Visiting the Ruins of Dzibilchaltún

Today was the first day since I got here in May that I was caught up on my chores, my sleep, my work, and my financial goals and I really wanted to do something special. The obvious choice was to visit some more Mayan ruins. Thankfully, there are some only 30 minutes away!

Interestingly, my hamlet in SK is best known for being home to one of two sites in North America with petroglyphs on a horizontal surface. You could call that the “place where there is writing on the stones.” Well, Dzibilchaltún, the name of the Mayan city nearest where I’ve chosen to put down my first Mexican roots means… the “place where there is writing on the stones.” What a coincidence.

Dzibilchaltún is ridiculously accessible, just 5KM from the Progreso/Mérida highway on good roads.

Access to the site is quite pricy — $25 for parking + $142 for admisssion. Mexicans and permanent residents get free access on Sundays. There is no incentive for folks from the area who are temporary residents or who come down every winter. That’s rather a shame because it makes it less likely that I would want to come back here with guests. It would be nice to be able to buy a yearly membership or to get a break on admission for future visits as it’s such a lovely place to get out of the city.

From the parking lot, you take a meandering path in the forest to get to the ticket booth.

There was quite a bit of signage throughout the site in Spanish, Maya, and English. So any info I share is from there since I opted not to take a $350 (or 25USD…) guided tour. I learned a lot at Uxmal, but did not get much time to wander around. Today, I just wanted to enjoy being outside and poke through ruins at my own pace rather than hear a lot of information.

Dzibilchatún, with its proximity to the northern coast of Yucatán had both a marine and agricultural economy. The site was occupied from about 300 B.C. and was populated until the Spanish Conquest. It peaked from 600 to 900 A.D, with a population of 20,000. It was about 9KM square and had a concentric layout. The central part of the settlement had grand plazas connected by roadways in an area of 3KM square. It was in the central part that lived the administrative and religious elite. The population lived around the core. It was this population that contributed to change the concept of “ceremonial centre” to one of “urban centre.”

Here’s a map of the site:


Like at Uxmal, there are two separate fees to pay to enter the site. Here, I was able to pay the whole thing at one window and then collect my ticket at the second window. After that is a booth where you can hire guides and beyond that is a covered market area (very disappointing) and clean bathrooms.

Behind the entrance area, you can access the “archaeological zone.” To the right are the ruins I explore below as well as the cenote, which, unfortunately, was closed today. To the left is another ruin we’ll get to in a bit.

This is the area of the grand plaza. It covers about 12,240 metres and would have had a stucco floor (!). It was surrounded by buildings with stairs leading to the plaza. Most of the surviving buildings date to the early Middle Ages, 600 to 1,000 A.D., but a couple date to 1000 to 1200 A.D.

The cenote is a popular local swimming spot, but it seemed a bit uninviting to me.

Can you spot the giant iguana?

On this site are the ruins of a 16th century chapel. As a reminder, that’s the time of the Renaissance. You don’t need to go to Europe to visit old buildings!

These are part of the ruins of a 17th century ranch.

I must have been a mountain goat in a past life. Up I went!

I’m starting to think about getting myself a selfie stick. Not. 🙂

The wooden lintels make me suspect that these structures were also part of the ranch.

Back of the chapel.

There were way too many people to climb the pyramid, so I decided to head to the other part of the site.

It was only about 10:30 and while the sun had been unrelenting since I’d gotten up at 8:00, there was a wonderfully cool breeze running through the site, making it very comfortable. I walked on a 20 metre wide road called a “sacbe.” It begins at the east of the central square and connects 400 metres later with the building called the “Seven Dolls.” The road was mainly in use from 600 to 100 A.D. There are 11 of these roads in Dzibilchaltún, all beginning in the centre and going to peripheral structures, giving the site its urban character. The inner roads have been interpreted as evidence of ties between families.

I took a short detour into the woods to see what’s left of the housing complex, a cluster of buildings in an area of about 4,000 square meters. The dwellings had different heights, speaking to different social status. The inhabitants were buried beneath the floors of the platforms. There really wasn’t much to see, but I enjoyed the shady trail.

Back at the main road, I came across Structure 12, a quadrangular platform with access points on all four sides. Upon it is a monolith, which would have been decorated with stucco and functioned as one of the 20 stelle on the site.

