Taking advantage of the glorious weather we headed down South for a re-union with our friends we met in Sicily. Cathy and Graham organised a fun packed weekend starting with a trip around the sites of Oxford on Friday. Saturday we walked around the grounds of Blenheim Palace and finished the evening with a couple of glasses of champagne and a barbecue. On Sunday we spent a very enjoyable and interesting time at Bletchley Park which was made even more special as there was a 1940's weekend taking place so lots of people were dressed up in uniform and 1940 fashion, as well as "Winston Churchill, Montgomery, and the King" making speeches during the day!
We have tried to find this walk on previous visits to Derbyshire and failed dismally. Gerry invited us to join his group this Sunday 13th May. It was our first ever Group walk and we arrived at Willersley Castle at 9.30am ready to go. Our group consisted of 24 people of various ages and abilities and indeed knowledge. We found the pace a little difficult as we were governed by the slowest member of the group. However, Gerry's knowledge of the route and geology of the region was amazing and he treated us to some of his lovely stories of the area with his usual wit and humour.
Decided for our first trip out in this Foreign country to visit one of the Iconic sites of this Island realm. Chatsworth House, with its long and ancient history. The seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It is set in beautiful parkland in Derbyshire. We were accompanied by Matt and his girlfriend Laura on a very lovely day in the sunshine and explored the Stately Home and it's grounds. This country has a lot to offer, even if the weather is a little unpredictable. A good day was had by all.
Today on Saturday 28th April we began our three day trip across Europe taking us from Slovakia into the Czech Republic then on to Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and finally France and Dunkirk where on Monday 30th we took the 6.00 am ferry to Dover and the rain closed in. We arrived back at Thorntons Holt campsite mid afternoon in the rain. We have now been back for a week and have had five days rain already although the sun has shone for the last two days, intermittently. Great to see the family and a few friends again after our ten and a half months away. Still a lot of family to see over the next few weeks and friends old and new to visit. We will put some pictures on the site as soon as we have some to show.
We now moved onward to Slovakia and Piestany where Sarah had an appointment with the Dental Clinic. The town stands on a pretty river and was beautifully clean and tidy as all of the East European countries seem to be. We passed a group of infant school children all kitted out in reflective jackets and gloves, picking up litter in the streets. What a great age to teach them to be proud of their environment. Just see that happening in the UK, it would probably be banned by the Health and Safety department of "Do Gooders"
It seemed from talking to locals that the average wages were about 350 euro a month, and they were still smiling. Lovely people and the Clinic and staff at Dental Holidays, Dr Marek and Rob, Daniel and Natalia made us very welcome and did a great job. Would recommend them to anyone. We will definitely be returning to these countries in the very near future. The Autocamping campsite opened early, especially for us as they do not open until 1st May but the owner, Dodo and his man Martin made us very welcome.