transportation after we arrived.

Although our flight didn’t take off until nearly 8:00 pm., it was still light out and we got a good look at Mt. Rainier as we passed by on our way up to the north. Our exit row seats had tons of legroom and were very comfortable, well worth the extra we paid for them.
The sun was coming up as we began to cross over Greenland. We didn’t see much snow or ice down there.
In spite of departing a bit late from Portland, we arrived at the Reykjavik airport on time on Sunday morning. After locating our departure gate we enjoyed a light breakfast of chia bowls and coffee.
Somehow Brett and I ended up across the aisle from each other on our flight to London. We were pretty well exhausted at this point though and both of us slept through most of the flight.
It’s always a relief when our bags come off the carousel, and they showed up fairly quickly at Heathrow. We got some cash from an ATM, and then had to figure out on our own how to get to our hotel as they had accidentally sent us instructions for their Gatwick location versus Heathrow.
Big planes passed by constantly right across the road from our hotel room, but it the soundproofing was incredible and we never heard a thing. Booking that room for the night turned out to be a very good decision as we were extremely tired by the time we got to London, and were thankful to get a good night’s sleep before starting off for the Cotswolds.
Brett opted for a full English breakfast at the hotel before we left. I stuck with fresh fruit and sausages.
We had three train connections to make to get out to the Cotswolds, with not much time between them. After being spoiled by stations in Japan we found the signage and instructions here to be lacking, and it was difficult getting our big staircases up and down the flights of stairs inside one of the stations in order to make it to our train on time (the others thankfully had elevators). We figured it all out though and made it out to Moreton-in-Marsh on time, where we caught a taxi over to Blockley. Our train stopped in Oxford on the way – I was surprised by how close it is to where we’re staying.
This is the view from our front door for the next three months, with Blockley church (Sts. Peter and Paul) just a few yards away. Our cottage was originally part of the large vicarage. This view alone makes the whole trip over here worth it.
We walked over to the village market for a few things after we arrived – it’s just around the corner from our cottage. We were expecting to pay convenience store prices but found things to be very reasonable. We walked through the churchyard and cemetery on our way back to our cottage. It’s extremely lovely here – I could pinch myself! We’re looking forward to exploring Blockley for the next few days as we recover from jet lag and the rigors of travel as well as getting ourselves unpacked and settled into our home for the next three months.

Nearly 40 hours passed between when we got to Portland airport on Saturday morning until our arrival in Blockley on Monday afternoon, and although it was a tiring journey it’s all water under the bridge now. We are finally in the UK, and ready to begin our next travel adventure. The first step will be to conquer the jet lag that came along with us, but otherwise we are thrilled to be here.

28 thoughts on “Destination: Blockley, United Kingdom

  1. Oh my goodness, you are living the dream! To be able to stay in the village for three months and just have time to explore and relax and enjoy is a dream of mine. So happy for you and happy for me I get to follow along on your adventures!

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    1. We are so happy to be staying here for a while because we are so tired and both of us are suffering from jet lag. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we had to be up and out because we were only here for a few days. Hopefully we’ll be feeling better in another day or so – we want to get out and start exploring!

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  2. This is fabulous! I look forward to pictures of the lovely countryside and beautiful buildings! Have fun!

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    1. It is absolutely gorgeous here, and our little village is picture perfect. Lots of tourists were walking through the village today and we saw several of them stop to examine our little cottage! Someone even knocked on the door (we didn’t answer though).

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  3. You need to write a book while you’re living there – doesn’t it seem like the perfect place to base a mystery novel?

    My longest trip was 49 hours from leaving our hotel in Bali to walking through my front door. Somewhat bad planning on my part, but I wanted to be with my friends so I bit the bullet!

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    1. This area screams “mystery setting!” I will happily read mysteries here, but writing them is not something I’d ever attempt.

