Tuesday, November 02, 2004

England Trip Notes - 10/9/2004

Travel day. We spent the day sitting on planes and in airports, flying out of Cleveland at 4:30 PM on October 8, through Philadelphia, and on to London's Gatwick airport, arriving at 8:30 AM Saturday, October 9. The flight was as comfortable and uneventful as any flight ever is, and, per my norm, I found myself unable to sleep much during the flight. We arrived therefore with a mix of excitement and weariness.

Our first business (after immigration and customs, which was a formality and very quick) was to "hire" a car. I had been anticipating my first few hours of British driving with trepidation, but it was not as bad as I feared. My first experience was on the M23 motorway, which was just like driving the freeway at home, except everything is reversed. You enter from the left, and the slow lane is on the left, and you "overtake," or pass, only on the right. I was just getting comfortable
with the car and the environment when Beth decided we would drive south to Canterbury. Yikes.

Once off the motorway, things got interesting quite quickly. The first time I experienced a two way road where heavy traffic was flying toward me on the right, I actually experienced a wave of nausea. It took some getting used to seeing them coming from the wrong side. And, I had difficulty with curbing my left wheels, as I tended to drive too far to the left. Hopefully this trait will wain with practice. Otherwise, I may wear the car out before I turn it in.

Canterbury was a nightmare. Extremely tight streets, seemingly millions of roundabouts, coupled with an annual Canterbury Festival that was occurring and my sleep deprivation, made for a tense time. Once in the city, all we could think of was getting out alive, so we did not see much. We may return later in the week, when we are more prepared, rested, and able to cope.

From Canterbury we drove north and stopped for lunch of fish and chips and peas at the First and Last Freehouse in Herne. From there, it was on to our resort in Barnesville, where we arrived about 5:30 PM. The resort is beautiful, and we could not be more pleased. For our first week, we are settled into a lovely A-framed cottage containing four bedrooms, full living room, dining room, kitchen, and two full baths, each with a jacuzzi tub. We unpacked, enjoyed the jacuzzi for a few
minutes, and then went to bed early. So ends day 1.

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