Monday, July 31, 2006

UK again

We arrived back in the UK about ten days ago, into the port of Harwich. Which, for a town which is supposed to be welcoming Scandinavian and Dutch travellers into the UK, is depressingly grim - it's not a pretty sight as you approach from the North Sea, nor is it any better once you disembark.

We met a German family while queueing for the ferry - loaded with brightly-coloured Ortlieb panniers, they were from Hamburg and used to make regular trips to Norfolk on the Hamburg-Harwich route, unfortunately it's now closed, so now they have to make the trip to Esbjerg first (although they had taken the train for that part).

The first thing we did on arrival in Harwich was to ride into town in search of our first curry in two months - with the help of a passer-by, we were successful and sat down to a light lunch of chicken jalfrezi and vegetable balti.

On the train home (yes, we got the train - there is a slight obstruction in between Harwich and Surrey, and it's called London) we met another cyclist, Ed, a student who was on his way back from a four-week trip from Calais to Amsterdam. He'd been camping with a mate and, as students do, they had been living off a rice-and-tuna based concoction for pretty much every meal. He'd also previously been on a cycling trip to Norway, which he said was fantastic. Norway's on our list of places-to-go, but moreso on our list of places-to-go-when-we're-rich, the tuna-and-rice lifestyle is not for us.

We parted ways at Liverpool Street station, and dgym and I set out upon a hot, noisy, busy and smelly trip across London. A real shock to the system after the deserted lanes of Denmark. We got on our train at Waterloo and were greeted with the typical UK grumpiness we had missed so much when the guard started frowning at dgym's trike and warning us "that area's meant for three bikes, not one, you'd better make sure you fit within the yellow line" (of course two hours later the whole train would be packed out with sweating commuter bodies and that would be just fine...)

We had a fantastic curry for dinner that evening, and since getting back, we've managed to catch up on a few of the things we've been missing...

So, what happens next?

We're off to Bratislava/Vienna in a couple of weeks, no bicycles so it's not strictly a bike hippy trip but no doubt you'll hear about it anyway. Inbetween now and then, we'll be getting the bikes ready for the next big trip, buying a tent that's big enough for dgym (we are currently arguing over the Vaude Taurus Ultralight and the Terra Nova Laserlarge) and maybe taking a short trip to test everything out.

After Bratislava, we will be spending some time in Dorset on family business, and in late September sailing off to Spain for our autumn/winter trip.

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