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Michael’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 12 Sep 2007

Location: Newquay, England

Map31st August - 2nd September

Okay, time to catch up!

So, a couple weeks back now, I ended up at Newquay for the weekend. When Nat asked if I wanted to come down to meet up with her for the weekend I jumped at the chance. Work had her flying down on Friday and she was coming back on the Monday. The idea was that I would drive across so that we had a car for the weekend to head to the beaches. I grabbed the car from the airport car park in Southampton about 4 pm on the Friday, and made my way to Newquay. I knew I had a solid 4 hour drive ahead of me, uninsured, and having not driven a whole lot in the last couple years, I really was looking forward to it.

Giving the car a quick once over before I left, everything looked in check, but I was a little nervous about the rear right tire after Nat had tipped me off that there may be a gash in it. I saw the gash, but the tire didn't seem to be leaking, and I figured that I'd check it at the first servo – as it was the petrol tank was sitting on empty. Missed the first servo on the motorway, but made it in the second one. By the time I had pulled up next to the bowser, the tire was but a shredded memory. I changed the tire, once I'd located all of the tools, checked the oil, and filled the tank. After the 40 minutes of stuffing around, it was some time after 5 pm, and I was stuck in peak hour Friday traffic. As such it was just before 9 pm that I made it to Newquay in a flawless drive.

The hotel was nice... it was right on the cliff over looking a beach and a little ways out of town so that there wasn't to much noise. The Friday night Nat and I headed out and caught up with George & Martin, the captain and first officer on the play, for a couple drinks at the Mexican Restaurant up the road. Given the drive it wasn't a late night, and we all headed back to the hotel for a reasonably early night.

As is customary with Nat, a long sleep in was mandatory and we got up late morning and headed to for a drive to find a beach to have breakfast. Given we were in Newquay, which is in Cornwall, it made sense to have Cornish Pasties for breakfast. We sat on the beach, hoping and praying that the Sun would kick up and fight through the clouds... not much luck :-(

On the way back we drove through town and headed to Fistral Beach – supposedly one of the best and most famous beaches in the UK. Given I had never heard of it, doesn't say much. Plus, it didn't hold a candle to many Aussie beaches. After our visit to Fistral, and a quick drink, we pushed off back to the hotel to wait out Nat's 'stand-by' period of the day. Technically she was on stand-by till 4 pm. So, as I have come to know, that means perfect time for Nat's afternoon kip. I mean, I slept more since Friday night that I had most weeks in total!

We got up some time after 4 pm and headed to Watergate Bay, a much nicer looking beach that Fistral in my book. It was also the home of the Jaime Oliver restaurant fifteen. We sat at the beach and had a leisurely beer waiting for the wind to go down, and the wind to pick up. After the beer we headed back to the hotel again and ditched the car to walk up to Pippa's for dinner with George. It was a tasty meal, and Nat and I both opted for the steaks, though in my opinion the rare was a little too medium... Never the less, it was still a tasty meal, and both Nat and I had enough room for dessert after our mains and entree! Nat and I stuck around a while longer after George left and polished off the bottle of red wine we were drinking. By 11pm we had had enough and headed back to the hotel for more sleep. Seriously, I haven't slept so much since I don't know when, but weather Nat knows it or not, she did me a huge favor... God I needed some serious rest, and she left me no choice!

Sunday morning we woke up late again, and Nat and I headed out to the local grocery store to look for some breakfast. Nat ended up with hot dogs and I had cheese and ham rolls.
We caught up with Lee, another first officer, and headed to the beach next to the hotel. It was surrounded in this beautiful alcove, and was a long way down the stairs to the beach. Most importantly, the Sun actually showed its face for just a moment. Lee and I headed to the water, hoping to have a swim. I'd realised it was July last year in Valencia that I last went swimming... at a beach anyway, so I figured it was time for a dip. Well, I have swum in the Arctic Circle, and damn, this was cold. We were in the water for all of 5 minutes before we'd had enough and called it a day! The time was receding further and further away, and I kid you not, it much have gone out 150-200 meters from where it was at high tide. The beach on the other side of the hotel had a tide that must have been almost 800 meters long. It was incredible.

As the afternoon continued, it was time for Nat to have another kip, and I pushed off home at 3 pm. By 7 pm I had made it home on a much less 'exciting' journey, and dropped Nat's car back off at the airport. I jumped on the train and headed home, as relaxed as I have been since I started traveling. And even better, I was still able to sleep that night. Still, by mid-afternoon Monday I was already dozing off at work – time to get caffeine on the IV drip at work I think!

The rest of the details from the last two weeks to come soon...