The Rest of London
For any large city the size of London, there’s weeks and months that you could spend here and never see everything. We only had four days here and the first day was kind of a write-off given how tired we all were. Nonetheless, we all had some things on our lists and slowly we’ve been ticking off a few, one by one.
Peter and I have cousins in the London area and so did Liz and over the past few days we’ve met up with several family members having either lunch and dinner with them at different places around London. Personally, I have found that meeting with friends or family while traveling is an enjoyable way to really connect with the people and the country that we are visiting. There always seems to be an endless amount of time to see sights but actually meeting and talking with people is so much better.
But the sights of London demanded our attention so in the middle of meeting with family we continued our exploration of the city.
As we continue to explore London we’ve found that we’re often spitting up into groups and seeing different things by interest. This has usually meant that Barb and Liz are doing their thing while Peter and I are in a different part of he city. To be honest, this always happens even when Barb and I are traveling by ourselves and we often meet up somewhere for lunch or back at the hotel. Not doing this will guarantee that someone will be completely bored attending something in which they have no interest. There are always exceptions but this rule seems to work for us.
Yesterday was a good example where Liz and Barb attended high tea at Kensington Gardens while Peter and I went to the British Museum. We all did a lot of waking that day and later on all four of us met up at a pub near our hotel for some drinks. We had all walked a lot that day and climbed hundreds of stairs in subway stations so enjoying some beers was a nice way to relax before going out for dinner.
On to the 2nd Stage
As it’s Thursday today and this means that today will be our last full day in London and tomorrow we’ll be moving on to the next stage of our trip. We don’t really have anything planned today and as we’ve done since we arrived in London he met over breakfast, maps in hand and tried to agree on what we wanted to try and accomplish that day. There were a few must-see sights that we wanted to get to such as Buckingham Palace and we stayed there an hour or so before moving on.
While we were at Buckingham Palace the skies started to darken as can be seen in the above photo. I actually prefer to have dark clouds as I find that photos can often appear much more dramatic but we knew from the weather forecast that this also meant that the rain was about to start. Sure enough, we walked through rain soon after leaving Buckingham Palace. We had expected to see some rain throughout the whole trip so it wasn’t a surprise and it only lasted a short time.
By Friday morning we had packed up again and would sadly be leaving London and heading southeast by train to Dover. The showers that we had only seen for a few hours the day before in London was back in force and the short train ride out to Dover saw pretty heavy rain coming down on us the whole time.
We picked up our rental car in Dover and our plan was to make a quick detour to see the white cliffs for which Dover is famous but with the rain coming down we didn’t think that it was going to be worth it.
Then the most amazing thing occurred. It stopped raining.
So using our GPS we found the lookout to the cliffs and were able to have a quick look and some photos before heading off.
Driving the South Coast
When we were planning this trip many months ago we knew that there would be two legs of the trip where we would be driving, the first being along the south coast of England starting at Dover. Of course, driving in the UK means driving on the left side of the road. I usually make a comment in my blog about driving on the left but as I’ve now done this five times in various countries I’ve got to say that it’s not really that big of an issue anymore.
One of the most significant parts of this section of the trip is that for the next few days we haven’t made any hotel bookings in advance. For many people have told me that they regularly go on vacation without any preexisting hotel bookings. All I can say is that this is taking us way outside of our comfort zone by just winging it.
Nonetheless we stopped for lunch yesterday and using our iPhone we booked some rooms in a hotel here in the seaside town of Brighton. The hotel is right across from the Brighton Pier which is well lit up at night. While most things were closed when we walked along the pier last night, it looks like it could be very lively when all of the amusement rides are open.
I could see myself staying in Brighton for several days but this morning we’ll be back on the road driving west along the coast and staying at a yet unknown town tonight.
I’ll be posting another update in a few days.
I’ve started to add photos from this trip onto my photo web site which can be viewed here.