Sunday, June 21, 2015

On the road again...

OK it wasn't a big road trip but it certainly felt like quite a bit of driving.  Maybe its England and the size of the roads.  In the US when you drive, it seems there are acres of room to do everything.  In England things seem to be much closer together.  Certainly cars have got bigger over time, this is a global phenomenon not necessarily a UK one but on UK roads, it stands out more.

This time though we figured we needed a big car capable of holding 7 people and their luggage for the to-ing and fro-ing we had planned and from the usual Kayak search, out came Sixt (see link here).

Who, you may ask?  They are a German firm that is expanding globally.  We'd hired a car from them in Miami once -- what, you ask?  Why didn't you use Silvercar?  The best car hire firm bar none.  Well, they hadn't opened up in Miami at that point but they have now, so I will be headed in their direction for any further times.  But Sixt are expanding in the UK whilst Silvercar is not (yet) -- they just opened in Chicago so are getting a little nearer.  And they were fantastic too.  Sixt, I mean.  Very helpful and polite both in and out and the vehicle they rented us was just terrific too.

It was a VW (of course) 9-seater.  And it was great to drive... once you got the hang of its length.  It was knocked about a bit at each front sides and trying to get out of the car park at the airport, nearly took out a couple of posts people put up to stop drivers trying to cut corners!  But I did manage to not add to the scrapes.

So the rental was another great experience.  Now I know of 2 great car hire firms: first Silvercar, second Sixt.  The rest are nowhere by comparison.  Sorry guys!

I already posted about Dover Castle but want to add something about the A2 as it passes through the Blackheath.

I've driven this road dozens of times over the years always going to or from London.  It's not a quick route past here as the traffic build up gets pretty heavy and have never turned either left or right at the lights in the middle of the heath.  I've never had reason to.  On the right is residential, on the left is a long wall (heading towards London this is).  The reason I mention it is that before eating lunch in Greenwich we took a brief detour (courtesy of duelling GPS' gone mad -- at that time we were working off our Garmin and Indy's iPhone using the Google Maps App) that wasn't altogether under control. Looking for the O2 Arena, the machines directed us along ever narrower streets until we came out into the open... and hit the traffic lights in the middle of this heath!  But along the way, we had also passed signs for Greenwich Park and the Royal Observatory so thought that we should turn around and take a look.

Docklands in the middle, the City to the left and the Millenium Dome, now O2 Arena to the right.  In the foreground the magnificent maritime museum.  This is where the horse trials were held in the 2012 Olympics!  Who could do this in an hour?  It would take a week at least to simply scratch the surface...

It turned out to be behind this long wall bounding the edge of Blackheath that I'd driven past dozens of times over the years without realizing.

We weren't able to spend too much time as lunch beckoned in an hour or so but it looks a magical place that I want to return to and spend a day in!

If you beat me, do please tell me about it.  I want to stand on the Meridian, one leg either side!!

The 24-hour clock was right!

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