UK Trip 2012, Trip Summary!

We overall had a great trip to the UK this summer with my parents. We made several day-by-day posts on Paradoxdruid’s Rants, which we’ll compile together in this post. We also made a lot of general observations/comments which we’ll share here. Read on!

The Daily Travelogue

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Lessons from the UK

  • The UK is a pretty clean place. Not quite as clean as Japan, but definitely cleaner than Paris.
  • A lot of the hotel showers were disappointing when used to hotel showers in the U.S. — they were pretty much all tiny boxes, and each shower had a different way to turn it on and adjust the settings, which left my mother afraid to be the first one to try some hotel showers!
  • Bed and breakfast food was really tasty. There’s definitely a reason they have such a good B&B reputation! Usually multiple menu options and they make it fresh just for you. I’m glad we stayed at B&Bs.
  • Dog breeds — we saw lots of dogs of breeds that are associated with the UK (Yorkies, border collies, spaniels, such as the King Chalres Cavalier spaniel, Westies, Scotties, a sheltie), along with other types of breeds (several small breeds, such as chihuahuas, and greyhounds).
  • We kept seeing crows that were like the ones in the U.S., but different — they had more gray. We later learned that these were probably carrion crows. We also saw ravens, rooks, and what looked like huge pigeons (we found out they’re wood pigeons).
  • Lots of different types of food — from Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Indian, and then lots of pubs. The Italian we had was very good. The Japanese was nothing like any Japanese we’d had before and wasn’t very good (but then again we had it at the airport, so maybe it’s not representative). The Indian and pub food was very tasty — we got to compare a lot of different types of fish and chips, and try several different types of hard ciders!
  • Public transportation worked great in London, although a few times we went to take the tube only to find that the line we needed wasn’t running (there was a lot of work being done in preparation for the Olympics). Buses were also great to use for getting around London. Trains were great for going in between cities all over the UK. We’re really jealous of their public transportation system. Edinburgh had a lot of buses too, but it made more financial sense for us to take taxis, since there were four of us.
  • Museums were almost all free! I wish we had that in the U.S.!
  • We lucked out weather-wise. It hardly rained in London, and was sunny and almost warm in Edinburgh! Apparently that’s unheard of in May.
  • I will forever remember to “Mind the gap.” This phrasing is all over the London public transportation system, from the curb you step on to get on/off the tube to over the speakers in the stations. There were derivatives of this phrase in other places — in a pub with a low ceiling there was a “Mind your head” sign! It just shows how indirect/passive the British can be compared to people in the U.S. — in the U.S. we’d probably just say something like “Don’t step in the crack between the subway car and the curb”!
  • The Scotts were very friendly/cheerful, especially compared to the British. However, since most of our stay in England was in London, it could be argued that we mostly saw big city Brits, and people from big cities can be a bit more reserved. Maybe we’ll need to go see more British countryside to get a more representative picture.
  • Taxi drivers in Edinburgh were great — there the profession is much more respected, and taxi drivers are much more like tourist guides who love to tell you about their great city. Very different from most taxi drivers we’ve experienced in the U.S.

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