On the go once again. Originally, we’d had this almost-week off planned for going to Norway to primarily see the Northern lights, but unfortunately, that idea fell through because of expenses/travel times/not enough holiday, etc. Of course, we needed to find another way to fill that time (perish the idea of just spending my week off at home) so we hit the travel sites to try and find somewhere new to go. We went for our finding of a mini cruise to Amsterdam, as that killed two birds with one stone in being another new country to see and our first time on a cruise.
Since we’d gotten such a good deal on our impromptu trip, we decided to do the same thing we did when we went to the Isle of Wight and spend the night beforehand nearer to our boat destination to avoid any panics about getting there on time and accounting for traffic and whatnot. So after packing everything up and putting aside the spare forty minutes to watch new Walking Dead before leaving (Daryl heavy episode is definitely a good going away present), we popped into Asda and Gregg’s for a mix of snacks, alcohol and pasties for the food. Since I couldn’t decide between a sausage roll and a sausage, cheese and bean melt, I just had both. Life of a foodie.
It took us about two and a half hours to get to Hull. I was on DJ duty again with Kel driving, since I hadn’t fancied the idea of leaving my nice car for a few days in random car park. We hit the musicals and Disney playlists for our usual duet sessions. I had to break out my completely brand new attempt at a Russian accent for my part of Vlad in one of the Anastasia songs. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we don’t do these in the company of other people. Wouldn’t want to risk offending an entire nation now.
We got to the Campanile Hotel, which I’d reckoned looked like a Mario house online. Turns out it’s the restaurant that looks like Mario house. The hotel itself looks like a full-on American motel. And of course, our room was upstairs. I thought we got past this stage a few years ago. Room was small and a little too cold to be cosy, so we put the heater on full blast and closed the curtains. We had to have a hunt to find an available plug socket, as everything seemed to be internally wired. We managed to establish that the only one we had was where the TV was plugged in. So we can either watch telly or charge something. Our choice.
Whilst Kel had a nap, I broke out the cookies, Doritos and Red Bull and started reading Jurassic Park. Since I’ve got NaNoWriMo going on this month, I want to primarily use my spare time for writing, but as my new project’s about dinosaurs, Jurassic Park works good as inspiration. Maybe a little too good though, since I got a bit carried away and ended up reading a third of it. This is why I shouldn’t be allowed near books, especially good ones. And damn, this is a good book. Why have I never read Michael Crichton works before?
When Kel came back to the land of the living, we headed over to the restaurant for some foods. I had a Magners and then some gammon with chips and a side of onion rings. Holy crap, it was a big side of onion rings. It was like what they tried to pull on me at TGI’s. All very lovely though. We had a natter and I spent a lot of the time watching a guy who looked a lot like Arthur Darvill and trying to establish if it was actually him or not. I eventually decided it wasn’t, as he’s Brummie and his accent sounded too far out.
After food, we retired back to our room for the night. I made attempts at writing, but kept getting distracted by what Kel was watching. Which was doubly annoying as they were all shows that I don’t even watch – I’m A Celebrity, Gogglebox, the news… People think I’m weird for not watching the news, but can you really blame me when it’s always so damn depressing and horrific? The attacks in Paris are just an awful, awful example of that.
We had a good natter about superhero stuff and just general gossip after we’d switched both the telly and the lights off. We do this a lot. Spend all day with each other, then only really wanna talk to each other when we’re trying to go sleep. Suppose it was just as well we weren’t that eager to get to sleep, since all the fucking birds were up and tweeting from about eleven o’clock anyway. Crazy birds; it’s goddamn night time.
I can’t wait to get on the road again. More of traveling on visitation purposes – this time to see Flick in the Isle of Wight. We originally wanted to get there late tonight, but with Kel finished work at five, we just couldn’t count of making the last ferry at nine with Friday night traffic. It took us well over four hours when we drove to Folkestone and that was much earlier in the day. So we decided beforehand to still travel down and spend the night somewhere more nearby, so we wouldn’t have to get up at ridiculous o’clock for our early morning ferry.
Because I started work at six this morning and took a half hour lunch, rather than an house, I got to finish at two and have time to do a last minute Asda run, get showered and finish up packing. We grabbed food from the chippy when Kel got home, got some money out for the trip – I know the island’s meant to be fairly remote, so I don’t know what the cash machine situation will be like – said bye the oldies and the woofie, loaded up the bags and headed out.
It’s been a while since we’ve done a long road trip and this was also the first the first time that Kel’s drove! Flick pre-warned me that the bumpy roads on the island may not be very nice to my low-down Mazda, so the old Yaris is our transport for this trip. Since I’m still insured on it, we can always share the driving. As Kel was happy to drive down towards the coast, it meant I got to play DJ for the first time ever. We hit my musicals and Disney/Don Bluth playlists. I bet nobody else’s musicals playlist goes from Wicked to Sweeney Todd to “shut your fucking face, uncle fucker”. We did out usual duets, including some new ones from the Swan Princess and J.D. and Turk’s “Guy Love” from Scrubs. Such fun!
The drive took just under two and a half hours. We managed to find our bed and breakfast, the Roebuck, somewhere amongst the back country roads in the dark. It’s a bizarre place. A B’n’B slash pub slash social club slash shop slash house. Since we needed to check out so early in the morning, we were told that breakfast wouldn’t be served then, but that they’d leave packed lunches for us outside our room. So special!
