My family left last week, after 12 days of scurrying about the country in a desperate attempt to see as much as possible. We drove over 1200 miles in 9 days and were blessed with better-than-expected weather. It didn’t rain a single day they were here. It was hardly even cloudy! It was pretty cold (though not bad by UK standards, about 45 on average) and kinda windy but it DID NOT RAIN, and I don’t think you can ask for any more than that. Of course, now that I’m back in Brighton it’s been cloudy and windy and even rainy, so things are evening out. It’s alright though, because I caught something nasty at the end of our trip and have been unproductively coughing and sniffling going on 10 days now. WedMD says it might be bronchitis but all in all I am feeling much better, just an annoying cough every once in a while. Things are basically back to normal around here; I am trying to amuse myself by cooking healthier food for us, after a stint of near-daily chip (french fry) consumption while on vacation. Damn vacations are the worst for eating habits. Food here is overall pretty disappointing, especially when you’re used to The Portland Standard, but we did have a couple really good meals. The first one was dinner in London at a place called Tokyo Diner in Chinatown. I had a delicious bowel of udon and my brother had an enormous katsu buri don. It was so big he couldn’t finish it, and that’s saying a lot. The other really good meal I had was at The Elephant House in Edinburgh, a cute cafe where J.K.Rowling sat and penned the first two Harry Potters while gazing out the back window at Edinburgh Castle. Thankfully, the place hasn’t turned into a Harry Potter love-fest-if I hadn’t read that tidbit in the travel book I would have had no idea. I had a super yummy jacket potato (baked potato) with chili con carne and sour cream. I would never have thought to put chili on my potato, but it was great. Here they eat lots of weird things on potatoes, like curry chicken, prawn and mayo (like tuna salad but made with bay shrimp), baked beans and cheese. None of those sound especially appealing to me, so I went with the chili, and my oh my was that a good decision.
Here’s our basic trip itinerary: three days in London, one night in Brighton, stopovers in Salisbury and Stonehenge en route to Bath. Two days there, then a long-haul to Edinburgh where we spent three days (not nearly long enough!) then down the east coast to Bamburgh Castle and out into the countryside to stay near Hadrian’s Wall for two days. Then back to London for the night before they left. I don’t know if I would do so much again, it was a lot of time in the car and a lot of stress, but I’m glad we saw everything we did. I think it was a good survey of the different parts of the UK, and we all ended up having a good time. Also, I owe my brother my life for being my co-pilot while I drove. He more than made up for nearly getting me deported (but that’s another story).