Here I finally have a chance to explore Sheffield, Andy’s home, though he hates it when I say that. So maybe Sheffield isn’t his home currently but it is his first home — the home that made him who he is, and there is something powerful to be said for that.
Situated next to Windermere Lake in the Lake District, here is England’s tiny town of Windermere. Don’t be scared to fall in love — I am smitten and if I could have moved there, I would never have returned to the US.
Locals and the English as a whole talk of Cleethorpes’s past as if embarrassed at what it has become now. As an outsider though, I saw beauty: boutiques, book stores, antique shops, baskets of overflowing flowers, and classic buildings.
What was even more breathtaking than Derwent Valley though was the Peak District’s forest, where wild raspberry bushes grew massive and where clusters of purple heather bloomed.
Sure, overall maybe Castleton is “stereotypical” if stereotypical is also a synonym for beautiful. The village holds not only unique shops and pubs but also little cottages that sleep beside a bubbling stream. And behind that, ruins of an eleventh-century castle sit atop a hill dotted with grass-munching sheep. And, as if to protect the area, cavern walls stretch high above the village. This, in it’s picture-perfect glory, is Castleton.
It was a warm July day in England so what better way to explore than walking around Sheffield and stopping in its quaint and charming pubs…
My second trip to England felt different than our first and it also made me more aware — aware of two dramatically different homes that Andrew and I now share.
Those who live in the Islas Galápagos often say, “You do not have to search for animals here — They find you.” This proved true when we went under for our second dive and immediately found a five white-tipped sharks huddled in a cave.
Our first Galápagos Islands scuba dive brought us to Isla Floreana where a pod of at least twenty dolphin jumped above water and below, numerous sea lions swirled in a dance all their own.
We were here, finally, scuba diving in the Islas Galápagos. Deeper and deeper we dove until I watched as our instructor’s eyes suddenly went wide, as he pointed directly below me. Nervous, I glanced down to find a large five-foot shark a few feet under my fins.
I convinced Andy to go scuba diving so now I’m paying a debt: We head to an animal rescue where we cuddle sloths, play with monkeys, and hand-feed birds!
The last two dives before Andy and I were certified had arrived and so we head out to two popular Roatán dive sites — Blue Cave and Urchin Reef.
Andy and I woke to the calmest seas, which meant a perfect day to go barracuda fishing.
With a quick one-step, Andy fell into the ocean — gone — and it was then I realized that I essentially forced a scared Englishman to go scuba diving . . . and made him go first . . . after I frightened him about sharks below.
“L. You were already going to kill yourself. Now you’re going to kill me too. This is just bloody great.” That’s Andy, which perfectly sums up how our first trip together somewhere new wasn’t necessarily all paradise. Though most of it was. Or maybe that depends on who you ask.