Thursday, September 3, 2015

Navigating our trip - Days 3 and 4

Not all of this post is about navigation, but that was the main tie-in I could think of between these two days.

On our third day in London, we slept in a bit and then to a walk to the Metropolitan Tabernacle for Sunday Services.  This is where Spurgeon preached.  It was quite a contrast to the Evensongs we attended.  The place was packed, there was hearty congregational singing, and preaching from the word.  Unfortunately what stuck out the most to both of us was the guest preacher's extreme comb-over.  I have never seen anything like it.  Wish I had a photo!

Then that afternoon we headed to Greenwich the home of the Royal Observatory and the place where all the breakthroughs were discovered that were used in maritime navigation.  Somehow I had not stopped to think that the observatory would be on a hill.  We arrived quite breathless.  It cost $16 each to go in the observatory and get your picture made on the golden Prime Meridian out in front.   There was also a huge line.  I reasoned that since lines have no beginning or end, there must be a place to stand out back that would work.  It cost no money to go there.  I asked a gal who worked there if there was a certain place we could stand out back to be right on the Meridian.  She spoke very quietly and told me she could not tell me but that an observing person could quickly "work it out."  Wasn't hard at all, and we felt ever so clever to skip both the expense and the long wait.

On our way back from Greenwich, ironically, we had a big navigation mishap.  We had decided to take the bus (we had arrived by boat).  We found our correct bus # just as a bus pulled up.  We congratulated ourselves on our brilliant timing and piled on the bus with everyone else.  We were confused right at first because it seemed we were going in the wrong direction.  I assumed the route was just a loop, but as time went on, we seemed to be getting further and further from London.  Finally we got to the end of the line and had to get out.  It was a pretty run down looking area, and we were the only ones speaking English.  We also weren't sure there was enough fare on our Oyster cards, and they don't take other forms of payment for the bus.  But after 10 min, a bus came going the other direction, our cards worked,  and we arrived back safe and sound after a very long ride. 

The next morning we said goodbye to our hostess, Kathryn.  We will see her again when we return to London for the last 3 days of our trip.  

We picked up a rental car at Heathrow.  After paying, they sent us to the lot and told us to pick out any car in zone 2.  We saw thus rather ugly orange and white one, and Rebecca reasoned it would always be easy to find.  So we claimed it.  The the attendant told us we had chosen wisely because this model had a built-in GPS whereas most zone 2 cars don't.  They had tried to sell us one as an expensive add-on.

Turns out we have really needed that navigator.  If we used Google maps on our phones, we would easily spend $50 a day in data.  Of course, we could use a map I guess but that would be so last century. 

Rebecca has turned out to be an excellent navigator and sign interpreter.  I am just trying to keep the car in the right gear and keep the car on the proper side of the road!  We got lots of practice the first day - once going through 8 back-to-back roundabouts.  And this is not the same as going through the same roundabout 8 times!  So far I have only gone through the same one twice which is at least preferable to taking the wrong exit and having to do a U-turn (I've done that, too).
Fortunately, Brits are the most polite drivers I have ever seen.  I was beeped at just 4 times that first day and I deserved it far more.  Even when they beep, it's just a quick warning thing - not a lay on your horn and give you a dirty look thing.  

We drove from the airport about an hour and a half to Rockingham Castle.  Lovely spot, and we saw a fun Viking reenactment there.

Then we drowe to Raunds where we are staying with an old friend from Tennessee.  She took us to a restaurant with traditional English fare. There is not much to recommend about English food, but sticky toffee pudding is an exception! In fact, Rebecca and I will give them a pass for everything else since they invented toffee.

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