Friday, September 2, 2011

Further Afield

Guten tag, dear readers, from Berlin!  As you can see, I haven't been able to blog while on holiday - it's been a bit of a whirlwind, and there hasn't been much downtime.  Happily, though, I have several lovely blog friends who have generously agreed to fill in for me in my absence.  Coming from America, where it takes a five-hour flight just to get to the other side of the country, makes expats appreciate living in the UK, from which other European countries and cities are so accessible.  These ladies have all traveled extensively, so I thought they could give us some good insights into how best to venture out of London!  First up is Beth from In the Left Lane - please join me in giving her a warm welcome.

Many thanks to Betsy for her kind invitation to write a guest post on travel from London!

Before we moved to London in 2009, Tom and I made lists of places we absolutely had to visit during our time in Europe, and I'm pretty sure that our lists included every major European city and those quintessential regions found in most Americans' vocabulary (Provence, Bavaria, etc.).  At the time, we were reading articles on budget airlines, weekends on Mediterranean islands, and hiking in the Alps.  Not that I have anything against Mediterranean islands.

Nor do I have a problem with hiking in the Alps.

But shortly after our arrival in London, we recognized that our lists (largely) overlooked the astounding variety the UK offers.  And it is a fantastic linguistic adventure, learning to understand English in all its glorious British forms.  And the train is infinitely easier than any budget airline.  And driving on the left isn't hard at all once you master roundabouts and accept the general lack of guardrails.

Cornwall was perhaps our most adventurous, most unexpected weekend in the UK, a weekend that inspired a whole lot of wandering up and down the British Isles  After the familiar, gentle landscape of southeastern England, I found Cornwall particularly undomesticated (I mean that in the best way possible) and I think I know why this is home to so much legend and mythology.  The stuff of war dukes and dragons is, after all, written in the craggy coastline and the winding narrow roads that predate the Roman occupation of Britain.  I continually expected some of the more fantastical creatures from the Morte d'Arthur to pop out from behind something like this:

We discovered that this little corner of England is where an Iron Age village can survive a couple millenia as an enclosure for livestock before English Heritage takes over and moves said livestock a whole 10 yards away from the remnants of round houses and such.

Though I don't know why these things surprise us, given our penchant for hunting stone circles, which have survived at least as many centuries surrounded by at least as many sheep.

It's actually kind of crazy that a few hours on a train could take us from London, a place with layer upon dusty layer of history, to Cornwall, a place where the layers of history are more easily identified, more readily available for anyone willing to take a 3-hour ride out of Paddington.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to get Cornwall this year! Although it seems rather difficult to get around much without a car.


I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.