In front of the Seven Dolls are three adjoining rooms aligned with a double open hall. To the south is another double room and to the east a single room. They were inhabited circa 800 A.D. Beneath their floor were offerings of shells, fishbones, stingray tails, small objects made out of green stones, grey obsidian, and other marine materials.

The Seven Dolls building owes its name to an offering of seven coarsely made dolls found inside. It is a one-story quadrangular building with a central chamber surrounded by a corridor. The roof was tower-like and it projected itself upwards from the vaulting. It had four access points and a window to the side of each entrance facing east and west, giving it the characteristics of an astronomical observatory. It was constructed on a pyramidal pedestal, with sloping corners, with sets of steps on all four sides. The frieze of the building was decorated with eight stuccoed masks upon a base of carved stone, two intertwined serpents and glyphs, and beads, feathers, and sea creatures in modelled stucco. Towards 800 A.D., it was filled with stones and covered by another, larger, building, whose remains still partially cover it.

I then headed back towards the entrance to find the museum, when another stone structure caught my eye. I quickly realised from its roof that it was a tad more modern! 🙂


The museum is in two buildings, is small, and is really informational. The Grand Museo del Mundo Maya is really a must, but this little museum does a great job of giving the folks who are coming to Dzibilchatún as a day trip from the cruise ships a primer on the Mayans.

The museum starts by situating the Maya in their geographical context, explaining that there are very distinct ecosystems in their world. Where I am, in northern Yucatán, is more desertic and flat, but you get into mountains and rainforests as you move south towards Honduras.

The serpent is a very important part of their mythology.

This is a hoop from a ballgame that I learned today was usually a prelude to human sacrifice.

Map of Mayan settlements in Yucatán. I still can’t believe that I was taught in school that there is no history in North America before the Europeans came.

There are a lot of parallels between the Maya and the Egyptians, such as the fact that they wrote in hieroglyphs set in cartouches. The Dresden Codex is the Maya equivalent of the Rosetta Stone that decoded Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Pretty purple flowers by the entrance to the second half.

While the first half was about the Maya in general, the second half was more about Dzibilchatún and also the Spanish Conquest.

Here are the Seven Dolls!

I’m not going to retype all of the information I got in the museum, but here is something of particular interest. “Scarcely five metres above sea level, very close to the coast, located on the difficult, calcareous and porous soil of north Yucatán, Dzibilchaltún is an example of a successful Maya urban dwelling. It was a challenge to life. Without rivers to justify the decision to build, its inhabitants obtained water from more than a hundred wells and some neighbouring sinkholes. The largest of the later, the cenote of Xlacah in the very centre of the city, quenched thirst of rulers, priests, merchants, and pilgrims.”

The section about the conquest was very well done, showing how the Maya evolved and yet kept old traditions and knowledge alive.

The Maya were expert stone craftsmen and their “artistic ability was demanded as tribute,” to build churches, mansions, streets, and aqueducts of Spanish towns.

I’m trying to remember where else I saw this system of currency, where employees of a hacienda were paid with tokens that could only be used at that hacienda’s store.

A bale of henequen, which is an agave (yes, the same stuff used to make tequila).

Very old map of Mérida.

There was an ecological path outside of the museum… that was closed. 🙁

There were a couple of dwellings to check out.

There’s an impressive meeting area with a woven roof.

And a lovely covered walkway back to the main entrance.

I spent about two full hours at Dzibilchaltún, which was plenty for me. I learned a lot about the geography of Yucatán, more about the Maya, got to explore some ruins, spent some time outside, and got scratches and bruises from my adventure. I’d call my morning seized. 🙂

It was still breakfast hour at this point (just before noon), so I had no trouble finding myself some tacos for lunch.

Al pastor tacos in Yucatán are very different than in Sinaloa. I haven’t decided yet if I like them as much or if I need to find a new favourite taco. But these were really good. I couldn’t believe I got all this (which has a very generous portion of Tex-Mex style guacamole under the totopos!) and a real strawberry agua fresca for only $79.

Since I was practically in Mérida, I did a quick blip over to Costco. I was amused to find actual Korean people (there is a sizeable Korean community in Mérida) debating the possible merits of the very kimchi dumplings I was coming to pick up. They put them back…

I got in around 2:00 and by the time I’d played with Puppy and had a swim, it was time for a long chat with a friend by phone, then dinner. It’s now almost 9:00. I forgot how long these posts take to write! At any rate, I hope you enjoyed my morning at Dzibilchatún as much as I did!

