Two Weeks in the UK- Part 1

Travelling is Opium for those who don’t smoke pot. That is to say
a majority. 
 
Waiting patiently as your travel date nears is as torturous as it’s rewarding. Torturous as the days last longer, work seems to pile up even more, the world seems to contrive against your upcoming days of pure joy, bent on keeping you stuck in the realm of the mundane. 
 
But it’s rewarding too as you power on, dreaming of the great Opium-esque fun that’s about to unleash itself, the rolling hills inviting you with open arm like vistas, the crashing waves challenging you to
ride them, the meanders offering the green carpet to walk on, and the phallic
cities enticing a selfie or two. The new people, languages, culture, dance,
music, food & wine, the more you think of these, the more irresistible they
become and steelier becomes your resolve. You are going to get it, isn’t it?
 
So when my wife
announced that she was going on an official trip to the UK, and we could
probably think of a tour of the country together once her work was over, my
adrenaline was salivating. How could I pass up on the opportunity? It was like
Shiva granting a boon without penance. It couldn’t get better.
 
So as she flew
out, I promised to meet her soon with an itinerary made of dreams.
 
I would spend
nights–days were reserved for keeping the paymaster happy after all- I
probably failed at that I figured, but that’s another story– figuring out
places to go to, travel routes, modes of transport, activities en suite, and
above all the Big Scary Budget!
 
Suckers for
history, culture, landscapes and food (did I include everything?), we did multiple iterations of the route map before settling on the one below.
 Initially, eternal
optimists that we are, we had included the eponymous Lake District National
Park, Ireland (sounded fun, isn’t it?), and the beach town of Brighton too in
our list. However had to cut down on these due to constraints of time, money or
both. Time is Money, but Money or the apparent limits of it can raise their
heads too in your own heads and pockets. Nonetheless, we were quite happy with our
final itinerary.
 
(route plan made on Google Maps)
 
It included the
hallowed University at Oxford- the second oldest active university in the
world (the oldest being the one at Bologna, Italy), and arguably the most
famous. We included the beautiful Cotswolds region for its warmth, colours, scenic
villages and absence of the cacophony of city life. We wanted to travel to Bath
to see for ourselves if it was actually as pretty as it looked in the images.
Stonehenge was to douse the curiosity regarding what the fuss was all about. We
planned to attend the world famous Carnival of the ethnic Caribbean communities
at Notting Hill during the first leg of our stay in London. Thereafter we would
move to the fabled Scottish capital of Edinburgh, and explore the Scottish
Highlands
from there, before returning to explore mighty London. We really
wanted to hike on the hills surrounding the Lakes in the famous Lake District,
but decided against the same eventually due to aforementioned reasons. We
consoled ourselves by reciting in our heads that it would be similar to the
Scottish Highlands. Such is the human mind… 🙂
 
So, with the
itinerary set, budgets allocated, all we needed to do was book rooms, transport
in the UK and we would be raring to go. We were a little tight in terms of
time, and hence couldn’t complete either beforehand. So feeling adventurous, we
decided to take each day or rather each leg of the tour as it presented
itself. 
 
With the D-day
right in front of me, I boarded the plane from Delhi to London, and went
straight to Reading, where my beloved was waiting for me. God, we were excited
like two birds, separated by oceans for long.
 
I will get back
with my rendition of each leg of the jouney as we lived in the coming posts over the next few days.  I
will cover aspects of budgeting, travel and hotel arrangements, sightseeing,
vantage points for pictures and selfies, and of course the world seen through
our Camera(phones). 
 
Please watch this
page, and do let me have your feedback and queries.
 
See you in London…

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