After returning to England from Spain, my girlfriend and I had one night to relax before we were heading of somewhere again. Except this time, she didn't knew where we were going.
Before travelling, she had asked me if we could stay somewhere "really English". She had lived in England before so I knew she already had a good idea of what that meant to her. I wanted to try and show her what that meant to me.
I started looking at hotels, and then bed and breakfasts and then cottages for rent. I eventually found a tiny one bedroom cottage in Sussex, which is an hour or two south of London by car. Sussex is a large area known for its natural beauty and little English towns. It is probably most famous for its 100 acre woods, which is where Winnie the Pooh and his friends live.
The cottage was about a 10 minute drive from the little town of Lewes. I had been there once before for the Guy Fawkes Day festival (5th November), which was a crazy experience, but I'm going to save that story for another day.
We drove to Lewes first in pouring rain and windy conditions. I was not feeling very optimistic, and I was worried this trip might have been more 'English' than I was hoping. Meaning the weather will ruin everything. By the time we had arrived in Lewes, the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy and dark.
We walked through the town, had a little nose in a few shops and made our way to Lewes castle. Lewes is a very small town, and it is basically on one long hill. At the top of that hill is Lewes castle, a 1000 year old building from the Norman times. At the top of this castle there are beautiful panoramic views of Sussex, but on that day the wind was so strong, we didn't stay up there for very long.
After a few more shops and a little lunch it was time to surprise my girl with the cottage. She still had no idea at this point.
As we were driving there I noticed that the sky was clearing up, and even a little sun was starting to show, I couldn't believe my luck. I promptly reminded myself that I was in England and that the weather could change any minute. We pulled up outside the owners main house, and walked round to our cottage for the night.
It was tiny, with red brick walls, a little chimney on a pointed roof. In front there was a small pond with ducks, and a large oak tree with an old swing hanging from it. There were a few late summer flowers growing and nothing else but green. My girlfriend was ecstatic, "it's so cute!" she said. We looked around and took lots of pictures, and of course enjoyed some tea in our English cottage.
As the weather had cleared up, we decided to drive to the coast and try to catch the sunset. The drive was about 30 minutes along some terrifyingly narrow country roads, I was truly relieved once we finally reached the car park. We started walking towards the coast, it was starting to look a little cloudy but I was still hopeful, everything else had gone to plan so far. As we were walking I noticed lots of little holes in the ground, I knew what that meant...rabbits!
I told her that if she was lucky we might be able to see some, in no time we saw some, and then some more. We tried to take pictures but they were too quick for us. After reaching the coast, we stood in awe of its beauty. As an English person I was disappointed in myself that I had never been there before, the white cliffs next to the water are truly breath taking.
We walked uphill along the cliffs just as the sun was setting. We reached the highest point and watched the sun disappear into the clouds. I like to talk about the terrible weather in England, but on that perfect day, the gods of England really showed us both what "very English" means.