Jet lag? What jet lag?

Trip Start Jun 28, 2007
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Trip End Jul 27, 2007


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, June 29, 2007

Sunny and 19C

We landed at 10h40 at Heathrow in London and disembarked quickly. Unfortunately there was a LONG queue at Passport Control and it was not until 2 hours later that we finally had all our bags and our rental car and were ready to roll. I was somewhat apprehensive about operating a right-hand drive car in London traffic, especially considering the lack of sleep during our flight. But I soon learned the rhythm of the roads and settled in for the 2 hour drive to Salisbury. Navigating was a bit of a challenge given the variety of names, the unfamiliar signage, and the fact that signs were frequently obscured by the trees and hedges growing in all their verdant glory. I started to get frustrated by Celine's inability to read maps while the car was in motion (which pretty much defeats the purpose of a navigator). However, I reminded myself that it was due to her motion sickness aggravated by the fact that key road signs were often missing or at least not located where we expected them to be. At any rate, we worked our way into Salisbury and by equal parts luck and intuition (helped by my previous study of the roads on Google Earth and Mapquest) we found ourselves precisely in the parking lot near the heart of the city where we had intended to be. Our next task was to find coins for the parking meter, which we obtained at a local Sainsbury's grocery store.

After a quick bite to eat (not quick enough by my standards) we set off on foot to the Cathedral Close. We were delighted with the old and varied architecture of the downtown core and then stood in awe in front of the 404 ft Cathedral Spire. We paid our 12 pounds entry fee and spent a lovely 90 minutes wandering through the church. A highlight was definitely the Magna Carta (1 of only 4 ever produced). The penmanship is stunning and looks as if it were created by a mechanical process rather than by human hands.

Following Salisbury, we drove to Stonehenge and were impressed by the splendour of the site. We stayed only 15 minutes (which was enough) then made our way by hook and by crook to our lodgings in Bath. Upon arrival, we unloaded our gear from a fortuitously close parking spot, settled into our room, and enjoyed ham & cheese sandwiches while watching an episode of the Sharpe's series on the telly. We bedded down for the night, clean from showers and tired from our journey. It felt great to have begun so successfully and I was thrilled to be there with Celine and the children. Who would have dreamed 2 years ago, when I was undergoing a stem cell transplant in a cancer ward, that this was even a possibility. We are truly blessed!

Celine's Thoughts
Our adventure has begun! After many years of talking about it, yesterday we left for Europe! Thirty days with Paul and the kids in England, France, and Italy await us. Our friend, Spence, drove us to the airport in Calgary and our plane departed at 18h40. Overall, the trip was tremendous. As usual, I was nervous about motion sikness but this time it was different. Not only was I awake a lot more but I also ate both supper and breakfast. The only thing I can account for the change are the two wrist bands I was wearing that apply pressure to an acupuncture point...I'm hooked.

We arrived at Heathrow Airport in London at 10h30. The passport line was crazy busy and took forever! We took out pounds from an ATM and went to get our rental car. It's a diesel Vauxhall with the driver side on the right-hand side of course. It was weird to drive on the left hand side of the road but Paul handled it fabulously. The roads are incredibly narrow and winding and often passing vehicles felt more like a near miss. From London, we drove to Salisbury and upon arrival were a little grumpy, mostly due to lack of quality sleep. Getting out of the car and walking around was exactly the right medicine. We grabbed some lunch, then visited the Salisbury Abbey...it is immense! The spire is the tallest in all of England. Highlights included the Walking Madonna, the cloister, the Magna Carta (an original), the flowing fountain, and a prayer left for Paul.

After getting groceries, we drove to Stonehenge. We had been forewarned that paying full admission was not worthwhile, so we opted to park and shoot, that is, park the car and shoot pictures either through or over the chain link fence. The circle of stones was certainly impressive. Onward we drove, missing a critical junction and inadvertently taking some back country roads. The sights were wonderful. An interesting crossing sign read "Tank Crossing"...can you imagine! We arrived at Bath and by good fortune (and some pre-scouting on Google Earth) found our way to our accomodations. The streets are twisty and narrow, are NOT clearly marked, and everything is on the opposite side. Somehow we managed to arrive at #32 Brock Street B&B. We were delighted with our quad room on the third floor with 2 large shuttered windows facing the street. We stayed in the room that night where we ate a late supper, picnic-style, then got cleaned up and ready for the day to come. This day flew by!
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