Lunch at Café Stash and a Play at the Centaur Theatre

Thank you to everyone who checked in to ask if I’m still alive. Work has been a tad… busy. But I decided to take today off so as to accept my cousin Lee’s invitation to join her for a play this afternoon. She’s the cousin who visited me in Maz my first winter there. She has a season’s pass to the Centaur Theatre and with that, she gets one complimentary guest pass for any show. Aren’t I lucky that she invited me?! The Centaur Theatre is an icon on English Montreal and the premiere English theatre in the province. I hadn’t been in about 20 years, but used to go often when I lived in the area.

To my surprise, there are hourly buses to Montreal from Chambly on Sundays. I was  meeting Lee and a friend at noon for lunch and had a choice to leave at 10:05 and arrive around 10:40 or leave at 11:05 and arrive around 11:40. I picked the first option so I’d have a leisurely stroll from the bus station to the restaurant (about 20 minutes) and then be able to walk around the neighbourhood.

On the way, I saw that construction is underway for the replacement to the Champlain Bridge. I cannot believe that the bridge is already obsolete when we were paying tolls until 1990 to use it.

Approaching the terminal at 1000 de la Gauchetière, the building I think looks like a carpenter’s pencil.

Doesn’t it?

From there, I headed down Mansfield towards Old Montreal, parts of which look a lot like Europe. There are buildings dating back to the late 1600s!

I found my lunch destination, Café Stash, without any difficulty. I was a full hour early, so I made a note of the location and then continued down rue St. Paul Ouest to a café.

I settled myself with a cup of coffee and one of the trashiest newspapers in the city, Le journal de Montréal. There was an interesting article about Cuba courting Quebecers for medical tourism. Healthcare here is so bad, with terrible wait times and many people not having a family doctor (I was something like 157,000th in line for a family doctor in Quebec the last time I tried to get one, circa 2004). I’ve been looking at basic (emergency) health coverage in Mexico and while most Canadians find it inadequate, Quebecers generally praise it.

A bit of good news is the the drought crisis in California is officially over.

I lingered at the café a full 30 minutes and then went out to enjoy the first sunshine I’ve seen in about a week.

This is the Pointe-à-Callière archeology museum. Last time I visited was way back in 2010.

A very European-looking alleyway.

I loved the contrast of new and old here.

Isn’t this a pretty building?

I finally met up with Lee and her friend at Café Stash. She and I were famished and went with the “table d’hôte,” which is a set menu for a fixed price. I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures, Vicki, but here’s what I had:

-barszcz (beet consommé, which was unbelievably deliciously. Nothing at all like the thick Russian borscht I was expecting);

-two kielbasa sausages (served with Dijon mustard) with boiled potatoes (that I doctored with sour cream) and sauerkraut;

-coffee

-apple crumble.

Lee had their sampler meal with a bunch of different things and graciously passed over one of her precious pierogis for me to try. She went with the peach crumble for dessert. By the way, she considers Stash her favourite restaurant!

Her friend had two cabbage rolls with beet salad (cold) and boiled potatoes and said his food was excellent.

My menu was priced at $25, but, of course, you have to add 30-35% to prices when eating out in Quebec (15% for taxes and a 15% to 20% tip) so my total was $33, which I found to be really good value!

We then had a very short walk to the Centaur Theatre. It really hadn’t changed since the last time I was there.

The play we saw was “Clybourne Park,” which is both a prequel and sequel to “A Raisin in the Sun.” It is a tale of race relations, gentrification, and how the more time progresses, the less things change. It was funny, shocking, and sad. I’m actually surprised by how much I loved it, considering I knew nothing about the source material. Most surprising, I came out of it even more certain of the kind of expat I do not want to be when I settle in Mexico.

The play finished around 4:15, so I didn’t have time to make the 4:35 bus home. With the next one being at 5:35, I decided to accompany Lee and her friend to a nearby Tim Horton’s by a métro.

There, I picked up a wonderful Earl Grey tea to go since Lee and her friend decided to walk with me to Place Bonaventure since her friend was catching a bus from there as well and Lee could take the métro. By the time we arrived and said our goodbyes, I only had about 20 minutes left to wait for the bus and there was free wifi.

