Our Travel Adventures in Buckden, England
Our first month of family traveling took place in Buckden, England...wait, where? Even people from England haven't heard of the town we called home for the first part of our journey. Although it's only about 70 miles north of London, this first town was smaller than we had anticipated. However, with a population of about 3,000 people, we found Buckden to be the perfect quaint little English village in which to start our travels. How Did We Land in Buckden?
During the planning process we told everyone we knew about our upcoming adventures. It was more out of excitement than expecting anything of course. But, then one day a friend of ours reached out on Facebook. She lives in Buckden and would be back in the States visiting her family for the summer, while she's off from teaching. She generously offered to let us stay in her beautiful home for our first month. What luck! And to top it off, she has a daughter just a couple of years older than Eleanor so we had a nursery, toys, high chair, car seat and everything else we'd need while we transitioned to our more minimalist lifestyle.
Getting the Lay of the Land
After spending our first night in a hotel near the airport, we made our way up to Buckden the next morning. Thankfully, our friend had connected us with another teacher from her school that was not traveling back to the States. He picked us up from the train station and gave us a driving tour of the village along with tips for driving in England. We spent our first few days in a haze of sleep deprivation and shock that we had actually made it to England after all of the planning. Thankfully, after a few nights Eleanor had adjusted (meaning she was sleeping) and we were ready to explore.
Buckden is definitely the smallest town either Brett or I have lived in. We found there are only 2 small markets at which to get groceries. There is also a nice little butcher shop / bakery that sells fruits, vegetables, and cheeses - perfect for picnics in the park.
The village has 3 pubs and one Chinese take out ("take away" in the UK) restaurant. That's only 4 places to eat out! Needless to say I cooked a lot which was better for our budget anyway.
There's also a castle-like structure called Buckden Towers where Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry the VIII, was banished to for a few years. That means kings and queens walked the same grounds we were now living in. I liked to picture what it would have been like back then, riding into town in a horse and carriage.
But, our favorite place has to be the park. We've spent at least part of everyday there while Eleanor works on her motor skills and we attempt to meet some locals.
What's on the Site Seeing Agenda
The plan is to take it slow in England. There has been so much activity going on just to make it this far that we're using our first month to regroup and recuperate. Plus, in order to balance work, travel and a baby, our everyday schedule is pretty simple. So since the big sites are not planned until the end of our month stay here when we will be going to London for a wedding followed by a week in Scotland, we're looking into more quaint things to do. Some of the places we plan to see include Huntingdon (the town I actually thought we were staying in until just before we arrived - ha!), St. Neots, Cambridge (we've heard great things about this university town), Warwick Castle, and some places geared more toward children, like local farms.