While looking at airplane tickets to visit my friend in England, I was shocked by the prices they let me pay.
What I could remember form my University time -7 years ago- was not comparable with the prices I saw now.
So, on a rainy day in Greece, I grabbed my computer and went through every possibility to go without taking a plane.
I ended up with going by bus, which would take me ten hours.
But eh, what else do I have to do.
From Rotterdam to Londen
So at 10PM, I stepped on the bus at Rotterdam Central and made my way through Ghent (Belgium) and Lille (France).
Everything went fine, just like I remembered from my passed trips by bus (Berlin; Paris; Prague).
All of a sudden -in the middel of the night- the light in the bus went on. Everyone was asleep (or at least tried), so we looked like zombies coming back from the dead while we were all looking around us; I was one of the zombies.
The lights went on and we were all asked to leave the bus with our passport.
Without any further explanation, we were guided into a line.
And then it hit me; we have to cross the border! Brexit of course.
Normally, you will just sit in the bus -close your eyes- and a couple of hours later you leave the bus at your destination.
But, because of the fact that England is not a part of Europe anymore, we had to cross the border after France, and another one to go into England.
So twice in line; twice out of the bus; twice not so much sleep as you are expecting on a night bus.
Overlay in Londen, Victoria
At eight in de morning, the bus arrived at London Victoria.
Here -I thought- I would be able to walk around and explore Londen again before I would go back on another bus, which would bring me to Bristol; the town where my friend would pick me up.
Yes, explore. Nice thought.
But when I arrived; it rained. Not pouring though, but a nice walk outside wasn’t really that nice.
So after a quick walk (I couldn’t help myself), I ended an hour later in a pub where I did my crossword puzzle while drinking a local beer (when you’re in England eh..)
During my walk I walked passed the Big Ben; which was in construction. For me, I couldn’t care less. I had already seen that tower a lot of times. But for tourists -people who had never seen it before- it was a disappointment.
How do I know?
Standing outside the subway station and hearing tourists commenting to each other the moment they look up at the tower.
This made me laugh so hard -from within-, that I decided to just stand there for a while; just to hear those peoples reaction. It cracked me up.
From Londen to Bristol
A couple of hours later, it was time for bus number two.
Because of the lack of sleep that night before, I fell asleep the moment I sat down (after an old women next to me gave me a sandwich).
And finally, arriving in Bristol after a long journey and seeing your friends face again, feels good!
It wasn’t like we hadn’t seen each other in a long time though. After all.. he came to visit me while I was in Greece three months before.
That’s how this whole idea of visiting started.
He just moved into a new house; had new housemates and a new job. Good reason to visit and see his new life.
Also, his grandma was turning 80 that same weekend and this was the perfect time to catch up with them again too. They are so lovely.
The last time while I was visiting, he lived in Devizes; now it was Frome.
A little English town (which I like it more then the big cities). They have more character and less people.
From Bristol to Broom
We were not even in the car for ten minutes and we already had a plan for the next evening.
While we were driving through Bristol (while passing a real Banksy!) we passed a theater with a big poster; ‘The Book of Mormons’
A catchy headline. But what was written underneath made up our minds about wanting to see this play.
It was written by the creators of Southpark!
So the moment we got home, we bought two tickets for the next play.
The book of Mormons
I have seen quite a lot of differents plays. I like the ambience of the theater, so if there is a good one worth seeing; I will.
But I can say that this play is the best one I have seen so far.
I never laughed so loud in a theater as I did that night. The offensive jokes and hilarious songs were so funny.
I would see it again if I could.
We dressed smart for the occasion. Me in heels, my friend in his best colbert. We were owning it.
Grandma’s 80’s birthday
The next day we had a Sunday Roast lunch with my friends family. His mom, brother with boyfriend and his grandparents. It was lovely to see them again and it reminded me why I liked them so much.
While I was living at Uni, one of the girls I was living with made a English Sunday roast sometimes. Chicken; mashed potatoes; sausages; veggies and dumplings. This is what I knew.
But having this roast at a restaurant; is something else. So much better (of course).
It feels like hangover food, only not with shitty ingredients.
We had some drinks, ate and laughed.
I could catch up with them and listen to their stories. They always have interesting stuff to tell.
Afterwards, we went back to their home to finish the afternoon with some birthday cake and made some family pictures.
While it only took a couple of hours; everyone was knackered at the end of the day. Also me and my friend.
We had the idea to drive back to Bristol, to see some more Banksy graffiti in real life; but we decided it was to far.
And so we went to another old English town called: Bath, which was closer to drive to. Here we just walked around and a drink to finish the day.
Car broke down means Mario day
Seven years ago, me and my friend had a little accident in Northampton. While we were driving towards the end of the street -to get me a new charger for my macbook- two polish guys hit us from the side. This as a result that the whole bumper came of and we couldn’t drive further anymore.
Now, we had car troubles again.
A mechanic came the other day to fix some small parts on the car; but he made it worse.
So while we were driving, the car didn’t feel quite happy and stuttered a lot of times. Also -after a couple of kilometers driving- it smelled like something was burning. No good.
So that day we couldn’t go far. Actually nowhere.
But no trouble; cause my friend had the old Super Mario Nintendo! So we connected this to the tv and came all the way till world three.
Good old times.
Broom to Londen by train
Because we couldn’t really depend on the car to take us all the way to London, we decided to take the train on my last day.
Three hours with selfmade burrito’s (filled with self prepared duck) and beers we brought with us. Just to finish it up.
We had some last drinks together in a pub, close to the station, before he brought me back to the bus where I arrived four days before.
On the way back; I booked myself a panorama seat (as they call it).
This means that you are sitting on the top deck – in de front. More space for the legs and more sight.
Next to me, there was a guy sitting who was pretty straight forward about the fact that he had some Xanax (which calms the head down and makes you feel more relaxed. Also, perfect for sleeping). And he offered me one.
‘Well.. I could use some good sleep’.
So I took one.
After the border control; I blacked out.
A couple of hours later I woke up and the first thing I saw was Rotterdam Station. I was back home again!
The guy next to me, who gave me the Xanax, woke up at the same time.
‘Huh, we’re in Rotterdam? I had to leave the bus in Ghent!’
Because we were both blacked out; we didn’t noticed any stops.
So while I was happy that I arrived; this guy had to book a bus straight back to where we came from.