tirsdag 3. juli 2018

East Anglia road trip 2018

Time for another road trip to England. This time we decided to explore the last bit that we didn't do the year we lived here, East Anglia. For the first week we rented a cottage in Southwold, a small seaside town in Suffolk. Then we went around the coast up to Norfolk, and down to Cambridge for a few days to see friends there. The drive there and back again also takes a couple of days each way, and becomes a part of the trip.

Night/day 1, Sunday
Oslo - Eindhoven (NL)
First time in a pet cabin on a ferry. The interesting part is that you are in the corridor with all the other dogs also. It was an operation getting in, but after that it wasn't really a problem, even thought the dogs was obviously aware of the other dogs, particularly some not very quiet ones.
After 5 minutes in the cabin, Kovu was asleep in the dog bed provided. Odin walked around and started licking the floor, and for a couple of minutes I panicked that he would be seasick the whole night! We took a short walk on deck (two floors up, as the dog walking area on our deck was closed for some work), and after that he was fine. Dogs are not supposed to be left alone in the cabin, so Tollef got some snacks and drinks and we had a quiet evening.

Our first day driving took a lot more time and energy than planned. We started out from the ferry about 8 am, and didn't arrive in Eindholven until 8.30 pm. Including three stops for a total of about 2 hours, the expected 8 hour drive was over 10 hours, mostly due to queues around Hamburg. We are definitely changing some plans for the return to avoid this (can't miss the ferry!). Deciding to have dinner before checking in we had a surprisingly good meal at a service station a couple of hours before reaching Eindhoven. Finally there, the hotel was very nice and at least we got a good nights rest. The dogs, ever patient with driving and short stops, were also really tired and slept quietly the whole night.

Day 2, Monday
Eindhoven - Southwold
Arriving in Dunkirk in good time, we were the first car NOT to get on the ferry just leaving. Having booked the ferry after we hoped getting on early, but no such luck. With half an hour delay on the ferry, and then straight into the rush hour queues around London, we ended up using far longer to our destination than planned this day also. At least in the end we easily found our cottage and the key, and (almost) everything was fine. We organised where the dogs were allowed to sleep, and made it an early night. I slept for 12 hours straight!

Day 3, Tuesday
No driving!
For me, a late morning, after having stretched myself too far two days in a row. I got a much needed shower, a late breakfast, and then some rest. A bit later we took a short walk down to the beach and let the dogs run for a bit (even though they were more intent on just sniffing around). We had a late lunch/early dinner on a pub just around the corner from our cottage, and then another early night for me.

Day 3, Wednesday
Today's expedition, The Pier. Southwold has a pier with some eating places, shops and entertainment. After Tollef had given the dogs a good walk along the beach, we left them and headed to the pier. Dogs are allowed there, but it can be crowded, and not the least a lot of dogs, so they would be happier resting at the cottage. The pier has a lot of funny arcade machines and a water clock machinery that was fascinating to look at. We had lunch at the pier and then walked around looking at everything, and even tried our luck at the more modern arcades. No win, of course.
On our way back we walked by the post office to get some stamps, and then back to the cottage for a quiet afternoon.

Day 4, Thursday
The first bit of driving after getting here. It still surprises me how easy I find it to drive in England, even if it has been a long time now. We went to see Framlingham castle. Dogs are allowed, but the main attraction was the wall walk, and as Kovu is afraid of heights, so we left the dogs in the car (parked in the shade) and did the castle first. Afterwards we got the dogs and did the walk around the meer (lake) by the castle, which was very nice. There was also a big park next to the castle, where we let them run free. Unfortunately Odin, and then Kovu following up, decided to run off to greet a small dog. I hate others letting their dogs approach us like that, and it's very embarrassing when it happens to us (although obviously there is a difference whether people just don't care or if it was a mishap). The owner was fortunately very good about it.

Day 5, Friday
Last day in Southwold
As planned, we started out with the brewery tour at Adnams. It was interesting enough, but I was a bit too tired to really follow the information. The beer tasting was fun though. Afterwards we wandered around a a bit and ended up at the Lord Nelson for lunch. My first burger in England this time, and a very good one!
After lunch we did the Southwold museum. It's quite small, but interesting, and we used a good half hour there. They have a rather varied selection, from hundred of thousand years old fossils, to suffrage posters, lighthouse lightbulbs and stuffed birds. As Southwold is a coastal town having a history with fishing and sea industry it was interesting to see the similarities with Molde.
We did a bit of shopping at the Adnams store before heading back to the cottage for a bit of rest.
In the evening, we headed out on the beach for the last time, and let the dogs run free. Age is getting to them and they mostly wander around sniffing anyway. :P
Tomorrow we are heading north towards Great Yarmouth, and then to the northern Norfolk coast and to King's Lynn to stay one night.
Weather reports looks good and it is supposed to be a lot warmer. Yay!

Day 6, Saturday
We headed out to Great Yarmouth, with a stop at Pets at Home to browse and get a bit of cheap stuff that is hard to find at home. In Great Yarmouth we parked at the marina, left the dogs in the car (well aired and with the silvershade on), and walked along the sea. It was like a big amusement park. And it is I suppose, only split up between smaller parks for kids, crazy golf, arcades, cafès and ice cream booths and all kinds of entertainment. We didn't really do or get anything, just walked along the marina and back.
Afterwards we went up to Fleggburgh and had lunch at the King's Arms before heading out to explore the footpaths in the area. We walked along dirt tracks and fields, and saw a munjac at one point (luckily the dogs didn't). Back at the Village Hall where we parked, we fed the dogs and then drove north towards Cromer and along the coast. It was really beautiful to see the marshes and beaches from the road, and going through all those small villages. In Brancaster we took off down to the beach and made a short afternoon walk with the dogs.
We found Snettisham and the Queen Victoria where we were staying, quite easily. The room appeared to be in a separate building behind the pub, and accessible, so no narrow stairs, and a spacious, nice room.

