Great Britain is among our favourite countries in Europe, although technically, it is not even a country (how typical, and if that wouldn't be enough, there's also the United Kingdom and over ten variations of the same theme).
For a long time, not thinking ourselves as the Wikipedia, we were bringing you here to speak of England, Wales, Scotland and in fact even UK and various other things (we always avoided though to include Northern Ireland here).
We currently live in England (in Wolverhampton), close to Wales, and, in the past, we lived in Sheffield and in Southampton. We never cease to be amazed by this island (it is, even technically, an island).
The gastronomy is poor and people's cold and introvert character can be rebutting to a latin (probably also to everybody else, including the British themselves), but it is unmatched for its culture and areas of outstanding natural beauty (they actually call this way one subclass of their national parks). It is also the most cunning of countries, the one that defeated Napoléon. But a valiant and noble nation, with a memory more tenuous than history itself.
For these and many other reasons, this is the crown of Europe.
I've said before the gastronomy is poor. It does not mean it is bad, although it rarely comes close to what British people think of it . One never feels touching some piece of culinary art when eating a fish and chips, although I wouldn't miss one for anything, and the cheddar is good in a potato but even hunger hardly make it palatable by itself. With all due respect to Wallace, British cheese comes second to virtually any other type from any other country. The crackers, nuts and fruits are however a nice addition, although cheese should go with bread (another big void of their gastronomy). The Sunday roast can actually be delicious, as my friend Dean Read once demonstrated by cooking it himself, on an actual Sunday. Sadly, I've never been able to repeat this experience. In a pub, it is systematically terribly dull. Cakes look good but this is their main asset. Wine is not worth speaking about, many would even be surprised it exists at all. Finally, even the English language does not have a proper word for dégustation.
There is, however, the British pudding, so rich as our friend Tom Taylor puts it. The ceremonial is fantastic. Prepared over months, possibly over years, you set it on fire before burning your tastebuds with sugar. All things sugary in general are in the mouth what the British people are in character: unexpected, exuberant, arrogant, delightful. Their ale is the best in the world. The tea is admittedly awful, at least by the Russian standard, but there is the Cornish version and the English ceremonial, the tea party, the tea breakfast, the scone and the clotted cream, as a compensation for this lost wisdom.
There are also those ingredients only commonly used by the British, like the wonderful parsnip—the savour of a fruit in the delight of a potato—or the rhubarb—the rapture of sourness in the delectation of a fruit. This is an enduring mystery for me as for the reason of their neglect in popular French cuisine.
And the best thing of all, the English mustard... a simple but compelling demonstration of domination, in the things that matter.
See the Wikipedia for all of them (but in England only).
This is a gallery of various locations and times, in no particular order, featuring some aspects of our two years or so living in UK.
A British friend (Tom) contemplating the coast of his country (Houns Tout Cliff).
A tree lashed by the wind in Cornwall.
Views of the Dover cliffs from the ferry.
Old Wardour castle (England),
British Food at the pub (Isle of Wight).
The smallest UK city's cathedral.
And near the Blue Lagoon.
The Royal Mile in Scotland's capital.