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Published: November 8th 2018
Some of you have wondered - both publicly, and privately to me - whether this whole trip has been rainbows and unicorns, and/or if the travel has wearied me. As I wind down my last weeks in England, I can say that while the overall trip, discoveries and experiences have been PHENOMENAL, there have been trying times, places and people along the way. And it will be a relief not to be constantly researching and figuring out where to go next, how to get there and what the neighborhood/accommodations will be like.
Take, for example, my current (four night) stay in Royal Leamingtom (“Lemmington”) Spa. I opted for a modest AirBnB room ($70ish per night once fees are added) in a vegan house, because it was well located and the owners offer transit from/to the rail station. My room has French doors onto a huge roof deck with great view of Leamington and Warwick to the west, BUT the decor is student dorm, there’s heat only for an hour or so each morning and evening (typical of U.K. homes), and the (shared with two guys) bathroom is down a flight of creaky stairs. I can use the kitchen to cook,
but only vegan items - and part of tonight’s supper got eaten by someone else (the nearest shop is a 15 minute walk with a long hill). In other words, there are always trade offs; flexibility and a sense of humor are essential survival tools for travel (she says, munching on cheddar and crackers, and quaffing French wine....) 😉
Since I’ve pretty much exhausted my U.K. bucket list, as I now wander south toward Gatwick, I‘m choosing my final few stops more for their “convenience of conveyance” than for any monumental attraction. If the route involves fewer than three changes/transfers, I book it! As posted earlier, I can see much more of the scenery when riding rather than driving, even if the windows are dirty....
And did I mention yet that the sun is trying to kill me? I first noticed it when I drove into Wales last month. Apparently at this time of year, the sun rises to about 40 degrees in the British sky, and just hangs there as it slides west. This means that if the sun is shining on you, it is right smack dab in your eyes ALL DAMN DAY. So, if you’re
walking and not actively shielding your eyes, you’ll stride off curbs, trip on cobblestones, and walk into traffic. If you are driving, of course the little visor flaps are useless, especially on blind hilltops and curves. And if you are trying to photograph ANYthing, the sun somehow manages to get behind EVERY damn thing you want to shoot. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, especially as the days get damper, gustier and chillier. I just wish it were interactive, so I could press on it with my finger and move it out of the way from time to time. I’d put it back when I’m done. Honest.
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