February 17, 2010


To spice up an otherwise non-exsistant holiday in the UK, my fabulous parents came to visit for Thanksgiving! So once again, I got to be a tourist in my own town (and parts of Wales). And the funny thing is, I saw almost all different things than I did the last time I played tour guide. There's just so much to see here!
When we first moved here someone gave me a guidebook with a picture of Llangollen (pronounced Thlan-go-thlen... I think... Welsh is a strange language) and I've wanted to go there ever since. So we drove out to the hills of Wales to visit this little village. November isn't exactly tourist season so we were pretty much on our own =)

Just down the road from the town center is the Llangollen Canal. In the spring and summer you can take a ride in the long boats, some of which are horse-drawn.

This is the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct. It spans the Dee River Valley at a height of 126 feet and is over 200 years old, 1,000 feet long, 11 feet wide and 5 feet deep. You can also take a boat across it in the warm season which I will definitely do! It is the longest, highest aquaduct in Britain and was inscribed to the World Heritage List in 2009. If you would like to read more and see more pictures, click here.

Closer to home are the extensive grounds of Tatton Park. There are over 1,000 acres of open land where you can see the Queen's deer pretty much year-round. Although the town of Tatton has disappeared, you can still visit Tatton Hall, built in the early 15th century and formerly the home of Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Chancellor of England. Currently it is home to shops selling hand-made cheeses, baked goods, jams, garden stuff and the usual souvenier items and huge gardens that you can roam around during the spring and summer. The Old Hall has been featured on Britain's Most Haunted and they do period reinactments during tourist season.

We let the girls play hooky one day and headed out to the Welsh coast to visit Conwy Castle. I liked it so much in September with CH & MH I thought I'd bring my parents here as well. And I will bring any of you who come visit.
It was crazy windy but we had a great time. They have a mystery-solving adventure for kids and the girls had so much fun collecting clues and figuring out how the seige of Conwy happened. Peanut even wrote a report for her class to make up for skipping =)

This year Peanut's class did a play about the 1st Thanksgiving. I'm so glad my parents were here to see some of the fun things that the school does. Peanut was a narrator and did a fantastic job, if I do say so myself!

We also took a tour on the Chester Old Bus. It's a double-decker bus that goes all around the city with a tour guide pointing out important sites, buildings and symbolic meanings. I learned so much about the things I see everyday and usually don't think twice about.

Our traditional Thanksgiving dinner was postponed until Saturday because MDH was in London all week. While the turkey and mashed potatoes were pretty much exactly the same as I would have made at home, some substitutions had to be made for the rest of the dinner. No condensed cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole, no pre-made pie crusts (and no way was I making my own!) and no canned pumpkin. But I think everything turned out well in the end.

This year I was thankful for so many things and I'm so glad my parents were here to start the holiday season with us.