Thursday, January 2, 2014

Days 122-123: Travel Live-Blog

Entry 1: 15:27h, England, East Anglia Trains

I'm on the road again. Or, in this particular case, I'm on the train, but I'll be hitting the road soon enough. I'm currently on a train from Cambridge to London, where I'll catch an overnight bus that will take me to Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, another train will get me to Friesland, a northern province of holland, where my mum's side of the family is from.

I'm a little tired, since the past few weeks have been so busy. Christmas in Nottingham was just wonderful- I reconnected with my great aunt and uncle, met their kids and grand kids, and visited so many historical sites (like lord Byron's house, Sherwood Forest, and Nottingham castle). I'll post a full account of my adventures once I get back to St. Andrews and can load all my photos on to my laptop. For now, just know that I had a lovely first Christmas away from home.

For the past weekend I've been in Newmarket, visiting a friend I met in St. Andrews. I got to see a bit of Newmarket, Cambridge, and Ely, as well as just spending some time with my friend's family. For New Years, we went to another friend's house where we rang in 2014 with some fireworks and a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

Ah! I'm in London! The train is moving rather slowly now, and in the distance I can see the Shard and the Gherkin. It's rather cloudy here, so I may take the tube to the bus stop rather than the hour long walk. Either way, it's time to start packing up my stuff and prepare for a few brief hours in London.

Entry 2:18:17h, London, Victoria coach station

I walked here. In the dark. And the rain. And it took me an hour and a half.

And I enjoyed it.

Alright, I admit that I wasn't having the greatest time toward the end, when I was walking through non-descript streets with soaking feet, a growling stomach, and a heavy bag. But until then, when I was strolling along the riverside walk, with Big Ben and the London Eye lit up against the sky... I enjoyed it despite the rain.

I'm not sure quite why I decided to walk. The tube station was right there and would have gotten me here so quickly and fairly cheaply. But instead I walked, and got cold and wet... and saw London.

I'm glad I walked.

Entry 3: 11:44h, Friesland, Drachten Bus Station

Well then. That was not exactly the most enjoyable of nights. But, then again, I didn't choose the overnight bus because I thought it would be fun. I didn't properly sleep at all, and, since it was dark, I didn't really see any of the three countries that we passed through. We stopped for half an hour at a service station in France and I was too tired to get out of the bus.

An unexpected addition to the journey was a ferry ride from Dover to Calais. I had assumed we'd be taking the tunnel, so I was a little surprised when we turned up at the ferry terminal. I really wish it had been daytime, because I caught some tantalizing glimpses of the white cliffs of Dover and I would have loved to see them properly. Also, a ferry ride to France could have been really exciting, but since it was 1am the day after New Year's, I just sort of half-slept and didn't see much.

But I'm here now. In Friesland. Waiting for my mom's cousin to pick me up. It's more than a little odd being here, in a country where English isn't an official language. What's even weirder is the fact that my family comes from here. Around the same time that my dad's parents emigrated from England, my mom's parents came over from Holland. I belong here in the same way as I belong in England. We'll see if, by the end of my stay, it starts to feel like home.

1 comment:

  1. For the sake of the Friesian side of the family, do post often and take lots of pictures.
    Auntie Lyn