Our two week European vacation was a blur and already it was time for Jamie to return back to her school-oriented life in Florida. On our way back to Manchester we stopped in London with just a few hours to follow The Queen's Walk and enjoy the sites. We took the underground to the Palace of Westminster, then walked across Westminster Bridge and downstream along the River Thames as far as Tower Bridge. After a nice dinner along the Thames, we headed back out to the airport for an absurdly early flight to Manchester the following morning.
From Manchester Jamie headed back to St. Augustine, while I continued on my travels, not planning to return to St. Augustine myself until the end of June. In Manchester I stayed a week with a friend and old colleague, Basheer, from Florida. I then flew back to Ireland returning to Ballintoy where I will stay for a few weeks.
My original plans to fly to New Zealand changed, evolving into a trip through Europe visiting friends. Jamie still had a few more weeks off from school, so we planned a quick trip to Ireland via England. We landed in Manchester and stayed a night with one of her friends, then set off on a far-too-rushed train journey to a few locations around England. We whizzed through Stratford-upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare's birthplace and final resting place, then continued down to Salisbury to see the Stonehenge. Finally we headed through London up to Ipswich to visit friends I'd met years ago when working in Florida.
With the current exchange rate of two British Pounds for ever American Dollar, the country proved far more expensive than I'd quasi-planned. In addition, the time required to travel by train was greater than we'd expected, cutting into our time to actually enjoy the destinations. In spite of that, the whirlwind trip proved to be a lot of fun.