Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I don't always plan things which is how I ended up in Wales!

As an intro to this post I apologise to my mother for hitchhiking alone and would like to point out that I was kind enough to not tell her until afterwards!

So, in the last post where I actually told you where I was, I was in Paris and Eleanor had just left and I got on a bus to Calais.

Then I got off the bus in Calais and kind of just stood there. It was 3am, drizzling and I didn't have a ticket for the ferry or any plan beyond the knowledge that you pay per car on the ferry not per passenger so I might be able to get a ride.

I pretty quickly found a Polish guy trying to do the same thing who'd been there about two hours longer than I had. We banded up and hit up the truck stops. We had no luck. Most people either haven't arrived or are sleeping at 3am.

However, as you may know, Polish people speak Polish and, as you may not know, an unexpectedly large number of Poles transport things to the UK via ferry. We hung around outside the check in area and very quickly found a Polish guy who spoke no English but was willing to give us a ride. We jumped in and caught the 6am ferry, and since he was a trucker we got trucker tickets and got to have the special trucker breakfast. I was excited.

At this point it may be worth mentioning that I'd suddenly realised the evening before that my plans had changed in a minor way (thanks to E having to be back to write an essay) and I was heading back to the UK 3 days earlier than planned. What I'd failed to take into account was that my sister, who lives in Nottingham and whom I was planning to stay with, was in Iceland for those three days.

Well. Enter desperate facebook messages. Luckily I have a friend named Joe who up and left to Wales to work on a falconry (there may be a technical name that I don't know). This was incredibly fortunate for me, even more so as I hadn't seen him in forever and he checks facebook maybe once a month and I happened to get the right day.

So I got on the road from Dover and hitched the 476km to Joe's house in Wales. I did most of it in one ride with a lovely French woman off to visit her sister.

Joe lives on a working falconry so upon arriving, two slightly bemused workers told me to sit tight then gave me a ride to where he was.

In an effort to keep this short I'll give you a quick idea of what I got up to in Wales and then just leave some pictures: we wandered around to a pond near Joe's house, Catherine was with us and pointed out bats and competed with Joe to spot native birds. We went to the beach and Joe interrogated some kite buggiers (technical term that) for a while, we also popped our heads into some blinds? Hides? The things you hide in while hunting ducks or bird watching. We went to the pub and had a flat dinner. Joe left to do work stuff up north and I stayed with his flatmates another night. They took me to a workmates house to meet his NZ falcon named Maori. The next morning they dropped me off at a good spot to hitch up to Nottingham to actually stay with my sister.

Crazy narrow country roads with hedgerows on either side.

This is not an interesting photo. It's mainly so you can see how weird Welsh is!

Meet Maori

Maori meet dog.

Tom - one of Joe's very tolerant flatmates (largely OK with the fact that I just turned up and stayed for three days)

Maori is a fan of being on top of people. As you'll see. This is Maori + Catherine

There's actually a better photo of Maori on my head than this but I look so utterly creepy that I refuse to put it up!

Back on the road. Sorry Mum!

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