Wife and I are back safely on this side of the pond after two weeks of traveling in the U.K. and France. We were with two different couples, but all six of us were together only three days in the Cotswolds of England.
Every time I take a trip like this, I learn new things, or re-learn old things, for example:
-- When one tries to cut corners to save money, one often gets what one pays for, which on this trip was demonstrated by a rental car abandoned roadside in the Cotswolds, rented from what one might describe as a fly-by-night operation. When I was supposed to be hiking the Cotswold Way, my travel companions and I were dealing with this. But lemonade (or ale, more accurately) was made from lemons as my buddy and I found a splendid little pub in the charming town of Winchcombe to wait things out.
-- With international travel the way Wife and I do it, making our own way (or the way Wife has planned for us; I could never do it on my own), one must be flexible (see previous reference to abandoned rental car) and expect the unexpected. 100 percent of the time, plans will change.
-- Wife is an outstanding travel planner. She can drive and navigate, and I am the grateful beneficiary of her skill.
-- I find the majority of people to be kind and helpful, no matter where they live. That's encouraging.
-- While Wife and a couple of my friends are capable of driving in a foreign country, including one where driving is done on the side of the road opposite as in the U.S., and roundabouts are the order of the day, I should always be a passenger. I have neither the skill nor the patience, and I am glad I know this about myself.
-- The people in the U.K. loved their queen! I guess I knew this, but witnessing the outpouring of affection for her, especially in Scotland where she passed away less than 24 hours before we arrived there, was nothing less than awe-inspiring.
There were more lessons, but these were the main ones that remain top of mind for me. I'll post more about the trip, along with some pictures, in the next few days.