Leaving England

Friday, 10-07-2015 — Sunday, 12-07-2015.

Day 324—Day 326.

Upon departing Glasgow, we pointed the car south and headed toward Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We'd heard from another traveling family about Game On 2.0, an exhibit at Newcastle's Life Science Centre all about video games.

Newcastle's Life Science Center

Newcastle's Life Science Center

Game On 2.0

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Upon arriving, we picked up a family pass for £31.50, which allowed us to play as many video games as we wanted for as long as we wanted, all for about $10 USD a person. Remembering how fast I'd burn through quarters in the arcades of my youth, that seemed like a pretty good deal.

The exhibit was pretty cool. It started with Pong (of course), showcased some early console games, and featured a whole mess of playable games from numerous platforms like Atari, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Xbox, and Nintendo 64. If you could think of a game, it's a good bet they had it on display. The only one I'd hoped to find was Time Pilot (one of my all time favorites), but it was not in the collection, sadly. But they did have a copy of Tempest (another old favorite) you could play on the Atari Jaguar (a console I'd never heard of). I also played way too much Defender, a game I was never good when I was a kid. Turns out I'm no good as an adult, either.

Collection of cabinet games at Game On 2.0

Collection of cabinet games at Game On 2.0

There were very few people at the exhibit, which allowed us to play pretty much anything we wanted without waiting. So, naturally, we spent a lot of time here, but even video games get boring eventually.

After we'd finished playing around, we hit the road to London. Traffic got pretty gridlocked for a good long wile, and once we were through there wasn't enough time for us to get all the way back to London at a reasonable hour. So we split the difference and spent an uneventful night in Leicester.

English Gridlock

English Gridlock

Our Last Night in London

Back in London, we once again enjoyed the hospitality of our friends Sam and Fran. They live near Heathrow, so they offered us to stay with them for the night. We definitely appreciated the convenience of not having to find a (probably expensive) hotel room near the airport, and it was good to spend a little more time with our friends before we left England. It was an enjoyable evening, except for one wrinkle ...

While the adults were enjoying conversation and making dinner, the kids had gone outside to play ... until Frankie came inside holding her wrist with a pained look on her face. She'd slipped on a skateboard and the likelihood of a broken wrist seemed high. So, on our last full day in England, we got to experience the National Health Service at St. Mary's NHS Treatment Centre. They took x-rays, but it was too early to determine if there was a fracture. So for the rest of the trip, Frankie had to keep her arm wrapped in a splint.

After that, the rest of the night was rather mild. The next day, our flight out of England didn't leave until later in the evening, so we had a leisurely morning taking care of a few last-minute things (like getting Persephone a good wash) before heading to Heathrow.

Our last day with Persephone

Our last day with Persephone

We had to return the car before we could head to the airport. We were a little concerned that no one was in the office when we arrived to drop the car off. We'd been waiting for some time and were starting to get worried about time—we still had to clear customs and immigration—when an employee showed up.

If you remember, I'd scraped up the side of the car in Italy while extracting her from a very tiny parking structure. I worried about it quite a bit during our European tour, but it turned out to be a non-issue, which was a big relief.

Handing the car over was hassle-free—the gent even gave us a ride to the airport. If you're going to be spending any length of time in Europe, look into Auto France's Open Europe Program. It worked really well for us.

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Once we went through the process of officially exiting England, we had enough time for one last English meal in the airport lounge before we took off for Iceland.

is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. He also drinks coffee.

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Leaving England
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