Friday, March 28, 1997

Southern England

Monmouth, Wales
We had to catch the bus to Newport, Wales, so we woke up at 0600. No breakfast! They didn't even have showers attached to the place. The showers opened up into the brisk morning Welsh air, which was actually quite pleasant after the hot water kicked in.
Our hostel. Showers are in that addition to the left of the triangle.
At around 0700, we walked down the main street, which was quiet and quite empty. The aroma of freshly baked bread hung on the cool air. We walked from the Newport Bus depot to the train station, and got on a train for Salisbury around 8:40 AM (a whole 20 minute wait).
This picture always reminds me of fresh baked bread.
An old city gate in Monmouth

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Salsbury, England
Once we got to Salisbury, we bought bus tickets to Stonehenge and headed into town to see about catching a ride on the Eurostar thru the Channel Tunnel. Turned out that we could, but we could only get to Brussels...hmmm. We'll have to get a connection from there. We ate lunch at McDonald's, and then got on the bus to Stonehenge.
Stonehenge in sunlight
Stonehenge is very cool. And windy. The sun was shining, like it had for most of our time in England (funny, that.) Lots of French people there. Took pictures and got postcards, got back on bus.
Stonehenge in shadow
Between the time the bus let us off and our train to the next hostel left, we picked up the Eurostar tickets and snagged some, you might have guessed it, fish and chips. The train to Southhampton was delayed, so we got to enjoy our last fish without rushing.

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Southampton, England
I think Southampton was the worst place we went on the trip. We found out that we would have been able to book a train from London to Amsterdam, for only 6 pounds more than we had paid to get us to Brussels. Oh Well. Our hostel was located in Burley, and we got directions from a "local" on how to get there using the X9 bus. So we rushed over to the bus stop and got on the bus. It is important to note the the local pronounced it "Bewley". Then we wanted to know went to get off, and asked a guy next to us. We also gave him the address, and after he looked at it for a moment he said to us: "you want to get here, on this bus?". Turns out, we were on the bus to "Beaulieu", not "Burley". Stupid Accents. So we got off at the next stop, and after talking to a real local, he said that the buses would probably stop running by the time we could correct our mistake. He suggested calling a cab.

So we did. The cab was a VW Passat, and ran us 22.50 pounds. But he had to drive thru the "New Forest", and find the hostel...something that we would not have been able to do in the dark. Even the Cabbie had to study the map. The Forest has some stories to it. 1) it was supposedly haunted by a witch a few centuries back, and 2)it's actually a man-made forest. Apparently, some king in the 1500s decided he wanted a forest, so he planted some trees.

We got to the hostel after nightfall. The hostel road was dirt with sinkholes. it was a forest road. Our room was nice. The hostel staff were nice. even the people staying at the hostel were nice. There were nice little animals roaming around the forest, and there were nice little laws saying that the animals had the right of way.
Our hostel sleeping arrangement: bunk beds!
Best of all, we learned that tomorrow was not only Good Friday, but also a Sunday schedule for buses. which meant that the bus we had planned to take would not even be running a route tomorrow. So we planned to have a cab take us to the nearest stop to catch a bus back to Southampton.

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