Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

Goodbye England

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 06 12th, 2010

It was our last day in England. We were ready to move on since we thought we would already be in Ireland. After the initial cultural differences wore off, England began to feel a lot like the United States. We had a great time, but we were still ready to begin our next adventure in a non-English speaking country. We were excited for Italy.

Before our flight to Rome we stopped in a pub and watched the United States play England in the World Cup. It was fun watching the game in such a passionate atmosphere. We were happy with the 1 to 1 tie since the US was outplayed all game. The British patrons were not as happy with the outcome.

Christy watching the World Cup in London

After the game we headed to our next hotel… Gatwick airport. We had a 7:10 am flight the next morning so we decided to spend the night in the airport. We found while making sure Gatwick allowed people to sleep there. We discovered a whole subculture devoted to saving time and money by sleeping in airports. The terminals in Gatwick shuts down at night so we had to sleep outside of security. There were a lot of other people sleeping, but we finally found some cushioned benches we could lay down on. We had a hard time getting comfortable because of the light, noise, and air conditioning.

Christy getting ready to sleep in Gatwick airport

At 2:20 in the morning Christy woke me up because security was reopening the terminals. I was not as eager to change sleeping locations since I was having a wonderful dream about playing dodge ball in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Land. Reluctantly, I followed her through security (where there was no line) into the terminal where we found an empty gate. We slept peacefully in our own personal gate 11 the rest of the night in complete peace.

Christy sleeping in Gatwick gate 11

In the Land of Robin Hood…

Posted by Christy in Posts on 06 11th, 2010

As has come custom in our trip, Aaron and I had no clue what we were doing our last two days in England as of yesterday morning. As we were looking at the map, we gazed upon a fairly big city right between Liverpool and London…. Nottingham! The city where the outlaws steal from the rich to give to the poor.

This spot was not highlighted in our guidebook, but we thought we would give it a try.  The results are in, and our decision was declared a success!

Fairly scarce of tourists (and therefore high prices), Nottingham is a treasure right in the middle of the UK. Note, however, a max of two days is needed.

Here were our activities:

Of course, a walk around the ancient castle of Nottingham, and the famous Robin Hood statue (est. in 1949);

Then, a quick tour of the free museum of the history of Robin Hood);

Now, we all know that I love movies, and we had not seen the latest version of Robin Hood on the big screen. SO, what better time to see the film than in the setting of the film itself? (Christy Review: B+, Entertaining, too harshly reviewed by critics; I’m sorry this latest installment was not as fantastic as “Gladiator,” but you can’t get much better than that, so why compare?)

Now, the hostel we are staying at in Nottingham is my favorite thus far, due to the friendly staff and laid back long-term residents. The woman who checked us in recommended two things, which we happily took her advice on: a pub called the Pitcher and Piano, which is unique in that it is placed in a historic old church in the village. Aaron and I enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner there, for the tremendously generous price of five pounds each.

The second was a pub called Ye Olde Salutation Inn. We enjoyed a few pints of beer and cider there, and what made the experience special was not the drinks, but the old caves that still exist under the cavern. Underneath the entire city of Nottingham are caves dug out centuries ago (perhaps by Robin Hood and his merry men?). If you buy a few pints at the pub, they will let you explore the caverns that are still in tact down below.

Yesterday, Aaron and I had grown tired of England and were ready to move on to Italy. Nottingham regenerated our spirits for the country. We are happy to have one more day here, especially since USA is playing England in the World Cup tomorrow. Go USA (like we care)!

English Pub Food

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 06 4th, 2010

One of our main goals on the trip is to eat as much local food as possible and avoid American fast food chains (except if we get home sick). Three days into the trip we have avoided all of the McDonald’s (easy) and even resisted the numerous Subways (our normal spot for cheap, relatively healthy fast food). We have been eating with and made dinner once for our couch surfing host, but when we have eaten out we have gone to the pubs. Pub food is good and we are slowly getting used to ordering from the bar instead of getting waited on. One big adjustment for us is not tipping. We are so used to tipping in America, we feel guilty when we do not tip.

Ham Baguette and Chicken Wrap in Richmond Pub Sausage and Mash, Fish and Chips, in a London Pub