I took the above photos with the camera on my new-to-me iPhone 6, which I was able to get since I got a free flight home to SK with my travel reward points and therefore had some space in my budget. I cannot believe how much of an upgrade this already obsolete phone is! I was out all day with it and didn’t even lose 50% of my battery capacity. It is very responsive and has some nice features like iTouch (signing in with just a fingerprint), a bigger screen than my 5C, and Apple Pay. I’m super happy with it and glad that I’ll have a reliable phone for my upcoming insane journey across two of the biggest countries in the world.

So it was a great day in downtown Montreal. My time here is winding down, but I have a full week left. The way things have been going, it’s going to be pretty much nose to the grindstone the rest of my time here!

English Sun Is Particularly Lovely

Today was so lovely! It felt like a proper late spring day. Landing in snow and freezing weather on Wednesday afternoon is going to be shocking!

Since the weather was so suitable for exterior line drying, my wonderful host suggested I throw some of my laundry in with hers today. How thoughtful! This way, I won’t land in Montreal desperate to put a load on. Let me tell you, I’m more than a little tired of wearing the same clothes every day…

I had so much work to do ahead of my time off, but I couldn’t spend all of today indoors. I powered through a a large file due at 3PM and was able to head out just before 2PM for lunch and a walk around Hove before going back to work. Tomorrow, my last day (!), is going to be a proper exploration one, but I am going to  fit in a couple final hours of work.

But at any rate, a two-hour lunch break today was definitely in order. I was quite famished since I was well past my lunch hour. So when the second restaurant I passed after the train station had a £5 burger special for takeaway, I was set. I figured based on their menu that this would be a high quality, healthyish, burger and I was right. It was very plain, but was a nice juicy piece of 100% beef and it had lots of veggies on it. I wish I’d thought to ask for some sauce on it, but it was pretty good on its own and wasn’t too heavy of a lunch.

I then decided to wander down a main thoroughfare and then head down to the water to come back the way I came by a different route.

I passed a really pretty church made of flint, just like the Lewes castle.

That’s a florist set up in front of it.

This pub had a striking façade. The sign at the top says “The Wick Inn — rebuilt in 1873.”

Just as I was thinking of turning back, I discovered a gelato shop! I sure wasn’t going to turn down a chance to eat an ice cream by the beach on such a warm and sunny day! They had so many flavours, but the hard to find chocolate-orange was an obvious choice.

I headed towards the water in front of the rows of beautiful houses. Turns out they all have ground floor flats, most of which have beautifully tiled courtyards. The flats must be rather dark on an average day, though.

There are so many beautiful churches in Hove. Here’s another one I passed very near to home.

And here’s a map of my walk. I didn’t realise I’d covered so much ground. 3.9mi is just over 6KM!

I came in and got right back to work, stopping around 6:30 to heat up the other curry I bought yesterday. It was another fantastic one. Oh, Tesco, I will really miss you. I then put in another 1.5 hours of work before having a shower and watching on the ITV website the last episode of Broadchurch I’ll have easy access to.

Now, it’s time to do a little research about what I’ve bought tickets to see tomorrow! 🙂

A Self-Guided Tour of the Pocket Parks of Shrewsbury

I don’t know if it’s because my time here has come to an end, but getting up this morning was just about impossible. I am absolutely exhausted and looking forward to a very long lie-in my first morning in Brighton. It’s a good thing my last day in Shrewsbury was sunny, otherwise I would have been tempted to not do my final walking tour and instead just spend the afternoon on the couch cuddling Puppy while watching movies!

But it was a beautiful day, so I set off late morning to do the Pocket Parks of Shrewsbury walking tour. We’ve been to most of these stops before and this is the first tour where I wish I’d followed my instincts and done it in my own order since I ended up walking all over town, sometimes for almost nothing, and having to backtrack to get home. The exercise was good, of course, but things were getting rather repetitive. Still, there were a few stops on this tour that were unique and I caught new things even at places where I’ve been.

Here’s a map of the tour (click to embiggen).

“There are several small green havens of peace in Shrewsbury town centre, quiet places to sit, rest, or have a sandwich. … Most are tended by the Town Council gardeners who call them pocket parks.”

So the tour starts at St Alkmund’s Churchyard, where we’ve been countless times. I made it a point to walk around and catch different perspectives.

“St Alkmund’s Church stands on the flattened top of one of the two hills within the river loop, looking as if perched on a pedestal. A Saxon church was once on the site, but the current building dates from the 1790s, except for the tower, which is late 15th century. From Saxon times until 1261, the King’s Market was held here in the space around and between this church and its neighbour, St. Julian’s.”

