After my duties were completed at the 2016 World Travel Market in London, I boarded a high-speed train at Statford International to join some friends in Sussex, directly south of London. I learned that in the small village where Cindy-Lou and Jonathan live, Lydd, a particularly famous musician makes frequent appearances.
That would be Paul McCartney, who has a farm nearby and uses the small local airport as his terminal. In Rye, a great little town that once was located right next to the sea, is today a place for strolling and enjoying the beautiful architecture of a city that been around since before the 1000s.
We past the Mermaid Hotel, built in 1153 and ‘renovated in 1420,’ as the sign says.
As we walked the narrow streets, I spotted a tiny little shop with about 300 tiny metal soldiers in the window. We walked in and met the proprietor, who stood up from his desk covered with paintbrushes.
He paints each soldier to accurately depict their uniforms. We chatted for a bit as I selected the members of my personal garrison–a sturdy redcoat holding a musket, and a menacing looking Hessian, the mercenaries who helped fight the war in the colonies against England.
It was a nice sunny day, and Cindy-Lou, my host, told me that in this part of England, which is a knob sticking out toward France, the weather is often very different from what falls in London.
After touring the streets that look out over a long green expanse that hundreds of years ago was actually the ocean, we met up with Jonathan and enjoyed a fish lunch at Webb’s, known locally for both their cooking school and their great taste in crustaceans.
That night we went to a local pub–a perfect place for real conversation, with no TV, no distracting music, just some fine local ales, a low ceiling, and a friendly proprietor. We were still all in shock over Tuesday’s election in the US and how similar it was to England’s Brexit vote.
I was lucky the next day to join Cindy on another local tour–this time we visited Folkstone, right next to the magnificent white cliffs of Dover. This is a city on the move, with a beautiful long promenade that juts out into the harbor.
Vendors of all types set up here on weekends, from a bus that sells Greek food, to some local breweries and live music.
It would be hopping the next day, but when we visited, it was calm and the views perfect. France was just over there!
I hope to return to this lovely part of England, a place I have not spent enough time. For now I was glad to have had a little tour, but it was time to return home and get back to work.