Friday, July 22, 2011

Dorset, Poole, Bournemouth, and the New Forest

So we continued south through Dorset, which was extremely picturesque, but not driving for the faint of heart. I decided I did not like lorries. They hog the narrow road, driving over the central line as you come around a sharp bend, on a hill, with a giant hedge of doom encroaching onto the passenger's side. There were road signs we did not recognize. RJH was sort of stunned that they just let you rent a car with a Canadian driver's licence and provide neither maps, or information on rules which may be unique to English roads. I decided one sign meant 'giant hegde of doom' as these seemed to be correlated with even narrower roads. Also, they don't seem to believe in shoulders on the road. So, there is nowhere to pull over. My mother said that in her experience, just when you think the lorry is going to squish you and drive over your little car, it will suddenly back up a mile and a half to the closest place for you to pass. I saw no such thing - though we also did not see any evidence of road accidents, so perhaps it's not as dangerous as it felt.


RJH pulled off the road at a small town he instinctively wanted to explore, and we found this:

We continued down to Poole, on the coast. This proved a real challenge to navigate a city without any sort of street map, but eventually we found the water. We asked for directions from a friendly man, with a sadly, mostly inpenetrable accent. We nonetheless, found the waterfront and had lunch near Paden Powell.

Baden Powell, Poole

Then, we drove through neighbouring Bournemouth.
roundabout amoeba

When RJH saw this road sign he protested. He said, "We've just managed to master the roundabout, but what is that? It's not a roundabout. It's an amoeba!" and we had a good laugh. I managed to get us to the smaller road through the New Forest. We didn't want to drive on the "double carriageway" (like a freeway). Rather, we wanted to see the national park, with is free-roaming semi-feral ponies. All the signs warned against petting, feeding or approaching the ponies, who would bite if threated, hungry, curious, or generally annoyed. They were something to see. There's something rather magical about a wild, or semi-wild animal approaching you unexpectedly without fear.

New Forest ponies
New Forest poniesNew Forest New Forest ponies
New Forest ponies
New Forest ponies
New Forest poniesNew Forest poniesNew Forest ponies
New Forest poniesNew Forest poniesNew Forest ponies

We went off the small road, onto an even smaller road or track which lead to a deer sanctuary. We didn't see any deer, but there were a lot of rabbits.
rabbits in the deer sanctuary, New Forest

The towns within the New Forest were very quaint. We continued to Southampton. I missed our exit so had to navigate through the city. I was interested in what the rest of the city looked like. We spent the night in a hotel "near" the airport (or so it alledged, on the internet). In the morning we took the train to Gatwick and returned to Toronto.

We were glad we managed to see so many different places. With a minimum of planning, and despite illness, we managed a really interesting visit.

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