Monday, November 26, 2012

Sink me! -- The Scarlet Pimpernel, Blenheim Palace and a Treat for "That Sinking Feeling"

Last month, Paul and I spent a couple of weeks in England and, despite having no internet access, we had a great time. I mention the internet, because I had essentially done zero planning and was going to do it all on the fly with satellite internet. This way, we were flexible and didn't have to lug around any guide books. Surprise! Our phones didn't work (if only we'd had the iPhone 4S...) and there was no way to get a data plan for a smart phone there without paying for a year in advance. So, we relied on our wits, a London street atlas and an England road map purchased in Windsor (more about that in an upcoming post).

We spent a few days in the Wiltshire countryside and I had to go to Blenheim Palace, which wasn't too far away in neighboring Oxfordshire. Yes, I've watched all twelve episodes of The First Churchills, but really I grew up with a Baroque-obsessed architect for a father. I spent weekends when I was small looking through coffee-table books bigger than I was with fantastic photographs of houses like Blenheim, Castle Howard, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. (Still haven't been to Castle Howard...)

Blenheim Palace is, of course, beautiful but is also fantastically well-kept. (Poor Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte were a bit shabby when I saw them in 2006.) I took a lot of photos; the best are below. We had lovely weather for our trip--right until we started to head back to the car park. The sky opened up and it started hailing. Good thing we'd already gotten in the habit of wearing our raincoats every day, no matter what.

(click to enlarge)