United Kingdom
Egton with Newland

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    • Day 20

      Free Day in Ulverston

      June 30, 2014 in England ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      A lot has happened since I sent out the last email. Yesterday was the final day of our Scandinavia Adventure and the scattering of our riders as they begin to make their long journeys back to Australia. This is always tinged with some regret that the adventure that they have long anticipated has now come to an end. It is amazing how quickly people settle into the simple routine of daily cycling, so much so that they really miss it when the riding finishes. Perhaps it is because we live in such a complex world that it is refreshing to distil your life down to a simple daily routine of just turning the pedals over and over while the world passes by your handlebars.

      The end of the Scandinavia Ride signaled the start of the UK ride for 9 of our riders. I had originally anticipated that the trip from Stockholm to Ulverstone would be a routine affair but it turned out to be laden with excitement and mystery.

      When I booked two local taxis to take us to the airport I did not realise that I would have somehow found two drivers who seemed bent on arranging a simultaneous suicide mission. Hurtling along the freeway at 145 kph through peak hour traffic while weaving from lane to lane was not my idea of a relaxing ride. While the engine of our little mini bus screamed in torment we sat huddled in the back with white knuckles and sweaty palms. Time and time again he swerved and braked to avoid imminent catastrophe. I counted every kilometre to the airport and was mighty relieved to finally fall out onto the pavement outside the departure terminal at Stockholm Airport. At that stage I though the worst was over.

      The next stage was over quickly as we completed the completely automated checkin with Norwegian Airlines. I learned that Norwegian is one of the youngest airlines in the world and also the most automated. The relatively short flight to Manchester was achieved without incident (and also without much comfort) but I discovered just before landing that the previous occupant of seat 17F had sabotaged the seat with chewing gum. To my dismay I found long lengths of gum stretching between my trousers and the seat in front. What do you do in such circumstances but try to look unfazed. The guy in the next seat said “Welcome to Manchester”.

      I followed the throng out of the plane and found myself in a huge stationary crush of people waiting to pass through Immigration. It’s somewhat ironic that you can move about all of Europe without so much as a border crossing but the UK still insists on stamping passports. This would not be so bad if the queues had been laid out in some sort of logical fashion. As it was it looked like the planners had done their best to create chaos. I had never before seen two intersecting queues until I saw the fiasco in Manchester Airport. The sign on the wall said “Britain’s Best Airport” making me wonder what sort of state the rest were in.

      By the time I finally reached the front of the queue the man with the stamp asked me “How long have you been here ?” I replied “too long, at least an hour”. He glared at me fiercely. I belatedly realised that he had asked me “How long will you be here ?” so he probably thought I was some sort of wise guy. Oh well, not a good start and I probably have a black mark against my record already.

      It had taken so long to get through Immigration that the luggage carousel had ceased dispensing luggage from my flight and had moved on to the next flight. Fortunately potential chaos had been averted by someone else kindly removing my bag.

      If I thought that the hard part was now over I was again mistaken because the next stage involved catching a train from the airport to Ulverstone. This would have been easy if at least two of the staff had agreed on what was the best way to purchase a ticket and which train to catch. It seems that the British Train System is a hotbed of mass confusion and disinformation. When we found the train, even the conductors at each end of the train had different opinions about where that train was actually going ! It turned out that the train actually splits in the middle somewhere along the journey. Another trap for the inexperienced to fall into.

      Somehow we jammed all 9 of us and our luggage into a carriage and managed to upset all the fellow passengers who had to make room for our bags. The ride itself took about 2 and a half hours and delivered us finally to the seaside town of Ulverstone. By this time we were quite exhausted and were relieved to walk the short distance to our quaint little hotel – The Virginia House B & B. With its floral wallpaper and floral carpets and narrow staircases we all expected Basil and Sybil to appear at any moment.

      The day did have a surprise ending when we walked to the nearby Rose and Crown Pub for dinner. Although I had been told to expect very poor quality food from rural pubs, the food here was superb. Not only were the servings huge but it was well prepared and very much cheaper than the high prices of Scandinavia.

      Tomorrow we have a free day before starting our UK ride. I am sure it will be interesting.
      Read more

    • Day 5

      Ankunft in Glasgow

      May 15, 2019 in England ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Wir sind gut in Glasgow gelandet. Gutes Quartier in zentraler Lage. Lecker vietnamesisch gegessen. Alles bestens. Morgen geht's dann weiter in Schottland. Allen liebe Grüße und eine gute Nacht

    • Day 5

      Lunch

      May 15, 2019 in England ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      First fish n chips

    • Day 19

      Off to the UK

      June 29, 2014 in England ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Today marked the end of our Scandinavian Adventure and the beginning of a brand new one in the UK. After a morning flight from Stockholm to Manchester, we then caught the train to Ulverston. This was the starting point for our ride across the UK to the East Coast.Read more

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