Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not surprisingly, when we landed at London Gatwick, the weather was "lovely" (translation from Brittish:  60 degrees and drizzly).  Again, not surprisingly, we were trying to make a train connection that was a wee bit tight.  Our plane landed at 4:20 and we had hopes of making a 5:03 trains.  Possible, but tough, because Brittish passport control takes awhile.  We sprinted off the plane, passing many people en route to the passport line.  Then, we stood in line for 15 minutes and got approved to enter the country.  Sprinted to baggage claim, to wait 15 more minutes for them to post which claim belt our bags would be on.  Sprinted to the belt, grabbed Sue's bag, and waited and waited for Janna's.  4:55, but still hoping.  Sprinted to the train that connected North terminal (where we were) to South Terminal (where the trains were).  Hopped on, disembarked at South Terminal still sprinting (and sweating now).  At 4:59 we were buying our ticket- "platform 3" says the ticket man, and "be careful!", we took off down the escalator, onto the platform and onto the waiting train.  It was 5:02.  Put our bags on the luggage rack, and began to get comfy.  We were a bit surprised that no one else was on the train.  And then a nice Brittish man got on and told us this train was out of service, and our train was on the next track.  To get to the next track, you need to go up and over.  We flew up the stairs, across the station, and down the stairs, just in time to see our train pulling away.  Bloody Brittish and their train punctuality.  We would have made the train with an hour to spare in Sarajevo. 

To console ourselves for our miserable hour long wait, we shopped for delicious food at Marks and Spencer (a department store that has mastered healthy, fresh food).  We arrive at J's at about 8:00 pm, enough time to eat delicious homemade lasagna, enjoy some Brittish tea and settle in for the night.

The next morning, as expected, the weather was dreary.  We packed our raincoats, and then unpacked them.  If J and Tilly didn't need raincoats, why did we?

Took a morning train (well....11:00 am) to Oxford, a beautiful historical town/ university (perhaps you have heard of it?).

Luckily, we arrived just in time for the downpour. 

Lots of beautiful buildings here.

In fact, the architecture all around is so amazing, it is hard for just one thing to stand out.

Sue enjoying the weather at the University green with cows in the background.

More stunning architecture....

Hey, what is that beneath the clouds?

Enjoying the sheep on our train ride home. 
Honestly, we had a lovely day in Oxford.  Other than the initial rainstorm, it was cloudy but not too cold and wet (nothing like Stonehenge!).  We shopped, we ate lunch at a lovely Brittish pub, went to an adorable candy store, saw beautiful buildings and appreciated all of the English and our tour guides (slightly Hungarian and Irish).

For dinner, we cooked J french toast (her favorite!) and eggs...but sadly never got to make her chocolate chip cookies (she loves some American foods....).

The next day we were going on a further journey, to the town of Brighton on the Southern coast.  The train ride was long (1.5 hrs) but we had a lot of trashy Brittish magazines and newspapers to pass the time.  You never knew there could be so many articles on cricket!

Upon arrival, we could tell the town was happy and festive, and the weather (for England!) was quite good- 70ish and mix of sun and clouds.

Sue's dream job.

Walking toward the ocean.

Yay- the English Channel!  This is an award winning beach.  If you don't believe us...there are signs all over.  It really is quite clean and the rocks are soft and people are enjoying laying out in their sweatshirts.

The boardwalk right off of the beach.

Fish and chips- American style (with 16 packets of ketchup at 5 pence each- J and Tilly had to explain that we were American when they asked for that much ketchup).
We were so close to the beach that we could hear the waves and smell the salt.

We found our most favorite, delicious Hungarian desert at a street fair here.  J helped us order from the Hungarians and got us a deal.  It was amazing...everything the remembered.  Best food on the whole trip?

Not the Taj Mahal....but impressive!

We were all exhausted when we got on the train to head back, and when we got to the house at 9 pm, we were knackered.  Had some tea and biscuits (took a Microbiology test, just for fun) an headed to bed.

As if we were not reluctant enough to leave....we woke up and started traveling at 8 am GMT and because of a delayed on the runway for two hours flight, were not home until 5:30 pm Eastern time....about a 15 hour journey....whew.....we were lucky to stay up until 7:30 last night and by 4 am we were both wide awake today. 

Tonight we are pushing to stay up until 8:00.  Wish us luck.

It was a really fabulous and wonderful sad to be over....Look for one last blog...we have a few more tidbits to share!


  1. You're home! I will bring your farm share over today.

  2. Total enjoyed your blog but I am so glad you're home and safe and sound. Would love to have tried all the food that you enjoyed. Janna, you even took quite a bit more tan than I've ever seen you. So what's on the agenda for next summer?

  3. You two really should become travel consultants/writers. The blog was so much fun - really looked forward to it! You really have a knack for it - think about it. What is planned for next summer? mom