After being submersed in loud, fast, crazy, expansive London excitement for over a week, I couldn’t possibly turn down an offer from Rosie to see some English countryside. Her family lives in the quaint town of Chepstow, just off the eastern edge of Wales, and I was invited for a visit. We took an early MegaBus ride from the Victoria Coach Station in London, all the way to Bristol where friend Chelsea gave us a nice tour of the city- quite a few steps of intensity below London.
Another bus took us across the River Severn, into Wales and we got off in the town of Chepstow. To get to Casa Jacks, we crossed back over the river on foot (barely leaving Wales) and walked through some farm land- passing the childhood home of J.K. Rowling on the way. I was in awe the whole way as it was almost exactly what I’d imagined rural England to be: white haired men in old brown clothes tending to their farms, cows and sheep on hillsides, heavy cloud cover constantly threatening rain, houses built from stone and each one looking older than the last, and greenery everywhere. All that was missing was the afternoon tea, which Rosie made happen as well- incredible.
That night I had the privilege of meeting only the most awesome locals in the coolest pub I’ve been in- the Five Alls. Hand-pumped ales with AC/DC bumpin’ on the jukebox and a view of Chepstow castle from the garden out back- what more could an American ask for? It took a few ales too, before the self-guided, night tour of the local Abbey was a great idea. Which it was- all we had to do was jump the fence.
The next day the fun continued with a ride out to the White Hart Inn of Newnham, Gloucestershire for a proper pie on the edge of the Severn. Then a nice hike through some English woods to really seal it as a perfect visit to the English countryside.
Then it was back to London for a few days in the wonderful Levi house for some needed relaxation and time to get in touch with the next people to visit. As it turns out, my friend Pol-Ewen, who I also met while he was studying abroad in Davis, is in the middle of an urban farms tour of Europe. He has raised money and been awarded grants for his proposed project, “Seeds of the City”- mostly seeking knowledge and raising awareness for urban agriculture. His blog can be found here. When he invited me to travel with him, tour farms, document it all and help translate what we learn into English, I knew it was not to be passed up.
So, I thanked my wonderful London hosts: Pete and Rosie- it would not have been nearly as incredible of a visit without them- and bought a plane ticket for Warsaw, Poland, just a day after Pol-Ewen would arrive there. Of course I couldn’t leave the UK without a proper roast- Rosie wouldn’t have it. So it was yet another great meal with great people and some true English culture. Then, a ways further east to continue the adventure.
All the best-