Saturday, August 25, 2007

Europe Trip 1 - Visiting Maki and her family in Leamington Spa., England

(Mia playing in the garden)
*For more pictures relevant to this post, please jump to the photo album page Europe Trip 1 in my other website, Michiko's Bloomington Diary.

I made a 3-week trip to several countries in Europe (UK, France, Luxembourg and Denmark) in June this year (2007), mainly to visit old friends living in these countries.

I left Bloomington on May 28th and arrived in Heathrow Airport, London, on the 29th afternoon. My first destination was a small village called Leek Wooten, near Leamington Spa., England, to visit Maki, a friend from my Reading University days (10 years ago!), and her family.

Maki and Mark have two daughters, Mia (5 years old) and Mai (2 years old) - and they are both very sweet, lively and yet quite well-behaved (when their parents really want them to be ;-).

Mia remembered me from the last time we met in Japan 2 years ago and became friendly almost instantly. Mai, however, cried like a hell when she saw me first, so I almost lost my self-confidence in "being very friendly and likeable to children" --- but about half an hour later, Mai was pulling my arm to show me around the house and her favorite toys etc. So, fortunately, my confidence was saved (^^).

I was really impressed by their garden - it is very green first of all, and then there are so many pretty flowers and colors on its contours. Mia showed me around the garden on the first day and we played together for a while:-).

On the second day, Maki took me to a beautiful hotel called "Coombe Abbey Hotel" (whose building used to be an old abbey, apparently) and walked around its beautiful gardens after having lunch at the cafe inside the hotel.

We also visited a little river-side village in Coventry on the third day. Small villages like this and the one where Maki and her family live both look so idyllic and lovely, so typically what I think of as an "English countryside". Although I like Bloomington and love its big trees and a lot of greens, English countryside has definitely a very different atmosphere and landscapes from those in Bloomington.

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