I thought we were pretty well-prepared, but there are always things that catch you off-guard when travelling? What were some of the surprises that you found?
A lot of ours seemed to be bathroom-related...
Hotels and B&Bs don't ever seem to supply facecloths. We eventually bought some ourselves.
The water was almost always INCREDIBLY HOT - and I really like hot water. We couldn't believe how efficient the hot waters in the showers were. Those wall-mounted shower units are incredible.
In Scotland, in particular, the entire ocean seemed to be in use for every flush!
Daleks, enchantingly, popped up in the most unexpected places.
There is such a thing as deep-fried Haggis balls, and my children were absolutely thrilled to eat them! (Thank you, Edinburgh!)
Along the same lines, we all really quite like Black Pudding and I now search for it feverishly here at home when at speciality butcher shops.
My daughter said that she was very surprised to find that the Tube, as promised, was very easy to use. She saw the map and thought it would be horribly confusing. We really loved it and wished they had an Underground here at home, too.
My husband was surprised that the coffee was so delicious - he expected it to be all about tea. He was also suprised by the unfailing courtesy of drivers. And I think he was also surprised - and relieved! - at how easy it was to drive there. We loved the signs being printed right on the road surfaces, and it only took a few days of vocalising "It's like a left turn, it's like a left turn," every time we turned right, and counting exits together on busy roundabouts," before it felt like he was a pro. I'm not sure I ever quite got over the shock of narrow country roads, though! Or signs that announced something to the effect of "use caution, because a car may be coming in the next bit and there won't be room for both of you." That kind of thing was a bit unnerving. We did very little driving in the dark, lol!
I guess I was also very surprised by how very much of history was available to TOUCH. So many things weren't barred off to public access, but instead invited touching and walking and mingling. I found it wondrous to have that much history in our grasp. It was beautiful.
I'm sure there are other really fun and quirky things - oh, my goodness, yes - they have PRAWN-flavoured crisps!!
The kids were unhappily surprised to find that bacon in England really isn't - it's ham (though I gather there's "streaky bacon," we never saw any). While indifferent to ham, there was always so much else on the plate for full-English breakfasts that it didn't bother me at all.
Turkish Delight actually tastes good! It sure doesn't over here; it's nasty, hard, and chewy everywhere I've tried it in Canada.
There are the most amusing public sinks that will rinse, soap, rinse and dry you all-in-one!
Structures - scale was always surprising. We thought York Minster was enormous (and it is). Then we saw Salisbury Cathedral and were awed. Then we saw Westminster Abbey and positively gaped. There were also wildly amusing moments, like that in Edinburgh when my daughter saw the Scots Monument in the dusk and we all just gawked, while she murmurred that it looked like Maleficant's Castle....
Sheep couldn't be trusted to be sheep. Frequently, they turned out to be goats, and I never thought that it would be difficult to figure that out!! (Goats, for the record, if you can get close enough, have rectangular pupils). By the time we figured that out, we were halfway through our trip, and thought that we had probably been defrauded by any number of sheep-like goats in the first half of the vacation!
And I have to admit that I was surprised that I actually got chills on the ghost walk in York, which I'd expected to just be hokey and silly. It was very interesting, and sometimes quite sad.