Hampton Court Palace – Home of Henry VIII
This week, I have traveled all around England and have visited several Country Houses similar to the one in Downton Abbey and have also visited several of the English palaces.
At the same time, I was also in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, visiting the Amish country.
Hampton Court Palace is in Surrey, and it is 3, 569 miles from Surrey in the UK to Lancaster, PA, and yet, I was in both of those places on the same day. I didn’t stand in any lines at either spot, and I wasn’t wanded at the airport. My bed was not lumpy and no one had been smoking in my room. And here is the best part: my trips were absolutely free.
Because of our current digital age and because of the magnitude of the world wide web, being a tourist doesn’t cost any money at all. Here is another great thing about my trips this week: There were no thick, gold-braided ropes that confined me in a few, small areas of the places that I visited. I was allowed to go back into kitchens in several of the homes, and I even watched the royal chefs prepare foods that the royal families would have enjoyed at the time that they were living there.
I loved the kitchen at Kew. With that long table down the center of the room, Kew reminded me of the kitchen at Downton Abbey, and it served as a kitchen for George III about 100 years before the setting of Downton Abbey.
With very little imagination, I could envision Mrs. Patmore and Daisy standing at that table, and I could see the rest of the kitchen staff fluttering around the room–doing whatever it took to prepare meals that were fit for a king and for everyone else who happened to be staying at their home at that time.
Downton Abbey is set during the Roaring Twenties, which is 100 years after the reign of George III, 1760 – 1820, owner of the Palace of Kew and slightly after the Victorian era, 1876 – 1901.
While I was at Kew, I was also able to talk to its head chef, and he showed me how to make a chocolate tart, Georgian style.
Afterward, he did the unbelievable: He gave me some of his secret recipes. I was even able to putter around in the Kitchen Garden at Kew, and I did that without being attacked by bugs and without getting hot and sweaty:
As I began to travel, I was able to visit Hampton Court Palace twice in one day, and I first visited it in the 1500’s when Henry VIII was there, and I was able to visit it again in 1689 when William and Mary were there. Thus, my extensive vacation trip this week not only involved traveling several thousand miles, but it also required zipping back and forth across 100’s of years.
When I was at Hampton Court in 1689, I was able to tour the expansive kitchen garden that was added long after Henry VIII was there, and I was allowed to watch fine craftsmen make the exquisite serving tools that were necessary for serving the delicacy of that age: Chocolate.
Later today, I’ll visit the palace and the age of Queen Victoria.
On July 18, I’ll go to Scotland and meet Robert Burns, and in October, I’ll return to England and visit with William Wordsworth. In April, I was in Denmark and was enchanted by the fairy world of Hans Christian Andersen. And again, none of these trips have cost me a thing. I took all of the European trips through the free online university systems of Europe: FutureLearn. Most of the teachers for FutureLearn are college professors, and all of the teachers are at the top of their game. Through FutureLearn, I am able to be a world tourist, and it doesn’t cost me any money at all. Google funded my trip to the Amish Country in Lancaster, PA.
FutureLearn has classes for virtually every area of interest. There are classes in animation and film-making at FutureLearn, and a class about writing fiction is coming soon. All of the classes are excellent and you can check out the catalog of their courses Here.