Twisted Tourists

Twists mean surprises, and I love surprises.  Don’t you?  Surprises and the unexpected are part of the fun of being a mystery fan.  Just when you think you have the mystery figured out, it twists on you.

It’s the same with travel.  When I travel to places quite different from where I’m accustomed to living, I find oodles of twists, surprises, and the unexpected.  Here are seven twists that I encountered from my recent trip to England, meeting my newest granddaughter: (solutions below)

1. It’s wet and cold in England, that’s no surprise.  So, why do palm trees grow everywhere?  And why do wild, green parrots live in the trees at our mooring on the canal?

2. Cars drive on the left side of the road, that’s no surprise, either.  So, why do boats drive on the right side of the canal?

3. One of our favorite activities at the canal is gongoozling.  Don’t you just love that word?  It means to watch narrowboats move through the locks.  We love to gongoozle as we walk along the towpath to our local pub.

4. Who doesn’t love the local pub?  With the warmth of its low, beamed ceilings, glowing fireplaces, and mullioned windows as thick as the bottom of a jelly glass?  The Sunday roast they serve is out of this world.  Children are welcome in the pub—and dogs, too!

5. And speaking of pub roast…we cruised to Tesco, where we tied up our narrowboat at the public mooring, and inside, we found packages of frozen Yorkshire pudding.  How handy would that be in the States?


6. While fleeing London for bank holiday (and what on earth is a bank holiday, anyway?) we encountered a road-side sign on the M4:  “No fly tipping” –Huh?

7. I could go on, as twists and surprises fill each day in England, but I’ll leave it with one more:  “wetting the baby’s head.”  So many images come to mind!

What are some wild twists and surprises that you’ve encountered in your travels?  

1. palm trees = the result of the gulf stream delivering a temperate climate
parrots = after several escapes from caged life, parrots started thriving in the wild in parts of England
2. boats vs. cars = anyone know the answer to this?
3. narrowboat = 6 feet wide, and up to 72 feet long, size determined by size of the lock
4. the local pub = a community gathering place
5. Tesco = the local, mega grocery store
6. bank holiday = Monday makes a 3-day weekend in spring, Easter, early May, and summer
fly tipping = illegal dumping of waste
7. wetting the baby’s head = a celebration of baby’s arrival, with appropriate beverages.

7 thoughts on “Twisted Tourists”

  1. Ha, there’s always something. I think the boat thing is because of world-wide accepted standards for navigation, which have existed for hundreds of years. I’d have to look it up or ask my brother-in-law (the Navy guy) for specifics.


  2. This is such a fun post, Sue, and it sounds like you had a wonderful trip! #2 is especially curious… One twist that comes to mind is how jam-packed the subway gets during rush hour in Tokyo–I think sardines have more room! 🙂


  3. What a fun post! When I was in Dublin, Ireland, several years ago, I went into a little corner store to get a bottle of water and the guy running the cash register was Chinese. No problem. I lived in San Francisco for a few years. But he didn’t have a San Francisco Chinese accent; he spoke with a Northern Irish accent which I do not understand at the best of times. I practically had a stroke. Some nice young Dubliner had to translate for me. As it turns out, before the Chinese took back Hong Kong, many of the residents moved to Northern Ireland because Hong Kong and Northern Ireland were UK so it’s easy to travel between the two.


  4. Maybe that’s it, Mary. I wonder how far back those standards go?

    Kate, I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well traveling like a sardine!

    Keenan, I have that same head-twisting reaction!

    That’s a good one, Peg!


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