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Published: August 17th 2009
Leaving Spain was when reality really started to kick in, our travels were really over and it was time to buckle down and find somewhere to live and some way of supporting ourselves in our new home. Before getting to grips with apartment hunting and job searching we did manage to have a little fun!
On our arrival at Heathrow we headed straight to the Witherspoons (well it is an English icon of sorts!) for dinner with Lara's aunt Jill. Jill was flying out the following morning so Heathrow was the best place for the meal and it was lovely to see her. We'd stayed with her in Maryland 10 months ago and it was great to see her at the end of all the travels.
Lara's Dad was also in London on his cricket tour and after dinner with Jill and a night in the Heathrow Airport Lodge we made our way to the Holland Park Youth Centre to find him. We spent a few days tagging along with the tour - going on open bus tours, visiting Lords and having a traditional English roast dinner, we also managed a quick trip to the British museum with Pete
before they continued their tour in Holland.
We moved out to Gerrards Cross to stay with friends that Lara had stayed with previously in the UK and they were kind enough to put us up for almost 3 weeks. During our stay we were supposed to be searching for jobs and apartments but managed to go on lots of walks, enjoy English-language television and spend lots of time with David and Chris.
One of Al's school friends was living in Cheltenham so we took the opportunity to go and do some sightseeing and spend some time with Brendan. Brendan was kind enough to lend us his car while he was at work which gave us the opportunity to do some exploring in the lovely quaint Cotswolds. We drove around choosing villages at random and sometimes because of their name - how could we miss Upper and Lower Slaughter!
After our weeks in Gerrards Cross and our visit to Cheltenham we really had to start making some progress on the house and job front. We moved into a place in Clapham North sharing it with an English couple and we continued the hunt for jobs. Not quite so
Lara and her Dad
At the Oxley Cricket Dinner
much fun as snorkelling in the Galapagos or hang-gliding in Rio - but a new adventure none-the-less!
Lara got a job within a few weeks but Al had more of a struggle - so it was important to keep Al entertained for as cheaply as possible. We entertained ourselves on weekends by getting off to see as much of what England has to offer as possible, which included the Nottinghill Carnival. A crazy carnival through the streets of Nottinghill - with dancing, costumes and hundreds and hundreds of people. Its an annual event on the August long weekend that has a reputation for violence after dark, but thankfully we didn't experience any of that.
We also went punting on the river in Cambridge which was a complete accident. We had originally intended to go Canterbury but a mistake when purchasing the tickets meant that we ended up in Cambridge instead. We really loved it - its a beautiful little city and punting is great fun. It was made even more fun because we were so terrible at it and kept bumping in to things. We essentially invented 'extreme punting'!
Finding deer in Richmond was another one of
our weekend ideas and we spent the day looking around Richmond, walking along the Thames and looking for deer in Richmond Deer Park.
We are still struggling with the fact that we're no longer on the road but the UK and Europe has a lot to offer. Our upcoming adventures will include Rome and Dublin - so watch this space!
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