Note “the unusual 18th century cast iron windows…”

I loved the pretty turquoise front door.

The pub is called The Three Fishes.

Notice a discrepancy between the church and street signs?

Both spellings appear to be used interchangeably.

From St Alkmund’s, I moved to St Julian’s Detached Churchyard, which I was curious about and would be a favourite spot for me to sneak to on a lunch break if I worked in the area.

“This was founded in the early 1800s when John Oakley, a local grocer, sold part of his garden to St Julian’s Church as an extra burial ground. There was a great shortage of burial space in town centre graveyards at this time. He and his wife were buried here; the last burial, in 1881, was of his daughter at age 81. A century later, the Town Council took over the care of this graveyard and it has become a quiet secluded pocket park minutes from the bustle of Wyle Cop. The tombstones seem to form a paved area…”

I occasionally see signs like these in England, making it easier to navigate towns with no street pattern.

Next stop was Old St Chad’s Churchyard, where I spent so much time on the tour of the Shuts that I did not go back in as I did not learn anything new.

The leaflet did make me notice this building across from the chapel. This house “illustrates a fashion that was common in the town in the 18th century. At this time, houses were sometimes modernised by brick skins and plaster to cover the ‘old-fashioned’ Tudor timberwork.”

It was then quite a long stroll to my next destination, about a block from the abbey. On the way there, I discovered that the route to my next destination was blocked.

The reason why became apparent very quickly. I didn’t realise it had rained so much in the last few days!

The tow path is fully immersed.

I crossed English Bridge and immediately turned left into the Abbey Gardens.

“These once belonged to the builder John Carline. He and his business partner John Tilley were responsible for building the Welsh Bridge. Carline and his family had a house at the side of the plot away from the river. In his riverside yard, he kept materials, pieces of fallen masonry, and his models of the lions for the base of Lord Hill’s Column; they are still here. At one time, this park was also known as Mr Palin’s Pleasure Gardens; residents came here to walk and admire abandoned pieces of sculpture, which were on display. Many of them are still here. The park is now known for its rhododendrons and azaleas in the spring. From this park, there are excellent views of the 18th century English Bridge, the river itself with its old towing path, and above it a silhouette of the town centre, including the old Royal Salop Infirmary, founded in the 18th century and now converted into flats and shops.”

I love that detailing on the stone columns. Can you see how twisted they are?

I couldn’t get over how lush and bright green everything was!

Daffodils!

A crocus, in early March!

A large part of the garden was under water!

I had to make my own way to my next stop, easily done as I now know my way around the downtown core. I followed the route along the water on the medieval tour, so I didn’t miss anything.

I thought this building had a rather lovely curve.

I was feeling peckish and decided to get a snack to tide me over to lunch. Café on the Cop looked inviting and had a cream tea for just £4 (for which you could have tea or a pot of coffee!). That was exactly what I wanted. I came in and took a seat and was immediately taken in by the unusual slate place mats.

The very sweet proprietor came over right away for my order. I decided on tea rather than coffee as the latter just didn’t feel right with this snack.  I was not offered a choice for the type of tea and whatever it was that came was very lovely. But now, check out my scone!

It was huge! It was equivalent to two scones anywhere else I’ve had a cream team. Needless to say, this became an early lunch! The preserves weren’t the best I’ve had (a jelly rather than a jam), but the scone was the best ever and the clotted cream hit the spot. I did not have the butter. This was definitely my favourite cream tea of the four I’ve enjoyed since discovering this treat at the British Museum.

My next stop was the castle! En route, I got very close to the yellow house we saw on the Tudor tour.

I got a good view of the library across the way.

What an impressive flower arrangement! Can you see the Union Jack?

The castle is now the Regimental Museum, for which you have to pay. But it’s free to walk around the grounds.

“This pocket park is part of the Norman castle built in the narrow neck of the meander by Roger of Montgomery, a relative of William the Conqueror.”  The castle was once connected to the town walls by a sandstone wall.

“Edward I added to the castle, building the great hall in the 1280s, when it was a link in the chain of castles guarding the Welsh border. … In the 18th century, the castle was remodelled by Thomas Telford for Sir William Pulteney, the wealthy owner. He also built, on the old motte, a summerhouse-folly named after Laura, Sir William’s daughter.”

