Have you ever driven through a place without stopping to visit, even though others might travel across the world to spend time there? When I recently saw President Obama on TV visiting Stonehenge, it reminded me that I often used to travel to Trowbridge, which is only 42 minutes from Stonehenge, and yet I have never been to this ancient monument! I used to travel to the north of England and across into Scotland, but I have never seen Hadrian’s Wall. I have driven through Miami, but never even got out of the car! Oh dear, this all sounds very negative, but the good news is that I am now making much more of an effort to appreciate the opportunities that I have in front of me, even though it is not always possible to increase the duration of your journey for such purposes. Here are a few examples.
1. Bruges, Belgium
As I drive home along the E40 across Belgium, and my British radio station begins to fade, I see the exit sign for Bruges. Rather than the disappointment I used to feel at driving straight past this motorway exit, I now have a happy memory of the 2 hours we recently put aside for a quick visit to this beautiful city.
2. Arundel, England
The journey across the south coast of England is made up of a mixture of motorways, dual carriage ways and ordinary roads. There are large towns and cities such as Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton. The tourists flood into this area during the summer. The roads can be busy and frustrating as 3 lanes of motorway traffic merge into 2 lanes of dual carriageway which then filter through into a single country road with traffic lights, islands and small towns. During my most recent trip along this route, I decided to pull over at Arundel and take some pictures whilst my wife stayed in the car wondering what on earth I was doing! The castle is the featured image at the start of this post, but here is one more picture of this historic town.
Liege is also on that road from England to Germany, but much closer to our home in Germany. I only knew the city for its football team, Standard Liege, who had played English teams such as Liverpool in European cup ties. But more recently, I had heard about its Sunday markets, which given that all shops where I live are closed on Sundays, gave us an extra reason to go for a short afternoon there. I can’t say I would want to travel across the world to see this city, but if you are nearby, then it is well worth a visit with some nice restaurants, shops and the markets that line a fairly impressive waterway.
4. The New Forest, England
Whilst driving through the New Forest, you will see ponies and cattle wandering freely along the roads. They are protected by low speed limits and cattle grids that prevent them from walking off onto the more dangerous main roads. The landscape is fascinating and its villages and cottages delightful. I travel through this area more often than any of the other roads I’ve mentioned, and I have occasionally walked the dog here or visited the odd town. But normally, I just drive through, ignoring its beauty and its history as it is often night time by the time I reach this section of my journey.
I hope to bring you a more positive and informative post soon! 🙂
All pictures and text. © Chris Robinson 2014. All rights reserved.