So after sleeping the night in the car we were both surprisingly refreshed. The little car was actually quite comfortable. We went back into Inverness and pulled up at maccas again to use their internet. I booked us a place near the airport and we got back on the road. Today we had to return the car we had hired and had yet to decide where to go from there. We knew that we had to be in Southern England by the 15th of July but our time was free up until then. We checked out the prices of train, plane and bus tickets around the UK. It turns out the cheapest and easiest option yet again was to hire a car. So we booked a car through Thrifty this time and left Inverness. We drove back to Edinburgh through yet more fantastic scenery. I know I keep talking about this but it really is brilliant. The hotel I had found was cheap and we got what we paid for, It was clean but tiny and there was another made up single bed they asked us not to use as they had a family coming in the next day and they didn’t want to remake it. It was meant to have wifi but the signal was so weak I had to leave the room and sit in the hallway to get anything. We were staying in Murrayfield which is where the big Rugby stadium is in Scotland and also the zoo. There are also some huge big houses with fantastic gardens. Anita and I went for a long walk around all these places. The zoo is something we have to do when we get back as it looks fantastic. After a while we found a small Indian restaurant and stopped in. We ordered the banquet for 2 people and waited. When it arrived we were shocked. There was enough food in the bag to feed a whole family and still have leftovers. We took it back to the hotel and realised we didn’t really have cutlery. We had each bought a plastic spork so we used these and the tea spoons and plates to eat. The food was fantastic but there was so much of it. There was a chicken curry I had ordered, A lamb rogan josh which was incredibly spicy. Three vegetable curries, two huge entrees, lots of naan bread and a large desert each. There was also a HUGE container of jasmine rice. We ate what we could and left the rest for the next day. There was a countdown of the top 10 CSI episodes on which Neat was thrilled about. We settled in feeling very full and watched these until we fell asleep.

The next morning we arose fairly early. There was so much food left that we decided to wait until we were on the road then we would stop and do a big brunch. After packing the car again and giving it a good clean we drove into edinburgh airport, dropped the car off, walked two desks over and picked up our new car. It was also a Vauxhall but this time it was an Astra, it was slightly smaller but I think was a little more comfortable, and somehow had way more boot space. We had decided to drive to Newcastle, as Anita had family from near there and I wanted to check out the city. We drove south back into England, and I hate to say it but England is pretty boring scenery compared to Scotland. After an hour or so of driving our hunger got the better of us and we pulled off the motorway into a tiny little town, I don’t even know it’s name. We got our plastic sporks out again and demolished the rest of the Indian, it was just as good cold. Along the way Neat saw the sign for a little town called Detchent. We pulled off the motorway and drove into it. Detchent was where her great grandmother was born and the town would not have changed at all since then. It was still tiny with little winding cobble stone streets. There was not a lot there, no shops and not even a pub which is very unusual for these little English town. Anita took some photos and we got back on the road. Our next stop was Alnwick, where all the Harry Potter castle scenes were filmed. Also neat’s great aunt had named her house Alnwick when she moved to Australia so there were family ties there as well. We were going to stop and look around but there were major roadworks going on all through the city and the entire city centre was blocked off. We drove down several blocked roads and one way streets before agreeing to come back another day. It was only another short drive down the motorway when we pulled into Newcastle not knowing where we were going or staying. We drove into the city centre and drove around for a while checking out the city. We stopped and eventually found another maccas, we are really making the most of the free internet at these places. We used this time to update our blog and do some facebook stuff. I then found us a fantastic deal on a hotel called the Jesmond Hotel which I found hilarious as the Jesmond hotel in Newcastle Australia is not the nicest place in the world in my humble opinion. It was only 39 pounds a night reduced from 100 because they were doing restoration work on the front of the building. We checked into the hotel which was quite nice and had the most comfortable bed I have ever lay upon. It was still early so we went for a walk to try and see some of the city. The area we were in was close to the uni and it showed. There were literally dozens of bars and clubs only a short walk from our hotel all offering ridiculously cheap cocktails for student night. They didn’t look dodgy either they were all really nice places. We saw a sign for a cheap meal that came with a glass of wine each at a italian restaurant. The restaurant was called Firenze and was again great. Apart from the terrible asian food we had when we first arrived all the food has been really good. We each had an entree and a main and some wine all for only about 10 pounds each. We wandered back to the hotel and I did some more internet stuff. I uploaded hundreds of photos to facebook if anyone wants to see the photos that go along with the blog. The internet at the hotel was really quick which was good. We have found that the UK is miles ahead of Australia with wireless. Every pub has wifi and pretty much every city centre has free wifi. We use Neat’s iphone to find wifi hotspots then I get the laptop out to do what I need, check emails, update blog etc. WE noticed that it actually started to get dark in Newcastle which was the first time we had seen true darkness for a while, though even here it didn’t get completely dark. We stayed up until midnight so that we could make some Skype calls while we had the good connection. We called Holly and had a great chat and also Tanya. Neat was very happy to get to see Charlotte and Zavier again. We also decided that next stop on our tour was Liverpool. I found an incredibly good deal, 77 pounds for two nights at a place that is normally 100 pounds a night. Feeling very chuffed with myself I called it a night.

Clive

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