That was my next stop, Laura’s Tower. Up I went!

I love how that stone has been worn from so many centuries of folks treading on it.

Laura’s Tower.

Unfortunately, you can’t go in, but you do get an incredible view of Shrewsbury.

The abbey.

I headed back down to walk the grounds a little.

More daffodils!

The next stop was the library garden and I wasn’t going to bother since there was no new information, but then I saw an interesting tidbit. So off I went to look at the turnable, “which was installed in 1983 to rotate library vans.”

I did pop into the garden to admire the flowers that were blooming. The garden was “planted to give all-year-round foliage colour with minimum maintenance.”

It was another long way to my next park, which we’d been to on my first day out and about in town. Spoiler: both were closed. 🙁 I would have been better off coming straight to the last one from the Abbey Gardens and finishing at the castle. But anyway… I love this shot of Castle Street. It just looks so… old!

Shrewsbury bus station.

St Chad Church in the background.

Welsh Bridge.

I came to find a locked gate the Quantum/Mardol Quay Garden. But I could at least see things from the street.

“This pocket park is located on the site of the Mardol Quay, built in 1607. Some of the original cobbles can be seen and here river boats loaded and unloaded — old accounts show that ‘for every barge load of wood or coal 12d; for a ton of other goods — from a burgess 2d and from a foreigner 4d.” Later, the warehouses were converted into a car repair shop, which eventually was cleared for road widening in 1958/60. A public garden was established on the riverside, which was redesigned in 2009 for the bicentenary of the birth, in Shrewsbury, of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the The Origin of Species.”

Remember this odd thing?

“A sculpture, designed by Pearce and Lal and called Quantum Leap, has been likened to a shell, human vertebrae, DNA, and many other things and is locally known as The Slinky because of its similarity to the coiled-wire toy. The garden celebrates Shropshire’s geological history….”

I passed the Rowley House yet again on my way to my last stop, capturing it from a new angle.

Narrow driveway entrance.

Getting closer!

St Chad’s Church “with its adjoining graveyard was built in 1792 to replace the one that fell down. From the churchyard, you can see the unusual circular shape of the church, the largest of its kind in England. In the middle of the 19th century, as a result of the crowded and very unsanitary conditions in town centre graveyards, a Burial Act was passed closing urban burial grounds. As a result, in 1856, the General Cemetery was opened on the outskirts of the town with cooperation from all six parishes. The churchyard is now maintained, as a semi-natural woodland. In the centre, look for Scrooge’s gravestone, placed here for the filming of Dickens’ Christmas Carol in 1984.”

Well, the churchyard was closed. 🙁 A very kind worker came over and said to me, “Sorry, lovie, they’re doing works inside.” Lovie? I love British endearments!

So this is all I saw of the churchyard.

The church itself is large and impressive.

Its vicar is well-named.

Main entrance.

Across the street, balustrade paid for by the Horticultural Society.

Across the street is the unassuming final stop, The Dingle.

I really love this church!

Another vantage point of the hospital.

I headed home after, going all the way back up Pride Hill and down Castle Gates, which I’d done twice before already today. In desperate need of a haircut, I popped into a salon with a sign that said walk-ins welcome. I found that £15 was very expensive for the little work they had to do (I just shear the hair very short), but needs must and I felt much lighter when I got out.

I took the route by the train station to go home from there and it was after I did the turn at Morrison’s Lubricants that I noticed this door for the first time. Very curious.

Well, thus ends my lovely stay in Shrewsbury! I adored this town! Hebden Bridge was cute, not somewhere I would have wanted to be for long. I could certainly see myself in Shrewsbury.

The puppy sitting was restrictive, but it was a blessing in a way in that it forced me to stick close and really get to know the centre of town. There is so much of Shrewsbury that I did not see as I did not venture much on the other side of the river, but I definitely covered the touristy part of town and then some!

I’d consider the puppy minding part of the exercise a success. I know I did a very good job of it and I’m very proud that. It was very challenging, exhausting, and sometimes tedious, but it was also immeasurably rewarding and I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much with such joy on a daily basis.

So I’m heading out tomorrow at about 1PM and as long as I make my super tight connections (not counting on it), I’ll be in Brighton by 6PM. If I do make my connections, I’ll be pulling out of London Bridge in exactly 24 hours and 10 minutes for the final leg of my journey across this country.

My route ahead isn’t nearly this directly, but is well represented here.