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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Durdle Door

On Saturday we decided to get the hell outta dodge. Don't get me wrong, London is lovely in the summer and I love our neighborhood so much you usually have to bribe me with promises of a yummy dinner or fabulous cocktails to try and get me to leave from Friday evening to Monday morning. But I have a confession to make. A dirty little ssecret that I am embarrassed to say (type?) out loud.

We don't travel around England.

For as long as we have lived here (thats two years, eight months and seven days - not that I'm counting) we have traveled around England as many times as I have fingers on one hand. There was CambridgeOxford, BathWindsor Castle and if I really try to stretch it I'll count Greenwich as a "trip" - let's make that one the pinky, a half-trip of sorts. And that my friends makes five trips around England in over two and a half years. 

Pathetic, I know.

So this last weekend we decided to take a day trip - gotta start slow - to someplace in the same country that we have been residing in for all this time. I asked around at work for a good place to go for a day that didn't require spending the night. The first time someone mentioned "Durdle Door" I had to have them repeat it three times before I even had the slightest understanding of the words that were coming out of their mouth. What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is DURDLE DOOR?!

Durdle Door, it turns out, is a little slice of heaven. Bright and early Saturday morning we loaded up the rental car (with banana chocolate muffins, the last of the sea salt caramels and some picnic fried chicken) and headed south-west to the Jurassic Coast. Located on the English Channel in Dorset, Durdle Door is a natural arch made out of limestone rocks that was carved out by the sea.  The land is privately owned but is open to the public, and the pathway between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door is one of the most traveled in all of the southwest of England.  Nearly three hours after setting out we finally reached Lulworth Cove - here is where we started the hike.

An easy hike, this was not. Maybe for a normal person it would be, but not for me (I appear to be allergic to exercise, it's true). The hike was seven miles long starting from Lulworth Cove, up and down four BIG hills and then looping around through the fields back to Lulworth Cove. The stretch from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door was certainly the busiest. After checking out the pretty pebble beach (and the boys taking a quick dip in the freezing cold water) we stopped for some lunch (mmm picnic fried chicken) and enjoyed the incredible views. Mother nature was kind to us on Saturday, it was very warm with not a cloud in the sky - it seems our efforts to see the country were very much appreciated.  After refueling and rehydrating we carried on our way.

I huffed and puffed my way to the top of each mountain hill, filled with anticipation of another  breathtaking view that drove me to the top each and every time. I felt like I was in another world - I felt like I was on vacation! Surely all of this beauty couldn't be in my own backyard?? (A very BIG backyard that is)

When we finally made it to the half way point we turned around and looked how far we had come. With the sea to our right and the sun behind us we continued on - it was all downhill from here.

Ok, not really. Actually it was pretty flat, not so much downhill. The remaining part of the hike took us through fields of sheep and cows (which we still can't decide if that was actually part of the hike or if we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way). In the end, over four hours later, we were right back where we had started.

almost there!
We spotted a perfect little pub on our drive in that morning outside of Lulworth Cove and decided to hightail it back there for a well deserved pint of the cold stuff. Sunburned and exhausted we relaxed inside with a few cold beers, some boardgames and the best post-hike pre-dinner "snack" of all time - the Mexican Chip Butty.

Did ya get that?

Mexican = chili (not sure how those two are actually related in real life, but I'll cut them a little slack - they're English they don't know any better)
Chip = french fries
Butty = sandwich

Let me paint you a picture - two pieces of hot garlic bread topped with french fries covered with chili and melting cheese.

Yeah, I know you're jealous. Wipe that drool off of your face, don't make a mess.

Believe me when I say it was the best thing I could have eaten at that very moment in time. And I'm not ashamed to say that I'm kind of dreaming about it now. I guess I'll just have to go back sometime soon.


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