So the past two weekends we haven’t had any crazy trips, so we’ve stayed close to home and done some more local things. The main two things we have done are the Tissington Trail and a Dovedale hike.
Before I go into our adventures, I want to point out our slightly changed blog site. Now, on the right side of the home page, you can see our recent posts, with quick links to them. Also, below that, you can subscribe to our blog! All this will do is send you an email whenever there is a new post. That way you won’t ever miss another post again! Haha, since I know you are just waiting at home for that next post.
One evening last week we joined fellow Americans Jeff and Sarah Henkle at the Bull’s Head in Repton for dinner, and it was actually incredible food! Most of the pub food that I’ve had in the UK has just been okay, but this was actually really great food. They even have a wood-burning oven that has been imported from Italy, so I had a nice wood-fired pizza! So I definitely recommend going to the Bull’s Head for a nice dinner.
Last weekend we “hired cycles,” which means we rented bikes, and we took a nice ride on the Tissington Trail. We started in Ashbourne, which is a little town just north of Derby, and rode about 14 miles total roundtrip, passing some nice scenery and countryside along the way. We stopped in the town of Tissington, which is a really picturesque English village. The town is set up exactly like it would have looked 500 years ago, so it is a very quaint, beautiful town.
On our way to the town of Tissington, we were confronted by a couple of cows stampeding down the trail in our direction! The cows were literally running on the trail with all the walkers and cyclists! I wasn’t fast enough with my camera, and by the time I got it out, the cows were already leaving the trail, but here is the one shot that I got.
In Tissington we stopped at the local Sweet Shop, and it was the cutest little old fashioned candy store that I’ve ever been in! The guy was really helpful, and Doug and I ended up getting some homemade ice cream. Delicious!
Once we made our way back to Ashbourne, we still had some time left for our bike rental, so we rode around the village of Ashbourne for a little bit. The town center is covered with bunting flags! We drive through Ahsbourne a lot on our way to other places, and these flags have actually been up all summer. Originally, I thought iit was for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, but now I’m thinking they might be for the Olympics. Or maybe Ashbourne just always has the flags up! Who knows?!? I took lots of pictures of these flags, and here is one with Doug in it.
So that concludes the bike ride on Tissington trail.
This past weekend, I went to a chocolate making class at Somersby Chocolates in Nottingham. I had actually bought a Travelzoo deal for a beginner chocolate making course a couple months ago, but this was the first Saturday that they had availability and we were all able to make it. Doug opted out of the class, so I went with my friends Runa, Amelia, and Sean.
The class was more about designing your own chocolate than actually making it, but it was still really fun. They supplied the melted chocolate (white, milk, or dark), and we poured chocolate into cookie cutters that acted as molds. Then we could decorate the chocolates with all sorts of different toppings. After that we created our own chocolates by infusing them with different spices and oils. You could get really creative during this part! Some of the safer options were peppermint, cherry, and cinnamon. However, you could do some more exotic flavors like chili pepper or lavender! One really crazy creation was orange chocolate with nutmeg and ginger, topped with cinnamon cookie. Oh, and I forgot to mention that throughout the whole course, we got to do sample tastings and eat tons of chocolate. And in the end we brought home all our creations! Yummy!
On Saturday night we went to a beer festival at Ye Olde Dolphin Inne, which is Derby’s oldest pub. We had some real ales (warm, flat beer) and listened to some live music. We met up with some other American secondees and had a good time.
On Sunday we did our Dovedale hike. We had a good group of friends, and started out with a nice picnic in Dovedale. It was actually a gorgeous day out, probably in the 70s (F), and really sunny! I even had to put on sunscreen, which has been rare this summer. Obviously, since it was such a nice day, I think the entire Derby population was outside, and most of them seemed to be on the Dovedale hike! The trail was like a queue of people! Check out this line for the stepping stones (which were supposedly closed because of one of the rocks being out of place).
The first part of the hike was nice and easy, with a clearly marked trail, and pretty flat terrain. It also ran alongside the water, and was filled with people!
We reached the town of Milldale after about 3 easy miles. The town was really cute, and we had a pit stop for some ice cream. Amelia and Sean are engaged to be married, so I made them get under this cute sign since they are “going to the chapel.”
We took a little rest by the river with tons of ducks swimming around. I attempted to get some good photos, and here is one of the better ones.
At Milldale, we went off the beaten path, and took a different, more strenuous way back. This path went up some of the big hills, and offered some really nice views. There actually wasn’t a very clear path, so we were just kind of making up our own route, attempting to follow the instructions on the hike description.
Pretty soon, the nice hillside walking came to an end when we had to descend a very steep, slippery slope. We’re pretty sure we were going the right way because you could sort of make out a path, but the descent was very treacherous.
After we made it down the steep slope, we thought we were past the hardest part. WRONG! Ahead of us were fields of stinging nettles! They are these awful, stinging plants! Even though there are apparently stinging nettles in the U.S., I have never come across them. Now, I know them really well. There was no way around the field, and the path was overgrown with stinging nettles. I was in shorts and a tank top, so needless to say, I got covered in stings from the plant! Our British friends, Ian and Odette, knew of the remedy for the stings, which was the leaf of dock. We found a couple of the leaves that helped some of the worst stings, but not enough for all of them! The stings finally died down after showering that night, but they were pretty bad for awhile.
Finally we made it through the horrible field, and pretty soon we made it back to the nice, flat, crowded trail that we had originally started on. Although it had been nice to get away from the crowds, I prefer the crowds to the nettles!
Daina is an expert photographer, so she was showing me some of the different settings on my camera. Here is one of my artistic shots.
And that was about it for the hike! It was a gorgeous day out, and I think we did about 7 miles total. Here is the obligatory sheep photo for good measure.