      We got out a calculator to figure our time and it was actually 43 hours! Plus, there were two hours before that when we were up at the hotel for breakfast and then turning in our car. Traveling east didn’t help either – massive jet lag has descended on us both.

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  4. Looks pretty wonderful. So close to many places to explore. I wager you’ll make a life-long friend or two in that lovely ‘neighborhood’
    .

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    1. It’s absolutely gorgeous here, and we have beautiful views from the cottage. We’re looking forward to getting out in the area but first have to conquer this jet lag. All I want to do is sleep.

      We hope we get to know some of the locals here and make friends. Our host has suggested we check out the “better” of the two pubs in town, so once we shake off this jet lag we’ll head over there. Someone knocked on our door today, but Brett was asleep and I was still in my pajamas so I didn’t answer – I wonder if it was a neighbor or one of the many tourists/walkers coming through.

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  5. That’s a long trip. Glad it went by fairly easily. I stayed at a Heathrow hotel on my last trip to the UK, and I was also amazed by how much sound I DIDN’T hear from the planes. I’ve stayed at a few US airports that could take a lesson. 🙂

    The pics are lovely. That view of your neighborhood is so great. I did have to chuckle at the full English breakfast. It’s kind of an ongoing joke with us. But hey, if someone likes beans for breakfast, who am I to say no? LOL. Have either of you read Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson? It’s got a segment on the full English that made me laugh out loud – literally.

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    1. It was a long trip, but thankfully an easy one. The hardest part was at the end, having to change trains and move through stations with our big bags. Brett handled the brunt of that but it was exhausting for both of us, and we only made it to the correct platforms by the skins of our teeth.

      The village of Blockley is absolutely charming, the little we’ve seen of it anyway. There was a can of beans waiting for us in the cottage when we arrived (along with a lot of other treats) – I told Brett they were all his. Actually, he swore he was not going to have the full English breakfast so I was surprised when that was what he ended up with! I have read the Bill Bryson book – I guess it’s time to reread it. BTW, I got the sausages and they were absolutely delicious!

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  6. How wonderful for you. I’m very jealous, but looking forward to your posts. Immersing yourselves into village life is the way to travel. You get to know the “real” place you are visiting.

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    1. I’m looking forward to getting to know the village. We’ve chatted with our host and she’s recommended the best pub in town (an easy walk from our place) and other places to drop in so that locals get to know us and we get to know them.

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  7. WOW, wow, wow! Just gorgeous….makes me think Miss Marple could be living next door 🙂

    Is there bus service from Blockley to bigger towns? How will you get around?

    So glad you made it there with no mishaps. Sending wishes for a speedy bounce-back from the travel.

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    1. It’s pretty darn perfect here – YaYu found this place for us, BTW, and she did a good job.

      There is a bus service to bigger towns, and even up to Stratford-on-Avon. For some travel we’ll have to hire a taxi or take the train from Moreton-in-Marsh. We’ll figure it out although we’ll try to mostly use the bus.

      I can’t wait until the jet lag leaves – it’s miserable.

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      1. Kudos to YaYu!

        I’m thinking it isn’t only jet lag but also sleep deprivation. No one sleeps well on those flights to Europe plus you were up in the middle of the night per body-clock-time when you landed in Iceland.

        Can’t wait to read and “see” your adventures. So glad you are taking care of yourselves and resting.

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      2. All three of the girls are very good at finding us things on the Internet – they always come up with discounts and such that we had no idea existed (and I consider my search skills to be quite good!). Anyway, we gave YaYu a list of our wants for a place here in England and she came up with a list of five lovely places that had everything we wanted in a location we liked, and we picked this one in Blockley. She’ll be visiting us in October and I can’t wait for her to see her work!

        I slept almost all day yesterday and all night too, so I think you’re right about sleep deprivation. I can’t believe how much better I felt when I got up this morning, like I had finally gotten the sleep I needed. Hopefully we can function on a more normal sleep schedule going forward.

