What the world did before Air Bnb and Uber and Google Maps is a complete mystery to me. I am so behind modern technology and all of the genius people allowing us to utilize its magic. I’ve talked in previous posts about the holiday’s and what it’s like to be abroad when it feels like everyone else is cozy at home in their favorite slippers, with their favorite people, having the best holiday ever. It’s tough. So this year, my amazing group of friends decided to take matters into our own hands and fight homesickness the best way we know how: food + cottage + friends.
The group of us hopped on Air BnB, found some cute cottages in the area and went about planning a staycation. About 10 minutes by train from Newcastle is the city of Durham. Just outside the city of Durham another 10 minutes is a great little spot called Bramble Cottage. The place we called “home” for Christmas. Our amazing Air BnB hostess had decorated the place for the holidays and had even left us all individually wrapped gifts of chocolate and socks – so sweet! The seven of us had split up the meals and each of us was planning to make a little something special over the three days and two nights we spent at the cottage.
We settled in on Christmas Eve and that evening we walked down to a great little Italian restaurant for dinner. The food was amazing and we enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. We spent the evening touching base with family back home, watching Christmas specials on tv and lots of adult coloring books 🙂
Christmas Day I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, we did our Christmas gift exchange, and then we got ourselves ready and went to Durham Cathedral for an evensong service. The cathedral is gorgeous and we really enjoyed the choir. It definitely made it feel like Christmas was in the air! Back at the cottage, we had an amazing dinner and settled in with wine and Downton Abbey. I won’t spoil it for all of you stateside that haven’t seen it yet, but suffice it to say, we all loved it. I couldn’t have picked a better group to watch the finale with.
On the day after Christmas, the UK celebrates Boxing Day. I wasn’t up for fighting crowds (think Black Friday, but even more people!), so when we packed up and left the cottage I opted for home instead of shopping. After a full trip gallivanting Ireland and then a few days away at the cottage, I was ready for time to myself. As I’m thinking back to those few days several weeks ago I’m just so grateful for people who make home away from home so much easier. Being abroad can be hard, but the people and experiencing are worth it. Every single time.