I’ll start with my latest vacation in England. My husband and I went last August, to celebrate our anniversary. He has always wanted to fly to Europe; me, not so much. I hate flying (which was a post of mine last year, too). I don’t like anything about it. But when he dangled the idea of a trip to England before me, I couldn’t resist. I’ve wanted to go there for years.
The flight over was grueling, non-stop from Los Angeles to Heathrow, eleven hours overnight. I think I slept one of those hours. But when we got there, I was totally entranced. Yes, airport traffic was the same as back home: bumper-to-bumper. But once we got on the highway (American term), the differences between our countries became visible. When we left the city, we left the city. We drove through lush countryside, similar to rural Virginia, yet nothing like it. In southern California, it’s so built up that you wouldn’t know you’d left one city for another except for the placards telling you so.
We ate at a pub the first night, outside of the castle at which we were spending the night (yes, a castle). The food was sooo delicious. My husband had fish and chips and mushy peas, which we both could have taken a bath in, they were so good. I had grilled chicken, which was also fabulous. I think it was the best food of the entire trip. However, we ate outside. Imagine our surprise when people all around us lit up cigarettes while they ate. In the U.S., and especially California, smoking is prohibited in restaurants, inside or outside. Being nonsmokers, it put a damper on what was an otherwise amazing meal. But, we learned. During the rest of the trip, we ate inside.
Another big surprise for us was when we explored London, we found public restrooms to be 1) hard to locate, and, once you found them, 2) you had to pay to use them. In the mall, in Victoria Station, you name it. Pardon my crudeness, but you had to pay to pee. Besides that revelation, restrooms were just plain nonexistent. My husband and I did a lot of walking in London, and when we had to go, there were no places to duck in and use the “loo.” No fast food places, no large grocery stores with roomy restrooms. We had to plan how far we could venture before returning to our home base.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t be afraid to plan your trip of a lifetime. Just don’t expect it to be like where you live. You wouldn’t want it to be. Because, once you return and open your front door, nothing feels better than saying, “I’m home.”
Have you had a funny or unusual experience while vacationing? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear it.