Monday, 15 August 2011

A Dorset Holiday

The day after school finished Matthew, Pat (mum-in-law), Solomon (the dog) and myself traveled to the area of Dorset (south England) for a week's holiday.  Matthew was quite under the weather the week before and was still feeling poorly so I drove all the way there.  This was just two weeks after getting my driving license and first time to drive on the motorways here in England.  The drive there went smooth.  We had rented a lovely little cottage in the country only a few miles from Dorchester.
 Hardy's Cottage
Lovely view of the country from our deck

Due to Matthew's ill health, he spent several days in bed while Pat and I did a bit of sight seeing.  Pat and I went to a lovely stately home called Athelhampton House on Sunday afternoon.  It was a lovely house with a beautiful garden....and the best bit it wasn't busy.
 Althenhampton House
Exploring the beautiful gardens

On Monday, Pat and I explored the area of Weymouth (home to the 2012 Olympic sailing) and had a nice morning walking around the beach side and harbor.  We visited Fort Nothe and that made for an interesting visit. 
 Waiting for the boats in Weymouth Harbour
Nothe Fort

Tuesday Matthew and Solomon got out of the house and joined us for a day on the Isle of Portland.  We got to go to Portland Bill and see the lighthouse at the tip of the island and then went to a Henry VIII castle.  This was also Solomon's first time in the ocean (and castle) so it was fun to see him act like a puppy!  :)
 Portland Bill Lighthouse
A beautiful view over the town of Portland and overlooking the famous Chesil Beach
Solomon enjoying his first time in the ocean!

On Wednesday Pat and I traveled to Sherborne.  This was a cute little village and well worth a visit.  Lots of cute shops, a cathedral and even a castle.  All in all it was a great day out.  As a bonus we got to see a cute little place called Cerne Abbas and got to see the ancient giant drawn into the hill....I wouldn't exactly call the giant cute as he is a bit rude!
Sherborne Cathedral
Sherborne Castle - home of Sir Walter Raleigh
The Cerne Abbas Giant

On Thursday Matthew joined us for another fun day out.  We caught a steam train to Corfe Castle.  I felt like I was in a Harry Potter film aboard the Hogwarts Express on the steam train...we were even in a carriage like the ones in Harry Potter!  :)  Corfe Castle was beautiful sitting atop of a hill and had some very interesting history.  We then carried on the steam train to Swanage and had a walk along the beach front eating fish and chips.  We then headed back on the steam train to our car.  On the way home we decided to make a stop at Monkey World.  Monkey World is a centre to care for and rehabilitate monkes from all over.  It was fun getting to see all the different monkeys.  This was the longest day but it was a lot of fun and got to see a lot of cool things.
All aboard!!
Corfe Castle
Chimp in Monkey World - lost his right arm from humans

On Friday we had a smaller day of traveling out to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.  This was another opportunity for Solomon to get in the sea and we even got Matthew out in it (well his ankels at least).  We then rested up at home and packed up preparing for our journey back home the next day. 
Solomon playing in the sea with 'daddy'
Durdle Door

Saturday Matthew was feeling better and decided to drive back.  Pat and Matthew humored me and stopped by Stonehedge on the way home as it was only 30 minutes extra to our journey home.  I'm glad I got to see Stonehedge as it was quite interesting but at the same time its a a bunch of rocks and quite expensive to get into for what it is.  It was fun and another thing to check off the list.  We were making good time home....that is until our car decided to completely die on the M25 (motorway that goes around the whole of London).  This was really scary sitting there (middle lane) and unable to do anything about it.  We called the RAC (motor help company that we are members of) and got towed to a local recovery center where they looked at the car for over an hour.  We knew what the problem was (electrical problem with shorting out brake lights which affected our car switching gears) but not the source of the problem.  Luckily, we were able to get towed back with our car to Bury St Edmunds and home safely.  What was a good journey and should have only been five hours turned into over nine hours.  I have to say Solomon was a trooper through it all and was very proud of him. 
At Stonehedge with true British weather
The wonderful RAC man trying to fix our car at the recovery centre

Overall we had a great trip.  We got to see lots of interesting things but still plenty of time to rest and not do much at the same time.  We had great food at local pubs almost every evening.  It was great going with Pat as it gave me someone to sight see with while Matthew was resting or staying back at the cottage.  I feel very blessed with all that we got to see and with the family I have.  It was a great holiday and I look forward to the next one.  :)
 (: Some of my favorite people :)