We have been on the road now for not quite a week. The boys have been troopers. We are all still struggling somewhat with the time change. Wanting to sleep mid afternoon but then waking at 1am and unable to get back to sleep. It will right itself soon enough.
We spent the first part of our journey in the Cotswold countryside of England. Our wonderful and gracious host welcomed us warmly. Karen is a beautiful soul who so generously gives of herself. She has unlimited energy, is vibrant and fun. The cottage, the villages’ old forgery, had us time travelling back hundreds of years.
THANK YOU to Karen and her two trusty sidekicks, Guinness and Libby. You gave us an enriching experience and made us feel so loved.
The country side is rolling and beautiful, dotted with sheep making for a sharp contrast to the green fields. The old stone buildings seem to whisper secrets of the past. The people have been friendly, courteous and helpful.
Driving, SERIOUSLY STRESSFUL. I think I am still spinning from all the round a bouts. The streets are crazy narrow and it is not uncommon to have to back up to let oncoming traffic pass. We happily returned our rental and jumped on the National Express bus system. The bus drivers are some of the strongest willed and crazy individuals I think I will come across. HUGE buses to maneuver through alley like streets with cars, pedestrians and cyclists who all seem to be navigating on blind faith.
There is so much history here. Stonehenge dating back to 2500BC, Roman Villas that built a heated floor back in the 800s. We visited the church where my Great Great Grandparents are buried. Was a good feeling to be around my ancestors. Felt connected in a strange yet significant way. Was good for the boys to see this connection to the past. The church where they are laid to rest was built in 802AD. Just standing in this building felt momentous.
We are now in Cambridge staying at a friends place.
BUNCHES OF THANKS to Michelle and Adrain. The evening out in Cambridge was brilliant. Your home is cozy and the art work particularly enjoyable. Your generosity and kindness is very much appreciated.
Cambridge is bustling. The winding river with its footpaths, bike paths, cobbled streets and tall centuries old building. Very easy navigation for cyclists and pedestrians. We could learn a lot from their city planners. There are even cows grazing in the grassy parks downtown. A late night walk was wonderful and the streets were still buzzing with life.
The cyclists definitely own the roads here. More bikes than vehicles for sure. The bike racks are stacked two high in some cases. Most cyclists don’t even seem to look before heading out to mingle with the buses or cars. Organized chaos, like a choreographed dance. Never sure who is in the lead but having faith that someone is always a step ahead. Mesmerizing to watch.
The world is a very different place than even 10 years ago. Everyone is plugged in and you are expected to be as well. I have said many times that I would go back to a world without internet in a heartbeat. I still feel the same. But yet, here I am writing a blog. The irony of this is not lost on me. The world is not going to change, so I have to find my own balance in the cyberchaos.
We brought one iPad for staying connected. Seems one is not enough. Kids need it for homework with math and blogging. We need it for research and booking things from train tickets to lodgings. It has only been a week and everything we read and everyone we talk to, is telling us to book online. It is cheaper, which turns out to be frustratingly true. So even if we wanted to purchase at the the rail station (on a computer kiosk I might add), it would cost another $10 to $20 than the online cost.
So when arrived just prior to our trains departure to pick up our tickets -from the computer kiosk- it did not recognize our reference number. When we did find someone to talk to, he was still scratching his head when we stepped on the train with no printed ticket. We were told to resolve the matter at the station of our destination. Where they could not resolve it either!
So this cyber world we live in makes my head spin at times. Would probably be easier to navigate if we were tech savvy. Should have taken a course on internet travelling tips prior to leaving. Maybe then we would have been more efficient navigating the tech world. Then again, maybe not. I am thankful that we only have 1 device. This in itself limits the time and effort we put into being plugged in.
It has been interesting travelling with the boys. They have managed incredibly well with the time change. The transition from home to the unknown has been very gentle. England is preparing us for the even further chaos that will await us in India and SE Asia. The boys are enjoying the adventure. Little complaining when we ask them to wake too early or to walk a little faster. All the camping, skiing, hiking, road trips and even the many days of biking to school have helped prepare them for this 4 months of travel. They are resilient and adaptable. Love them more than the English love their fish and chips.
We woke early and walked the quiet streets of Cambridge in a gentle drizzle, to get the 0715 train to London. So as I type, the movement of the train gently vibrates my entire being. The continuous hypnotic clicking of the wheels on the track are like a form of meditation. I have always loved train travel and looked forward to sharing this experience with my kids since we first decided to make this trip happen. So here we are. The first of many train trips to come.
The train whistle blows. A gentle reminder that it is time to log out and truly experience the world. To trance out with my kids as we watch England pass outside. For the only way to truly embrace life, is to be living it.