What have I got myself into? I’m in one of the busiest cities in the world and I’ve just agreed to drive on the wrong side of the road. As we discussed paperwork and insurance with the Europcar Rep, a nervousness came over me. We’re about to embark on an epic road trip from London to Northern Scotland to Northern Ireland to Ireland to Wales and back to London. 29 Days. Driving every day.
We’ve lucked out in a bunch of ways. We saved £500 on our cost based on a glitch in the Expedia when we booked. And… we got an Audi instead of a Fiat or Mini. I feel like we just won the lottery.
So back to the driving part. We took the wrong exit on about 5 roundabouts as we attempted to get back to our place in Harrow to pick up our stuff. That’s stressful. This will take some getting used to.
Back at the house, we pack our stuff. Including some things Susan has kindly lent us because she’s amazing: Bedding, pillows, tent and towels. Not sure what we did to warrant such generosity but we won’t take it for granted.
We decide to make a detour and go to Oxford. The Oxford Castle came recommended to us by another friend we met traveling who we won’t get to see here but will hopefully see in Canada when he makes his way to the west coast.
Oxford Castle isn’t a real castle. It was a prison. There’s not much left to it and we were forced to take a tour to see it for £10.95. Turns out that the tour was well worth it. We climbed up to the top of the watch tower.
Then we went all the way down to the crypt where the stories of King Arthur are rumored to have originated. It also doubled up as one of the most haunted places in Oxford.
After the tour, we took a walk up the Oxford Mound since it was included in our ticket price. They explained to us the significance of it but I forgot what it was and don’t recall it being particularly interesting.
We spent some time walking around Oxford then decided it was time to make our way to Nottingham.
The highways have a great speed limit of 70mph (120km) unless stated otherwise. However, you never stay on a highway very long here. You’re constantly changing highways and exiting the highway in order to stay on the highway and everything is a roundabout. It took awhile to crack the code that if you want the 3rd exit you want to be in the 3rd lane. This technique only works if you know what exit you need.
There has been a lot of 4 letter words muttered (and shouted) in the car and it’s only day one.
We arrived in Nottingham well after dark. We arranged to stay with some guys through couchsurfing.com. They’ve told us we can park on either side of the road and it doesn’t matter what what you’re facing. But you can’t park on a double line painted beside the curb, only a single line. Bed time for now. We’ve survived and that’s all that matters.