Good Morning, Residents of Crazie Town.
After a good night’s sleep in our tiny hotel room in Oxford, England, I am sitting in the conservatory (pronounced conservatree) having my morning cup of tea. I managed to negotiate the non-American breakfast buffet (pronounced with the T as in Warren) and picked some nice poached eggs. I even bravely chose a colorful “meat” link, but avoided a black hockey puck described as “Blood Sausage.”
Ignoring all the gluten free/sugar free promises I made to myself, I quickly abandoned my properly Paleo plate of food and instead snarfed my way through a delicious, crumbly croissant slathered in soft butter. Yum.
As for that nasty sinus infection I’ve been fighting for two weeks – the antibiotics kicked in the morning of our flight and I made it through just fine.
In a rare fit of genius, I’d asked the gate agent to see if there were any empty rows on the plane. He (not so kindly) moved us to a row of three, so I was able to stretch out and get a few hours of sleep on the seven hour flight to London.
Upon arrival, we rented a car and cleverly refused the expensive SatNav (GPS to you Americans) as I’d borrowed my brother’s for the trip. Off we drove, happy as clams.
Unfortunately, I could only get the screen to display a wide purple line snaking up north with a little blue car that floated from east to west in no discernable pattern. Turns out, I should have downloaded the “UK Maps” app to the GPS before leaving. Oops.
Since my husband has the confidence of Paul Bunyan, we drove on, following the highway signs for Oxford. We arrived in the medieval village, bumped over cobblestone streets and raced around roundabouts for an hour, with me shouting “Stay left! Stay left!” every five minutes.
In order to avoid a head on collision, John took a sharp turn and we ended up in a teeny tiny parking lot with one narrow space available. Our Vauxhall fit perfectly. We managed to extract ourselves from the car and walked down the sidewalk to our right. Not really sure what we were looking for or how to find it, two blocks later we turned around and walked four blocks to our left, stopped and walked the two blocks back to where we started.
Passing the Cous Cous Cafe for the fourth time, I grabbed John’s elbow and yanked him inside. “Please,” I begged the guy behind the counter, “can you help us find our hotel.” He told about the time he’d gotten lost in France and how the gentleman he’d asked directions from, drove him to his location. “So,” he said, “I will do the same for you.” He left his waitress in charge of his restaurant, got his car and waited while we retrieved ours. Then we followed him through a dozen twists and turns, back out on to the M40 and directly to our hotel.
We have been moving non-stop ever since, interrupting our journey just long enough to stop at every pub my husband deems “real,” where I choke down another order of fish and chips.
My tea is cold and John is ready for our next adventure. A three hour drive to Wales.
When in England my friends, look right, but always, ALWAYS, stay left.
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Hey, stop watching John and start doing your patriotic duty – taking pictures. How do we know this vacation is real unless we see you with Big Ben growing out of your head? And are you going to come back with a British accent? Gosh I hope so!
What a great idea. I will take more pictures with things growing out of my head. It will be great to be famous for that.
Ah, the joys of being in a strange, confusing place — one that ALMOST speaks the same language, but with enough differences that you might as well be in Tunisia. But what great adventures you’ll have to write about!
You are so right about the confusing “English” language. One time my brother who lives there was on the phone ordering something. The woman asked “What language do they speak in Eng-land?” “Ummm, Eng-lish?” he replied.
This sounds like SO MUCH FUN!! If you hadn’t been lost you wouldn’t have had the pleasure of the hospitality of the Cous Cous Cafe – I hope you don’t get the GPS fixed too soon, or at least put it away occasionally. Enjoy your trip!
We did have the most amazing baklava. Yummy, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.