Friday, January 1, 2010

Planning a trip to England is as entertaining as the trip

George Waters column for Sunday, April 13, 2014:

(The capitalized word DON'T in paragraph one is meant to be lower case in italics.)

Planning a major trip is like the flu—it quietly gains an unstoppable momentum all its own. We are heading to England this summer, so there is the predictable debate about rental car vs. train for traveling around, can't-miss sights vs. sights which DON'T involve "Benny Hill" history. The usual.

My son loves the "Doctor Who" TV show, so we have to go to Cardiff to see the "Doctor Who Experience," which, if it were anything like the real doctor's experience on the show, would involve living forever with a rotating succession of ever more beautiful 20 year old women. I do not think that experience can be had in Cardiff. At least not for the 15 pounds they are asking.

I am a native Californian, so I am leaning toward driving everywhere, whereas my wife is a native Coloradan, so she is leaning toward not wanting to deal with how cranky I get when I drive everywhere.

The train is expensive, but this is a vacation after all, and the relaxation which comes from sitting, and not driving, and enjoying the English countryside from a train window is probably worth it.

O.K., very funny. My wife just wrote that last paragraph while I was off in the kitchen.

I was making bangers and mash. My well-traveled friend told me they test your skill at making bangers and mash at the airport, and won't stamp your passport if you fail. He might just be messing with me, but he also figured out that 9/11 was a conspiracy between narco-traffickers and Coca-Cola. So I am not taking any chances.

We have a lot of ground to cover; a great loop of England, Wales and Scotland with possibly a short hop to Dublin for the waters. I hear the Guinness brewery is doing wonderful things with waters.

When you start searching online for interesting places to visit, you find things like the "tank museum" in Dorset, and you quickly learn to refine your search terms. You are often torn between the touristy tug of places like Stratford and less famous villages like Barton in the Beans and Pett Bottom.

We will make our plans, but we will also, I hope, discover things to explore along the way, on the fly. I anticipate conversations like this:

"There's a town called Weston-under-Lizard just five miles over. Do you want to go?"

"Oh, I think you know."

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