Tuesday, 5th October, 2010
That was the only one-day trip I took on my own without Nesreen, my dear friend who generously hosted me in her cosy home in London. So, I went to the huge Victoria Station and bought the ticket to Arundel town where I was planning to visit Arundel Castle and tour the town for some time. Getting coffee was the first thing I did after buying the ticket. Did I tell you that I do not actually like their coffee? :( Yes, for some reason it tastes different. It is bitterer than the Egyptian one and doesn’t have this tantalizing effect the latter has. Anyways, I got into my train (which is not an easy thing at all! There were almost 17 platforms with trains travelling to different destinations.) The road was, as usual breathtakingly beautiful and the more we moved farther, the more splendid the scenery became; vast horizons of greenery… endless skylines. The train approached my station, so I collected my stuff and stood before the door. The train stopped for almost ten seconds, the door remained closed. The train started moving again. I was like: “eda eda… eih elly 7asal?!!! Why the doors didn’t open?!” And then light came into me. There was a button next to the door that I should have pressed for the doors to open! At that moment, I felt like “Khalaf El Dahshoury Khalaf” (se3eedy fel gam3a el Amreekeya!) Too late! Arundel station was waving goodbye to me when the train was moving away from it. To save my face, I pretended I was just watching the scenery :D
Ford was the following station. Once the train stopped, I jumped out of it and landed in a very simple, in-the-renovation-process station. I headed for the tickets office and knew there would be a train to take me back to Arundel in almost 40 minutes. I thought it would be a good chance to explore what was outside the station. A long road was all I could see with spacious green fields on the sides. It was a fresh morning, chilly and not sunny (my favourite.) Off I went down the road. I stepped into a few fields to get closer to the green grass. And I had a chance to take one of the best shots I took during my whole England trip. And of course, my very dear Ibraheem came to my mind :)
Back to Arundel on the second train that stopped at Ford (since I missed the first one because I lost my sense of time during my walk). I asked for directions to Arundel Castle and I had a pleasant 10-minute walk taking more photos of the lovely houses, autumn plants and clean streets. Then the castle was there; tall, grand and majestic!
The greenery around it was “formidable!” Autumn colours took my breath away begad!
Then started the tour inside the castle. I got the ticket which would allow me access to all the accessible-to-the-public rooms. So, I got to see the bedrooms. I wanted nothing more than crossing the robes which were put at the beginning of each room to prevent people from delving into the rooms; I wanted to cross those robes and touch the fabrics, trace the colourful embroidery with my finger tips and rub the bed sheets to my cheeks. I did not want to be thrown out of the castle fa I kept my crazy wishes to myself. Unfortunately, photographing was not allowed inside! :(
When I went to the top of the castle my heart almost stopped! That was exactly what you see on TV and wonder: “is this real?!!” It was real and before my very own eyes! Sob7an Allah! Sob7an Allah!
I came to know that this castle is actually owned by a duke. I so much wanted then to be royalty in England to live in such a fine, very fine, place.
Then there was a group of gardens; the Earl’s garden, Flower garden, and Kitchen garden. One word; jaw-dropping! Neatly designed and freshly kept.
After finishing the tour, I asked the guards about the way to the river that I saw from above the castle. They gave me directions and, of course, I got lost as usual :) But I am very happy I did, because I saw this road that froze me for some good moments:
Finding my way to Arun River was not difficult. I found it and started walking on the path on its bank. I was actually talking to myself all the way throughout the two hour walk! And for some reason, I felt I was like Bridget in one of my ever favourite chick-flicks “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. I said hello to the cute cows and asked them if they minded taking their pictures :) The river liked me back and the horses on its other bank, too.
The walk was a healing one. With every step, I let go of the negative energy inside and inhaled all the beauty around within.
I reluctantly reminded myself that I needed to head for the train station before it got dark. On my way back, I found this small cafe; Moathouse Cafe. I was not actually very hungry but I thought I needed to eat since I had a long day without eating much. I went for a simple burger and asked if they serve the traditional scone and the lady said they did. I double checked if it was freshly baked and I got a confirmation on this as well. And that was the BEST scone I ate in England. It was warm, rich and maddeningly tasty that I ordered two scones to go (la2, not both of them for me :D One for me and the other for Nesreen :D) I complimented the friendly lady on the delicious scone and headed for the train station with soul and body feeling full.
What could be a better end for the day than me and Nesreen’s laughing in bed while devouring the scones at how obscene its taste was? :)