Back to Blighty and Bristol beckons

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

And so we retuned to Blighty*. We arrived at Heathrow airport in glorious sunshine, having flown up the Thames and circled over London for a while, easily identifying the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, London Bridge, the Olympic grounds. It was stunning to see London laid out like that, but the feature that really captured our attention as soon as we flew over the English coastline was not an urban one. It was the humble hedgerow; something that many of us take for granted here, or don't spare any thought. Hedgerows are a rarity in the world but here they weave their way across our countryside in profusion. We'd forgotten too how gentle and green the English countryside is on the eye, and it was especially so on our sleep-deprived eyes.

We took the tube from Heathrow T5 to Euston Station, had a few restorative coffees there and then hopped on a cross-country train north to Stoke-on-Trent to meet up with Phil's folks – setting us back just 18. It was a warm summer day and England looked really beautiful. We listened in on people's conversations, relishing being able to understand them, and enjoyed simple conversations with the rail staff. 

We had lovely home comings with our respective families, celebrated birthdays, reunited with our camper van and managed to catch up with a few friends - so our bed count continued to rise for a while longer. We pulled our belongings out of storage in Taunton and moved to Bristol, found a little waterfront flat to rent for a while and, thanks to bro, mums and dads, we had a smooth move. Our backpacks remained unpacked for a good few days because 1) they were too stinky (especially Phil's after an Argentine bullmastiff peed on it!) and 2) we just couldn't face unpacking them AGAIN! 

We got busy exploring our new home - Bristol is a brilliant city - and were lucky to enjoy some blissful summer weather. We also managed to squeeze a couple of days away in our camper van in before it was back to work. We visited the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and stayed at Lobb Fields just east of the little village of Braunton, a fab campsite with stunning views across Braunton Fields and Burrows and just a short hop from Saunton Sands, Crow Point and great pubs. It’s been a long time since we simply sat in the sunshine, a book in one hand, a beer in the other.

So now we're settling back into a routine nine-five, Monday-Friday again. Weekends are really short aren’t they?! But, we're still at the novelty stage with many simple things still feeling wondrous, like, for example, having long, easy conversations with people, watching TV (especially the Tour de France coverage) and films, having a wardrobe of clothes and shoes, aaahh the shoes, having clean running water, being able to flush loo paper away, being creative in the kitchen, wearing make-up (that’s me, not Phil!), driving, doing our own washing, sleeping in one really comfy get the picture. Travel really does make you appreciate the simple things in life that's for sure. One thing we're not appreciating though is the cost of living. In particular, fuel is now 1.35 per litre. That's just crazy!

So, our 'Big Trip’ has officially come to an end. This is probably going to be our last account, although I do still have a few gaps to go back and fill, and we will post up a statistics and FAQ entry as soon as we can for those who have asked. 

For those who are the wanderlust has not been satiated. I don't think it ever will be. And, yes we are already planning our next trip. For employers and family who might be reading this, don't worry it'll be a shorter trip next time, promise!
Thanks for visiting our blog. We hope it’s been useful / interesting / entertaining. It's been great fun writing it and great fun meeting people through it. 

Best wishes and happy travels!

Nickie & Phil  XX

* For those who didn’t know, Blighty is a British English slang term for Britain, deriving from the Hindustani word vilāyatī (pronounced bilāti in many Indian dialects and languages). Now used as a term of endearment. Wikipedia's great! 

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