Traversing the UK

Dover Castle

Dover Castle (Photo credit: Tancread)

We stand at the terminal in Dover, looking dumbfounded for enough time that people started ask us if we are lost. Not really knowing what else to do, we decide to head to the terminal to see if we can find a phone and another rental car company.

When we arrived at the depot, the place was completely empty – our fellow travellers all chose a different direction to disembark, and we quickly realized we were incapable of figuring out the phone system.

After 20 or more minutes of trying, and a few good natured shouts, a teeny little British woman and her co-worker came out from behind a door in the back of their kiosk.

“What are you trying to do?”

We told her that we were just trying to figure out the phone system, they both had a good laugh at us, asked where we were from, and summoned us over to their desk.

They called the UK Hertz for us, but they hadn’t any cars (here we go again with my planning issue!), the kiosk lady took the phone back from me and asked the Hertz people if they could call around and find us a rental car, (telling them we were inept but friendly Canadians – LOL), they agreed to help and eventually connected us to ‘Avis’ (how nice).

The people at Avis though, initially were not too nice;

“Where are you going? Why do you need the car? We ony have one and you will have to drop it off back here in Dover, and you don’t want to do that, so you don’t need the car, do you?”

Strangely, we could tell that the Avis guy was actually trying to convince us not to rent from him. Regardless of his wants and intentions, we needed the car – by this time we had spoken to every available rental service, and no one had any cars left.

Finally we convinced the Avis guys that we were deserving of the rental, and that we would take a day off of our trip to drop the car back to them in Dover.

The lovely Port of Dover kiosk lady and her associate ‘bid us a fond adieu’, called us a cab and sent us on our way.

The cab driver was HILARIOUS. Cracking jokes with an accent so thick we could barely understand him (which was part of the amusement!).

Upon reaching our destination, he actually offered to lower our fare, we refused of course, and gave him a tip.

‘Much obliged, love”

How can you not love the British accent and associated mannerisms?! I was called everything from ‘sunshine’ to ‘beauty’ on the British leg of our tour.

Even my husband was complimented – and all in a friendly, non-sexual way. Mostly by elders, actually. Gotta love the saucy elder Brits!

We are much more tightly wound here in Canada – I haven’t been called ‘love’ or ‘darling’ in ages (only when I see my Grandpa, who happens to be of saucy descent).

We had decided to drive straight to Edinburgh, Scotland and finish our tour travelling counter clockwise to London, as we were flying back to Canada from there.

When we got to the Avis we quickly realized that our hosts ‘Steve and Dave’ (who asked to be referred to as ‘the gruesome twosome’ – ridiculous!) were not just helpful but also entirely hysterical.

Were these really the same two that 20 minutes earlier were trying to discourage us from renting a car at all?

“What are you doing here? Dover is a DUMP. You don’t want to bring the car back here, just leave it at the airport – we will waive the return fee for you.”

Huh?! It was indeed to be a day of unrivalled kindness, generosity and laughter.

And so you know, I don’t personally think Dover is a dump. It is a place filled with incredible history and some interesting architecture – not to mention a heap of gregarious self-effacing Brits. The castle looks pretty nice too.

Follow this trip by heading to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section. Enjoy many more photos of England by heading to the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


9 responses to “Traversing the UK

    • I think it is fascinating how entirely different States (& Provinces) can be from each other. I have made a few treks to America & each State is like it’s own country. I was doing a road trip tour of the U.S and broke down in Pinehurst Idaho… now THAT made me feel homesick!! 😛


        • Oh no – it made me homesick because it was NOT like home! It was a difficult experience with people that thought we were VERY strange…though it turned around, it initially was a very negative experience (I am sure I will be compelled to write about it at some point). & Yes, Canada =)


  1. We aren’t quite so tightly wound down here in the east of Canada but i know what you mean. When i get called “honey” or “dear” here, it seems patronizing and presumptious where in the UK it’s just part of the patter. I absolutely love the Brit way of speaking. Their adjectives and turns of phrase are so much more descriptive! I just got back from a trip to the UK so i shall follow your travels with interest!


    • I have heard that about the East, but I have yet to make it there! I haven’t been past Quebec, though I do plan to do a road trip all the way to the end. Far! Such a huge country we live in. I just love that area of the world, the Uk. I never tire of it – not yet anyway. Your experiences are interesting to read as well! Thank you =)


  2. I’ve been saving all your posts from this week for the weekend so I can enjoy a good read…and I wasn’t disappointed. Hiring a car can be a weird experience can’t it. We found that in France. Some people were lovely and very helpful and others were just plain rude, as if we were interrupting their day by expecting them to do their job.


    • Oh, thank you – that’s very kind of you :).

      Indeed France is the place I have so far had the largest variety of interpersonal experiences with locals. A wide range of interactions – including unpleasant. Interesting that you have had a similar ‘variety’ (I would expect we are not alone!)….


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