4.20.2009 Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Travel Blog

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4.20.2009    Canterbury Tales


Today was a tale of an epic journey retracing the historic pilgrimage of Canterbury Tales- okay that was overly dramatic.  But we enjoyed the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the spectacular 15th century cathedral, complete with the echoing, dark underground crypt.  It felt like we were in a Scooby Doo episode down there!


The nice Caravan Club folks in the office helped us this morning find propane places to call and later visit throughout the day.  We really loved Crystal Palace Campground with the really nice people, lovely sites, and convenient in-town location.

  But the people there really make it fun.


The Low-Emission Zone wigs me out.  It is a 200 L *daily* charge for motorhomes that are not registered in the Great Britain database.  Although Sugar is an EU motorhome, manufactured after 2001, unless she is registered we’ll get hit with the 200L a day. And this includes any driving from Crystal Palace campground. 


So I called the Low-Emission Zone folks today and learned that we should get a “warning letter” telling us to register the vehicle from our drive into London.  I’m sure hoping that Kieran and Orla can help me out with that little task or that my internet fairy visits me so I can do it.  I will get to my email woes later.  Since I will have driven and and then out, they might nab me from today.


With my savings of 400L (that I hope to avoid from getting binged on emissions), I would like an iPhone, with international calling and internet, email on demand… ah, what a joy that would be!


I connected with Boingo today for the first time in our month of travel!  It came up automatically on my computer in Café Nero in Canterbury and I just clicked online!  Amazing!  But alas, before I could send any emails and after uploading only one blog, it seemed to switch to BTOpenZone (British Telephone).  Is BT linked with Boingo, or did my computer auto-switched to BT since they’re on my list?  BT then requested payment, but then Café Nero closed at 6pm, so I was booted out to the very lovely, but hard, cobblestone street.


We found our lost our bikes (now where did we park them…?) and biked back to the campground (1.

5 miles) before dark.  The kids had bought our dinner at the nearby grocery store (under 10L -they were very proud).


The Canterbury Camping & Caravanning Club site, listed in the Church’s book, is lovely (22L) and the people are very nice.  They are switching over their internet, so it’s not available.  Today I heard of an internet computer “dongle” that sounds like our aircards in the States.  I think an iPhone would solve all my issues, don’t you?  And my birthday is conveniently coming up! 


I won’t continue with what surely sounds like whining, but an internet solution is coming, let me tell you (and he is flying here in less than a week!)  Far be it from me to complain and turn to drinking Italian wine just because of a little internet issue.

Oh, no! 


Let me share another scavenger hunt today- Propane!  We have an empty Irish tank that fits our European connector.  But our full British tank (from Salisbury) has a different connection and won’t work – blah!  We can’t find a temporary regulator to fit the British tank, no propane supplier can fill the Irish tank, and no electric heater (only fans are out now)- and boy did we search.


So we think that a solution was just not meant to be found today!  We’ll wear our fleeces to bed this cold night, then go to France tomorrow and switch out our (expensive and full) British tank with a European tank which fits our European regulator.  There.  That will solve everything.  By heading south to the warmth (no heat), eating out (no stove), and hooking up the fridge to electric- Problem solved.

  No complaints- where’s that wine again?


Phone calls?  No worries!  While my 5L phone card yesterday provided just 17 minutes of talk time and our hit rate finding a newsstand that sells international phone cards is 25%, I’ve at least learned how to use them.  It’s sort of a game to see which phone card provides the most minutes, as there’s no advance info. Frustrating?  Cut off in middle of a phone call while trying to find a propane adapter?  No worries- be happy!  Red or white?


Canterbury was a lovely town- it was larger than we expected with 39,000 residents.  The cobblestone streets of the old town were delightful, filled with hundreds of school kids apparently from France- we think they’re out on holiday.

  We are just 18 miles from the Chunnel now, so the international distance is small for foreign visitors. 


England has been delightful and we look forward to returning to see the northern country and Scotland in a few months.  Nearly all of the people we met in England were kind, helpful, polite, and delightful.  All of the campgrounds were neat and tidy- the highest quality we have found anywhere.  The countryside was gorgeous, the trees in the Springtime hold millions of flowers, flowers are so bright they looked plugged iu, London was amazing, and the romance of the countryside beguiling with fields of green and then yellow blankets of flowers.


I want to interject about Ireland as I think my summary was missing:  Ireland, while very expensive, was a fabulous country.  We still talk about how amazingly quaint every single Irish village seemed to be- so authentic and well-preserved- so usable even today with the antique buildings and ancient crafted gardens.

  Ireland seems to have heart- great laughter and spirit- which we love.  I don’t think we’d find a prettier country- so consistently gorgeous in every town and countryside, with amazingly nice people- the kind that make me want to be a nicer person.  We also look forward to seeing more of Ireland in a few months.  Loved it!


We are excited too about visiting France, meeting the people, trying the food, seeing the beauty!  Our French needs beaucoup help, but we hear it is wonderful for motorhoming with easy roads, great food, and Paris is a delightful city.  Can’t wait to see how we make it across on the Chunnel- wish us well!






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photo by: Koralifix