Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On our way to the UK

Over the past weeks I realised I was looking at the country I was born and raised in through the eyes of a foreigner. Although I was born here in The Netherlands, the past nine years in Australia and 18 months on this trip around the world had obviously changed my perspective. It had quite clearly also changed my view on what is 'normal'. Riding through this once so familiar country felt like being in another world. An abnormal world where everything seemed to be busy and every bit of road was taken up with cars, trucks and buses. Quite to the contrary of what I had expected, I didn't feel at home here at all…

Our next destination was England and The New Forest in particular. As we don't like boats all that much… no, let me rephrase that, as we don't like being on boats all that much, we opted for the train. As far as I'm aware the only train in the world that operates under the sea. The boarding process is the easiest I've seen anywhere and the whole crossing takes about 30 minutes. A ferry from Dunkirk was another option but sailing time is 2 hours and loading and unloading can easily add another hour to it as well.

Ten years ago I would have loved to ride to The New Forest… I have done it many times as well. It's a 560 odd km ride (or drive if you're in a tin-can). Now it's a different story. The whole 560 kms felt like riding through a giant city. In Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand there are busy sections on the road but in between big stretches of hardly any traffic. Even the busy sections in the land DownUnder are nothing compared to here.

Wondering if it's me just getting older I asked Mike what he thought of today's ride. The reply was 'boring and ridiculously busy'… So it's not me or getting older. it's just what you are used to. Ten years had changed me a lot, they had obviously also changed me for the better.

There are alternatives though. Let's face it you don't have to ride on Motorways. In fact it's much more enjoyable to stay away from them, but be prepared to travel a lot slower as the smaller roads take you through each and every village. No bypass anywhere and traffic is slow. I guess the morale of this little epistle is not to be in a hurry or set yourself targets on where you want to be at a certain time.