June 05, 2011

UK Edition: I Survived One Week(End)!


Jet lag is gone. Suitcases are torn apart and clothes are scattered on the floor. Small amounts of food and drink are in the cupboards and refrigerator. Pounds and pence are on the counters, receipts strewn about. Travel guides and brochures spread on the table. Pictures loaded on my computer. I've been living here for one week and am ready for the next!

This week seems to have flown by and passed in slow motion. We have eaten meals at nine different restaurants, frequented seven pubs/restaurants, shopped at the supermarket four times (Yes, can you believe it?! I go once every two to three weeks in the US!), worked a mere 37 hours and it was (and is) considered full-time, enjoyed eight tea times, travelled to two nearby small towns, and walked through Valley Gardens twice. It seems like so much yet not much at all.

Its difficult for us to do things and experience the city apart from dining at restaurants because we don't have our own vehicle. Mind you, we do not want one either. We can barely cross the street without nearly getting run over by a car because we forget to look right, left, right rather than left, right, left. How could we possibly manage a car?! Shops close around 17:30 during the week so shopping is left to the weekend. Having a few too many drinks on a Friday night leads to little desire to shop the next day, which I will admit happened this weekend, hence the barely comment.

There are few differences between the US and UK, besides eight letters... Tip and tax are included in restaurant prices (or maybe its that tip isn't included or expected at all, hmm I don't remember exactly so maybe its both) and tax is included in supermarket prices. As I already mentioned, the shops close early on week days. There is the obvious, driving on opposite sides of the road. People walk all over the place, though this one I would attribute to the way a town is set up with everything within walking distance so it would be crazy (ca-razy) to drive otherwise. The culture here is so similar to our culture back home in good old Wisconsin that it seems strange to say we are living in England. Living. In. England. Did you hear?! Crazy, I know.

Believe it or not, this picture was indeed taken in Harrogate. I'm not sure what else there is to say. (This one's for you dudey!)

Oh, and the pubs are open later...like sometimes 6:00 am-later, which means there is even more time to say things such as "I just want my damn American accent back!" (multiple times) throughout the night when somehow you all of a sudden have a British accent. I may be saying this from experience... (I promise, I wasn't trying to have one, it came out of no where and I couldn't get rid of it!)

We still have many of places to see and things to do. We are planning on going to York and Leeds, hopefully at least one this weekend. It is likely we will take a trip to London. I think it would be awesome to go to Dublin if the train and ferry or airfare and possibly hotel are not too expensive. We are still trying to figure that out but aren't making much progress at all. We keep telling ourselves we have time. Two months that is. There are also places to still see in Harrogate. Ripley's castle, Knaresboro adventures (though we did do a quick visit there this weekend with a wonderful gentleman hired through work for a four hour orientation required of us since we are staying longer than three weeks; we will definitely be going back to tour some more), hopefully a horse race, more concerts at Valley Gardens on Sundays, and many others that I probably haven't even heard of.

Ripley's Castle

We walked past Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms earlier this week. The tea is way too much money and the food likely so but I would be willing to spend less than a pound on one of these macaroons. They are beautiful in the window! They also have fondant covered cakes of some sort, which might not taste nearly as good as they look but how can you go wrong when they look so exquisite. I hope to stop by for a small treat soon.

There is much to be desired here! I'm still thankful for the opportunity to be here and see all there is and experience it as more of a person that lives here, if only for two months, than solely as a tourist. Skype brings such joy to my life - talking to family is great when the heart is a great physical distance away.

Love you all!

Any recommendations on things to see or places to go?

You'll have to excuse the confusing I and we talk. My coworker and I have been doing most things together - its impossible to speak of things I have done as though they were by myself, so I've decided to include our adventures together in the sharing of my experiences. You'll do just fine reading it, I suspect. :)

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