Day 7, Sunday
King's Lynn to Cambridge
Before going south, we decided to visit the Lavender farm nearby Snettisham that we noticed the day before. It was very nice to see all the kinds of lavender there is, and not the last to smell it. I went a bit crazy in the shop, and bought bath bombs, lotions, and lots of lavender stuff.
Then we went south to King's Lynn, and followed a short historical walk there. We ended up returning to the car park along a pedestrian road, and I dropped by a couple of shops and got a few more bathbombs (of a brand I know and like) and candles as well.
Arriving in Cambridge, we checked in to what appeared to be a small guest house in someones garden. We had an hour of rest, then went out to meet friends at a nearby pub. Unfortunately the pub was closed, but that meant we got to go to another pub nearby that has a very nice park across the road and is good for bringing the dogs. It was nice to see people again, and just relax in the shade. The dogs also relaxed fairly well, especially Kovu being a natural pub dog.

Day 8, Monday
Resting day. Having overdone it for a few days (and expecting to), I planned Monday to be a resting day. I spent most of the day in bed, only heading out to have pizza with some of the crowd from Sunday (dogs included, got another pub trip). We had planned a trip via Pets at Home, but decided to postpone. Fingers crossed for one day being enough to recover for the rest of the trip.

Day 9, Tuesday
Still not in best shape, Pets at Home postponed again. At lunch we went to our respective lunch appointments. The dogs and I had a nice lunch at a café with Jo, before catching up with Tollef in the city center. There we walked around for a bit, doing some shopping for things I had planned to (or needed to) buy. I was tired, but at least got most of the things on my list. After that followed a quiet evening, only doing a bit of packing for next day's departure.

Day 10, Wednesday
Cambridge - Lenham
First stop at Pets at Home. I was hoping to get the worm treatment for the dogs for our return there, but they couldn't do it without us registering there and making an appontment later in the day. On our way south, it wasn't doable, so I ended up calling two Pets at Home clinics south of London to sort out an appointment for the next day, our last day in England. I also managed to do a bit of shopping for the dogs, some things necessary and some not...
We continued on through London and to Orpington and Down House. I was not on my best, but managed to enjoy the visit of Charles Darwin's home and garden, and even learned a thing or two. The weather was sunny and nice and it was a good day out.
From Orpington we drove down to our bnb in Lenham, making a detour because we (I) thought we might know better than google maps and the GPS. Right. 15 minutes later than expected we arrived, and was checked into a nice room with a private patio! Very nice place, although we didn't have much time to enjoy it.

Day 11, Thursday
Dover - De Lutte
First thing we headed out quite early to catch our appointment at the Pets at Home in Whitfield/Dover. Luckily it all sorted out nicely (although their stamp was too big for the passports. If you are travelling with pets and need vet confirmation on something, make sure you get a stamped confirmation!).
We even had time for a nice walk along the cliffs before catching the ferry. Luckily we took a ferry earlier than planned, as it was half nine in the evening before we arrived at the hotel. There was a lot of queues around Antwerpen, and we ended up taking the scenic route helped with google maps, which saved us at least half an hour of slow driving, if not more. For the night, we chose a Fletcher hotel because of the positive experience on our way to England, and wasn't disappointed this time either. Very nice place, and we got a good nights rest before the last hours of driving to Kiel.

Day 12, Friday, De Lutte - Kiel
After the delays on our way down we decided we needed good slack on our time to get past Hamburg to Kiel. We left early, and was past Hamburg before the midday rush started, and arrived in Kiel three hours before the latest check in. First we had lunch, and then brought the dogs for a walk in the park and through the old town. Then we checked in on the ferry early, and had plenty of time to get the dogs settled before dinner.

Day 13, Gothenburg - Oslo
After a good nights sleep on the ferry, we headed out of Gothenburg in the morning. We made a short stop at a bakery, getting breakfast and feeding the dogs. They relaxed well on the ferry, but don't care for the dog walking area there, so they appreciated the break.
We stopped at Nordby shopping center at the border to get some basic food, and some things we needed for an opcoming barbequeue. A lot of things are cheaper in Sweden than in Norway, but on second thought we might have been better off taking that extra cost doing the shopping later. At least it is done with now.
Four hours after leaving Gothenburg we arrived home. House not burned down, everything in order. I even had the energy left to sort out a lot of our baggage first thing.

The next few days will show the backlash of the holiday, it might be hard and it might work out well. I don't feel very bad, but exhaustion often hits after a couple of days. I also realise I have about 1000 steps more than normal on my fitbit average for the last two weeks, even though I have been careful to make walks slowly. Nothing important to do in the next couple of days anyway (except for my birthday tomorrow!)

It's been a another great trip to England. Bringing the dogs makes the travelling more of an effort, but is also very nice. It also affects what we can do, as I don't like to leave them in the car for long when visiting places that doesn't allow dogs. There are pros and cons, and next time we might go without the zoo, taking in some of the less dog-friendly sights.
Photos from out trip to East Anglia: https://www.simira.net/gallery/Reise/20180630-EastAnglia/