Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Grandma & Grampy's

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, August 20, 2010

Our exit from Horsens was very rapid and we were soon back in Vejle and fast asleep in preparation for what promised to be one of our toughest travel days yet. An early start was the order of the day; with bags already packed, we quickly loaded the car, stocked the cool bag (thanks again Sonal) with food and were on our way.

The challenge ahead was to make it to Calais (France) for 7pm in time to return our rental car and catch the 8pm ferry to Dover (England). Doesn't sound too bad? Well, from Vejle to Calais is over 1000km and the route would take us through Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. With almost half of the journey on the German autobahns, we thought it’d be easy to make it on time. Unfortunately however, Germany didn’t pan out as expected … there were so many sets of road works on the autobahn that Germany ended up having the lowest average speed. Black BMWs and Audis were also strangely absent this time, so our only assumption is that they knew a faster route or used some high-tech advantage to avoid the roadworks. And did you know it costs 2 Euros to pee on a German autobahn? Still, we negotiated the other countries with only a 2 page map of Europe, and managed to make it to Calais in good time … only to subsequently get lost in town trying to avoid a broken down mechanical bridge (!) and find the return location for the rental car! Apparently luck was on our side once again when we finally arrived at the ferry terminal and discovered that ferry had been delayed for half an hour :-)

Grampy was waiting for us in Dover and after an almost four hour drive we finally arrived back in Somerset at 1am, having left Vejle 18 hours, 1500km and 6 countries earlier! Phew, what a day; tiring, but remarkably smooth given all that could have gone wrong.

Having just listened to Bono the previous evening talking about their new song Glastonbury it was almost surreal to be back in Somerset, so close to Glastonbury again where the boys had been unable to perform....maybe next year they'll make it? Better get those ticket applications in.....

The next day we took things easy and while Sarah and her Mum spent the morning shopping, the kids had a wonderful time playing with cousins Phoebe and Hannah. Wednesday was much busier and the kids started the day with Grandma going to visit their other little cousin Isla. Sarah picked them up mid-morning and took them to Bath to meet up with friends. The last time we had seen Nancy and her children, Joe & Katie, was in Edmonton when Alex was a new-born baby. Sarah and Nancy had met when we had both just moved to Edmonton and were temporarily living in the same hotel. Nancy and family had returned to Chicago shortly after Alex was born, but have spent the last two years living in London. Who’d have thought the next time we’d meet would be in England? Bath is a beautiful city and we had a lovely walk via the Circus and the Royal Crescent to Victoria Park; a fantastic park with one of the best playgrounds the kids have ever been to. The kids had a great afternoon and after saying goodbye to their "new" friends, we sped home in time to spend the evening with Sarah’s brothers and their families.

Our final day in England the kids wanted nothing more than to spend more time with Phoebe and Hannah (thanks Auntie Sarah for putting up with them!) and the day was finished off with a lovely dinner with Great-Granny. Given the distance between them and the frequency of meetings, it’s wonderful to see the cousins having so much fun together and forming those all important family bonds. After all of the driving and rushing around in mainland Europe it was lovely to have a few relaxing days chilling out with family and friends……
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