We left Paris this past Tuesday and flew to Bristol to spend a few days with our friends Meagan and Jock. We’ve had a great couple of days, seeing southwest England and Wales. The weather has been great – sunny skies, no rain, you know, basically unusual weather for England! We have also seen more sheep, lambs (that’s not redundant, is it?), and pigs than I certainly have ever encountered. Chuck got to see Stonehenge and we visited Wells and its cathedral. We spent a day and night in Oxford, walking around the town, doing a pub crawl and visiting the Bodleian Library. Chuck had never been to Oxford. I had been, but when I was there I was on my first trip to Europe and had run out of money so couldn’t go inside anywhere. So this time was much nicer. The pub crawl was fun: the rules we followed meant that if we went to a pub we had to have a drink regardless of how rotten the pub. Thanks to some friends of Meagan, we went to mostly great places so it was a very nice experience.
Today we drove to Wales (not that far, as it happens, from Bristol) and visited Carreg Cennen castle, the only castle in Wales owned by a Welshman. What was great about it was that it was completely unsupervised: we could climb the walls, go down into caves and generally behave like unruly kids and there was nobody there to tell us to be careful or behave ourselves. Fun! Wales is absolutely beautiful, and we spent several hours rambling on a lovely trail near the castle. I’d love to go back and spend several days just hiking around Wales. The only sad thing that happened was that poor Meagan finally made the connection between lamb chops and little lambikins frolicking in fields.
Completely clouding the past two days has been news of the Icelandic volcano which when it first erupted seemed like a fairly uneventful climatic blip on the radar. The joke was on us, as the volcano has utterly disrupted all travel into and out of Europe. We are supposed to fly from Bristol to Paris tomorrow afternoon and the chances of that happening are less than the odds of peace on earth by next Wednesday. If we miss that flight we will almost certainly miss our flight out of Paris to home on Monday. *sigh* So our first task tomorrow is to see if we can get seats on any train out of London to Paris tomorrow. (Travelers everywhere are laughing as I type these words.) We kept thinking that the volcanic ash would keep blowing northeast and all would be fine. Instead, the ash just keeps on coming. Transatlantic ocean liner options are looking attractive right now.