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  • Day158

    Day 159: Leaving the United Kingdom

    July 23, 2017, North Sea ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Finally! After 2.5 months, 5000 miles of driving, 30+ world heritage sites, an awful lot of museums and pay & display parking lots, we were finally leaving the British Isles. Time to head back to the Continent in search of more adventures!

    We headed out for a brunch in Twickenham at a nice cafe (great fit-out, though very slow service), then bummed around for the rest of the morning. Did some cleaning after lunch as our host was on her way back by mid-afternoon, eventually arriving around 3pm. Bailey was very happy to see her, as expected! We had a chat with her which was nice, as we hadn't had much chance to talk earlier in the week.

    After a bit we loaded up our luggage and set off on the road again - we walked to Twickenham station and caught the train into Waterloo, then switched a couple of times on the tube to Liverpool Street station. Our ultimate destination for the day was the ferry dock at Harwich, north-east of London, where we were getting a ferry across the north sea to Holland.

    We had a couple of hours to kill at Liverpool St station, so we headed out and chilled in a nearby restaurant with a platter of Lebanese food. Eventually we headed back inside to discover that a signalling failure had stopped all of the trains! We waited on our train on the platform for 15 minutes without going anywhere, then it was announced that the train was cancelled. A bit of running around ensued before someone said a single train was leaving in a few minutes.

    Slightly panicked running, particularly when the announcement initially gave the wrong platform number! Finally the train left the platform, about an hour late, and of course it was packed to the rafters since everyone else was having the same problem!

    Since we were getting a different train now, we needed to change at Colchester, so we hopped out along with a few others getting the ferry. The next train arrived 20 minutes late, then it was going to the port, then it wasn't, then they split the train in half and the front half went to the original destination while the rear half went to the port. Eventually we made it, though from leaving our restaurant at 5:45pm it was now after 9pm. Not bad for a trip that was supposed to be 90 minutes!

    Finally managed to board the ferry with no issues (after typical luggage scanning, passport checks etc). We'd lashed out and gotten a good sized suite with a king-size bed, ensuite bathroom, free alcohol and breakfast, so we got settled into there and dropped Schnitzel off in his kennel. Unfortunately he wasn't allowed with us, but we put him in with his bed and blanket, some toys and a water dish and he seemed OK. Quite a few other dogs in there too - about 20 or so.

    We also had an in-room TV with several channels including CCTV of the kennels, so we could see that he was asleep for most of the journey! The boat set off at 11pm but everything on board was on European time (not UK time), so we'd lost an hour without really noticing. We stayed up for a while snacking on the free food, drinking our free alcohol and reflecting on the time spent in the UK.

    It's been fun, and I've definitely enjoyed it. But I think there are way too many little annoyances that stack up for me to really want to live here. Plus it's incredibly expensive, even when you're used to Australian prices. We're going to need to spend some time in very cheap countries to come out on budget this year I think!

    So it was that we departed the UK as we'd arrived, on a boat after a long and stressful train journey. But onwards and upwards to the next adventure!
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