It turned out that we’d booked into spider room, as we immediately found several dotted around the curtains. Thankfully, nothing big. Touch wood. I did manage to throw a sachet of coffee out of the window when trying to dislodge one that was hanging off the handle. Oops. Let’s hope I didn’t hit anybody down below. It’s an odd room – the decor’s colour scheme is like Kel’s bedroom meets the stuff we sell at Homebase. None of the carpets line up with the walls properly though, so let’s just hope those gaps aren’t a haven for more spiders. Think this may have to be one of those rooms where we keep all our luggage on the tables, like we did in the Appalachian Mountains. Ah, memories.
Brought my last bottle of Stowford Press with me, so I had that in the room whilst Kel had a quick shower. Praise the keyring bottle opener that lives in my makeup bag. Our rule of thumb with hotel rooms is that I don’t like sleeping in the bed closest to the door and/or window, whereas I think Kel prefers it, so we followed that as per usual. It turned out I’d lucked out with that, because my bed was soft as anything and Kel’s was horrible and springy. Win!
We decided to hit the hat at a reasonable-ish time because of our early start in the morning, but that was very much ruined by the karaoke that started up at the social club, which sounded like it was right outside our window. It was so loud that not only could you hear exactly what songs they were singing, you could also hear just how bad they were. Of course we were giggling in bed over some of the silly pisspot music, but this wasn’t exactly what I’d signed up for. My packed lunch had best be good now!
It’s a very sad day when your notebook finishes but your journey is still going… Oh wait, maybe that’s a good thing. It’s just the OCD part of me that dislikes how my blogging didn’t all fit and that I had to rip pages out of my other notebook to make ends meet. Goddamn it. I also didn’t have the space to write last night that as we left the campus I thanked Jeff again and he said ‘bye Brummies!’ Good man. I’m gonna have to think of a witty tweet to send him today.
With our pit stop for food and petrol, as well as the toll traffic to use the Bay Bridge, it took about four hours to get back down to San Francisco. We’d already Skyped Mom and Dad before leaving, so now I was dying to Skype Sid so that we could tell her all about last night. Of course that was then the first thing we did once we’d checked in. Needless to say, she was very jealous. Sorry Sid! I managed to write a huge chunk of some Cobie and Crispin fluff too, who I’ve been meaning to write about for ages.
We watched bits of Rush Hour and Pirates of the Caribbean and ordered what was apparently Greek style platters. The meat was a bit dry and boring, but the rice and pittas were really good. I’d bought a can of what looked like some fizzy berry alcopop thing, but no, it was 12 percent alcohol so I had to mix it with my Powerade again. I never thought I’d look forward to seeing 4 percent on a can. After I’d showered, Adult Swim finally came through for me and showed some Soul Eater! I knew they were good for a reason. Great way to wind down for bed too.
Not quite as glam as the Golden Gate Bridge… But still the setting from a scene in George of the Jungle! (Random fact of the day)
Bit more of a relaxed wake-up today, though I still made sure we had time for breakfast. I had a waffle (which got drowned in syrup when the top came off the bottle), sausage and scrambled eggs. Felt very fat afterwards but it was totally better than last night! We got packed up, checked out and got the shuttle back to the airport to pick up our car. It’s a black Nissan Versa. Still trying to think of a name for him (I’m hovering over Elvis). Not only do I have the whole driving on the other side of the road thing, it’s a lot bigger than what I’d used to driving AND I also have to get used to the whole no clutch or gearbox fandango. It took me forever to actually get it into drive!
Come on then Elvis, break me into this American way of driving!
The first part of the day was iffy and I felt very uncomfortable. I felt like I was trying to watch a million things at once. We stopped at a Walmart for some drinks and snacks (I got a six-pack of blue Kool-Aid, two thirds of which is now gone) and a Radio Shack to get a cheap emergency phone and a satnav. Samantha is much more articulate than Dirty Debby. It’s very sad. Though once we had her we were able to find our hotel no problem. We munched on some popcorn whilst we Skyped Mom and Dad and then later ordered and ate takeout pizza and buffalo wings whilst Skyping Sid.
We then headed into the main stretch of Austin. We went to Congress Bridge first, which is famous for sheltering one and a half million bats who all go out on the hunt every day at dusk. They clearly waited for us too, because we’d only just got down there when they all chose to venture out. It really was an unbelievable sight (and quite an unbelievable smell too!) After most of the bats had sodded off we went down onto Sixth Street, the city’s main hub. We had a wander up and down and then went into Bat Bar for a drink. Because it was called Bat Bar. Since I was driving and America has a zero alcohol tolerance, I had to settle for a can of Red Bull. Oh sorry, did I say settle? We all know how energy drinks are never settling. There was a live musician playing, who was actually amazing. It was just a shame that the bar was so empty and he wasn’t getting the huge audience that he blatantly deserved.
Though we went back to the hotel afterwards and had a chilled night, we still went to bed quite late. Kel watched Magic Mike and I created a new original character. Good times all round! (Though more geeky and less naked men involved on my part. Oh well).
The sights tonight involved a couple of supercars and more than a million bats. Call me Bruce Wayne.