UK Road Trip!

Realizing there was so much more of the UK that we wanted to explore – and that traveling by bus and train is very limiting – we decided to rent a car. Crazy, I know. Matt successfully drove a manual on the left side of the road! He did a phenomenal job driving and never once led us down the road going the wrong way. Riding in the passenger seat, I got motion sick as we entered crazy roundabouts and my brain tried to wrap itself around what was going on. Needless to say, I was happy to be the navigator and never drove.

Renting a car in the best way to experience a country! There are some places that trains and buses just cannot make it to. No longer constricted by train schedules and routes, we drove wherever our hearts desired. It was so liberating. Campgrounds were abundant throughout the UK and we were always able to find a place to sleep, no matter how late we pulled in. Here is a smorgasbord of our thoughts and observations:

– Scotland’s highland cows are hairy and hilarious looking.
– Despite staring intently at Loch Ness, the monster never emerged. Boo!
– Scots were apparently horrified when the unveiling of a Sir William Wallace (the Scottish knight who was one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence) statue looked strikingly like Mel Gibson, the actor who portrayed Wallace in the movie Braveheart. A big fan of the movie, I was disappointed to hear that it contains several historical inaccuracies. Just to name a few – there is little evidence to prove that the notorious “primae noctis” (law of the first night) decree (which is a catalyst event early on in the movie) was a right that even existed during the Middle Ages and was certainly never used by King Edward; William Wallace never met Princess Isabella, which means she never gave birth to his son; Scots during this time period did not wear kilts). Hmmm…
– With its lush and craggy cliffs, the Isle of Skye in western Scotland may be the most beautiful place we’ve been to in Europe.
– It’s easy to see why so many poets have been inspired while walking through the beautiful Lake District in northern England.
– A Midsummer’s Night Dream is much more enjoyable when viewed from your five euros standing room ticket in the Royal Shakespeare Theater.

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