As mentioned, we are taking it a bit slower this week, although still did a fair bit of driving yesterday. We went to Framlingham and Orford Castles - both fantastic although if I had to pick only one, it would be Orford. Both for the amazingly well preserved castle keep itself and for the lovely town of Orford.
Framlingham is a big ring of towers connected by walls, upon which you can walk around looking down on the courtyard below. There is a great footpath running around to the "mere" (pond, formerly a marsh) but unfortunately we didn't stay long enough to walk it. Another visit, I could spend my entire two weeks in Suffolk and not run out of things to do...the small, often most interesting things are encountered quite by chance when one is ambling around, taking it slow. (However, it was our first trip to England and we did have a couple "must sees" like Stonehenge and London so I am not complaining, just musing that we could have stayed much closer to home and had just a great an experience.)
Orford Castle is a keep built by Henry II. The audio guide is fascinating and is spoken in the first person as the voice of the chaplain of the time. We picnicked on the grounds, and also wandered a bit at the Orford Quay (where I deeply breathed in the sea air saying ahhhhhh, the scent of home!!)
We also stopped in at Snape Maltings - the girls quite a tremendous kick out of being in this particular town because of the Harry Potter character of the same name. Lovely footpath out among the reed beds - the wind was strong so the reeds were swaying and shushing - just fabulous.
Final stop of the day was Aldeburgh. We drove to the end of the spit and walked around the old martello tower. Maggie said it was built in Napoleonic times. Again, I felt right at home with the North Sea crashing along the shore, reminiscent of my beloved Atlantic.
Sounds like a long day, but it was actually a pleasant "loop". On the way home, we also pulled off the road to admire the Saxton Post Mill (not open unfortunately...or fortunately perhaps since we had already toured two castles so would have been on overload!) Also pulled off so I could take a photo of some pig huts - there were fields just covered in these little huts that dad said were for the pigs (which were much in evidence). I just thought it was so bizarre and had to stop for a photo op.
Today we had a "fry up" at the beach hut - full English breakfast of sausages, eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers. Maggie and I went for an invigorating swim in the North Sea - MN was going to join us but the waves were simply too big and she couldn't keep her footing in the line of loose rocks to be navigated before hitting the sandy bottom.
The girls and I also made our way through the Southwold Maize Maze (cornfield with a maze in the shape of a crab - connection being that crabbing is a famous pasttime in nearby Warberswick (sp?). This afternoon MN and I went for a bike ride around Reydon, stopping in at the church and walking along the adjoining footpath. Then we played croquet in the obstacle course of the back garden. (and I will pat myself on the back for winning.)
Tomorrow we will pack up (boohoohoo) and spend a quiet day in preparation for a terribly early flight (6:25am) home. Dad thinks we may end up spending the night at Heathrow since rains are forecast so we will have to leave LOADS and loads of time to get there in case there are more road closures or simply traffic jams. Oh well, we'll catch up on our sleep when we get home!