After almost 4 years of being stuck in South Africa (thanks Covid!) we’re finally boarding a plane in a few days’ time and heading for Europe again!
We will be flying via Qatar on plane tickets that we bought for our 2020 trip to Ireland (alas) to London, where we’ll pick up a hire car and drive down to Wales to visit family near Cardiff. Apart from my mother-in-law (who came to see us in December 2016 when the little traveller was 10 months old), none of my husband’s family have seen our kid yet – and he turned 7 this year! There are also a score of nieces and nephews (and two very photogenic doggies) on that side that we’re eager to meet.
So, we’ll spend a week in Wales catching up with everyone, and take a few daytrips in between. I’m looking forward to go back to Cardiff (to visit all our old haunts and see a few of the places where my book, Myth Hunter, is set), but I’m incredibly excited to go visit Oxford again! I’ve been there once before, but I spent my entire time there inside the Ashmolean Museum – which was fascinating! – but I didn’t see the town itself at all. Since I’m busy writing a new novella set in Oxford, we’ll be trying to see as much of the university, libraries, and the town itself as we can.
The second week we’ll be jumping into the car and roadtripping through the southwestern end of England. We’ve never been down that way, so I’m trying to squish as many of the sights in as time and a 7-year old’s patience will allow. Since this is prime King Arthur country, I’m hoping to get him excited enough to go see old ruined castles and abbeys that we won’t have to listen to too much moaning!
Our key points of interest on the southward journey are Glastonbury, Tintagel, Penzance, Land’s End and St Michael’s Mount. Then we’ll head back north, splurging out on a one-night stay in castle (!!) in Dartmoor National Park, before heading the scenic way via Torquay to Exeter and the Jurassic Coast. And then homeward bound again.
I’m extremely excited to explore this part of the UK! When I was planning it, my imagination was filled with windswept coastlines, buccaneering seaside towns, gothic moors with bluebell-filled forests, and fossil-littered beaches.
What I thought I was going to get:
I was prepared for it to be rainy (it is the UK, after all), but I hadn’t expected it to be snowing! My mother-in-law sent us a video recently showing her backyard covered in 10cm of white powder.
So, what it looks like I’m going to get:
The little traveller is excited for the snow, something he’s only seen on TV as yet. I’m worried that it will be melted by then and we’ll have to deal with sludge and miserable weather. I hadn’t planned on packing for sub-zero temperatures, and I dread the thought of driving with snow chains!
But I guess it’s all part of the adventure.
In the meanwhile, I’m still frantically trying to make sure everyone has up-to-date passports, visas and driving permits, that we have somewhere to stay every night and breakfast in the morning, that we all have enough clothes so we don’t need to do washing, that we have waterproof shoes, rain jackets, warm pants (the little traveller needed an ENTIRE new wardrobe because last year’s winter clothes don’t fit anymore!), that there’s enough food for the dog staying behind with my mother, that we still know what time the flight leaves (never again, Qatar!) and that everyone remembers to pack a toothbrush!
I forgot what a mission an overseas trip can be!
But we’re all counting down the days until we fly. It’s going to be amazing.
I’ll be blogging about our trip once we’re back, but if you want to follow along while we’re in the thick of it, you can follow my page on Facebook.