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  8. I am glad you made it safely to England. Now you are in the lovely English countryside. Look for Chief Inspector Barnaby and help him solving a crime! (I am a big Midsomer Murders fan, can’t help it)

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    1. LOL – I would be afraid to be in Midsomer County – too many murders there (we’re big Midsomer fans too! The Father Brown mystery series outdoor location shots are done here in Blockley – last filming was at the end of July and early August so we missed getting to watch it all (although I imagine it’s a hot, crowded mess when the crew and actors are here).

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  9. It looks absolutely lovely! I’m prepping for two upcoming work trips, and reading about your positive attitude for your travel days makes me inspired to dial up my attitude a bit. I need to focus on the positive elements, because otherwise it gets very hard.

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    1. We try to have a positive attitude when we travel, and thankfully it all came together. Trying to get our flight schedules and hotel checkouts meshed was problematic though, and made for lots of waiting around. But we’re here and that’s all that matters. The only downside now is the jet lag. It feels even worse than it did when we came to the U.S. from Japan last May.

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  10. I was in England, Scotland and Wales on a two week tour. As soon as we landed the tour began with no time to rest 30 hours awake and I was miserable. I can’t imagine 43 hours of traveling. At least you have 3 whole months. Get plenty of rest. I hope the jet lag doesn’t last too long.

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    1. I would have been miserable too. I am so grateful that we are able to have a few days to get settled and get over our jet lag when we arrive. We plan to start exploring the area next week!

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    2. We were just there Aug 6-22nd. Started with England, Wales then Scotland. For two weeks, we drove around. Loved the Highlands of Scotland. We wish we had more time in Edinburgh though. Beautiful city with a lot of festivals going on in the summer. We missed legendary tattoo as we couldn’t get a ticket.

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      1. We are going up to Edinburgh for four days at the end of the month! It has been on my bucket list for ages. We don’t have anything planned yet except for one walking tour, but we’ll be staying just below the castle. I wish we had time to drive out into the highlands, but it’s not going to happen this trip. We’re maybe going to do a driving trip through Wales (and Cornwall) in November if our budget can handle it.

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  11. Your village is so quaint! I absolutely love it. We visited the Cotswolds in 2012 and it was so picture-perfect. We went to Lacock and Castle Combe. We stayed in Bath for almost a week and went to the local pub. Everyone would turn to see who was walking in because it was almost all local people. Talked to the bartender about Cricket and tried some local beers. Went back two more times and saw the same bartender. When we were walking to the train station with all of our bags, we saw the bartender walking down the street. He recognized us and wished us safe travels. Love those small connections you make with people when traveling!

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    1. Blockley is absolutely lovely, and more than we hoped for. I read somewhere that it is perhaps the “quintessential Cotswold village” in both setting and buildings, although so far we haven’t discovered any thatched cottages, just yellow stone and slate. We went out for a walk yesterday and discovered all sorts of things – there’s a school here that they’re very proud of, two pubs, and the village store (which has an attached restaurant. There’s a bowling club and greens, whatever bowling is. And, the church is wonderful – it’s open to the public and quite lovely inside, much less austere than we imagined.

      We chatted with the bartender/waitress at the pub yesterday – she welcomed us to Blockley. She’s originally from Poland, but loves it here and does not plan to leave (we asked if she would be affected by Brexit but she said no, thank goodness). We’re looking forward to going back to the pub again and again during our stay – loved the atmosphere and the food was very good too!

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  12. What a lovely area! I’ve been to the UK twice, but only to London and Kent. I’ve been in jury duty all day and have to go back tomorrow, so my brain is a bit fried, but it was nice to come home and look at these beautiful photos. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, JJ. It is lovely here – I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of the views and all there is to discover in just our little village. We’re looking forward though to visiting London and Oxford next month with YaYu, and next week we plan to start getting out into the local area to see what’s what.

      Jury duty fried my brain as well (and just about killed my soul the last time).

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