Woo-hoo. My passport arrived, no problems, and a few weeks early. On deck, a whirlwind, two-week tour of the UK & Ireland:
29 May: Heathrow to Reading to Bath
30-31 May: Bath, Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon
1 June: S-u-A to Liverpool; Norfolkline Ferry to Dublin
2-4 June: Belfast, Antrim
5-6 June: Edinburgh
7-8 June: York
9-13 June: London
And, of course, sites aplenty. We have not decided to spend the travel time to Stonehenge, nor committed to theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. But I'm pretty sure our days in Belfast and Antrim will include Bushmill's Distillery and Giant's Causewy; tacitly understood, of course, is St. James' Gate. If I knew–and listed—all the places we intended to drink, I'm not sure this post when this post would end.
We're actually aiming for the pomp and ceremony of Trooping the Colour on 12 June. And we have passes to a number of London sites, but the more telling list is what is not included: Westminster Abbey, Tate Museum, National Gallery, &c. I'd like to see the Tate and National, but, truth told, if I spend the whole period in pubs, I'll be happy. I mean, I already acknowledge that someday I'll have to come back for an extended tour in Ireland, and the same can be said quite easily of London itself, speak nothing of the rest of England. And, truth told, we're still flipping coins about Edinburgh or Glasgow; I'd vote the latter just because I would much adore seeing the community that brought about the band Belle & Sebastian.
I know, ridiculous, isn't it? Obviously, I'd be happy to drink with any of my Sciforums neighbors who might find themselves along those roads, but I can't be especially specific at this time. We're allegedly putting our heads together tonight to discuss some of the details, but last time we got together for that purpose, I showed up an hour late, drank my brother's beer, ate my mother's wonderful (despite the canned mushrooms) lasagna, and got absolutely nothing done.
Meanwhile, one of the things that puzzles me about this is why the idea of a vacation is so stressful. My brother is knocking himself senseless figuring an itinerary, which is unusual since he usually just picks a destination and goes. Of course, his trips are usually event-specific, and not built around two weeks of touring the countryside. Frankly, I think he's putting too much effort into it. When the idea arose, it was a trip to London. Then Dublin came into the picture, because apparently nobody wanted to look me in the eye and say we'd be that close and not set foot in the Republic. (Don't look at me; I hadn't said a damn word at that point.) But I need six freakin' months, at least, in Ireland, so if we didn't make it across, life goes on. And the Counties? That was my idea; I mean, if we were in the UK, and determined to go to Ireland, why not hit the North first? After all, it wasn't feasible to get drunk in Drumcliffe. But, yeah, Bushmill's is in Antrim. So suddenly we're trying to cram in four different places: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. As it is, the English musts are, for this trip, London, York, and Bath. And that would have been fine with me. Stumbling from York proper over to Tadcaster for the beer would be an adventure in itself. I mean, London, York, Bath—nothing says I ever have to leave the pubs, right? Except, of course, to find the next one.
Seriously, though. Really, I do expect to enjoy the hell out of this, but it seems like we're going to an awful lot of trouble to make sure half the vacation is spent rushing to the next destination. I mean, really: Stratford-upon-Avon to Dublin? I've tried making as many concessions as I can, and as few demands as possible. But, yeah, apparently I'm not the only one who wants a pub crawl in Dublin. And if we'll do a road trip for a concert, why not make a point of hitting Dublin to get drunk? But that run from Stratford to Dublin was something we just couldn't figure out how to do efficiently. And of all the suggestions I made when prompted, the one nobody would consider was reversing the direction of our tour. Everything is working in a clockwise direction. All we have to do is turn it around, and things won't seem so hectic. But, at the time, Scotland wasn't on the itinerary, and when it finally became a necessary part of the experience, we were apparently committed to the deosil tour.
Life goes on. I'll see you if I see you, but can't promise to remember it afterward. At least we'll have some pictures.