Sunday, March 9, 2014

So We Went to Europe: England Part 1

Sometime around 10 a.m. Saturday morning we landed.  Now I feel like I've traveled kind of a lot.  I am pretty good at winging it.  Turns out, I freaked out a little when I stepped onto UK soil.  Everything went fine up until the point that I realized I had no idea how much cash I needed to pull out of the ATM, no idea how much I would get charged for it, and no clue what the best option would be for getting to Newcastle to see Tyler and Ariana.

We are a bit tired.

After someone told me it would be very expensive to get to the other station, a really nice guy stopped us while we were wandering aimlessly about.  Apparently, he could spot people that were "lost", which indeed we were.  Instead of getting on the bus that would have taken forever, he said we could take the "tube" and it would only cost like $10.  So off we went!!  And yes, I laughed a little inside every time they said I was on the "Piccadilly Line to Cockfosters" in their excellent British accent.  We made it to the King's Cross station, paid an exorbitant amount for train tickets, and were finally on the last leg of our initial journey.

Cockfosters.  Hehe.
After three days of traveling, all without sleeping in a bed (this was Saturday afternoon, we hadn't laid down since Tuesday night), it would be hard exactly to describe how comfortable that train was.  Sitting down, listening to a five year-old girl talk with her dad in her adorable accent, knowing vacation had finally started, it couldn't have been more amazing in that moment.  Unless Publishers' Clearing House showed up.

At least there was room on the train.
Those were some swollen feet.
This sandwich looks an awful lot like it came from Fresh & Easy.
But the bacon was more like prosciutto and pretty gross.
Pretty view.
Four hours later we stepped off the train and there were our friends!!!  And wow it was good to see them cause it had been forever, and a little sweeter cause I felt quite a bit less lost.  And there was someone else to carry the duffel bags!  And they had food! And a baby!

One more 45 minute train ride, a little walk, and we made it to their house.  After a trip like that, to lay down anywhere, even on the floor, was more amazing than I could have anticipated.  So there I laid for a bit until Tyler and I headed out for food.

Obviously we had to get fish and chips.  We went to this little shop and for seven or eight dollars you get a piece of fish that is about an inch and a half thick, and 12-15 inches long, covered in delicious batter, topped with more salt than I could fathom ingesting (oddly enough, it wasn't that salty when we ate it.  Not sure how that happened), and of course the fries.

She was pretty impressed.
And excited.
She was very excited to be holding the baby.
Excited.  Still.
And I even held her for a bit.  I guess it was okay.
The beach right outside their house.
We even found greyhounds! Made us miss wax a bit.
What great little houses.  And everything was so clean.
No one goes to church anymore, so they convert the old buildings
into little shopping centers like this one.
Will probably own this one day.
Everyone takes their dogs with them, and just tie them up
they go inside.  They were all very well behaved dogs.
Old castle of sorts.
The sunny day at the beach.  With water WAY too cold to swim in.
We ventured out to a neighboring town (alone) to go grocery shopping.
And found another dog.
Their flat was one of these.
Got yelled at for taking this picture.  Those Brits get a bit serious at times.
Beautiful architecture. 

It was such a good time that we decided to spend another two days there.  It was really just great to see our friends after so long, and somewhere so far away.  While the rest of the trip was fun, I don't know if it really got better than those few days in Tynemouth.