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Old 13th November 2009, 15:45   #121
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Thanks for the comment Laluks. Reading Ramkya's blog is unleashing the writer in me. I'm waiting for him to finish his travelogue (but the feeling is that hope it keeps going on and on as it is too good to end soon). I will definitely put some time in to penning my thoughts and my travelogue with the much acquired and respected English humour.
Looking forward to that one.

When you go back in memories, the lines you want to write gets reflected in your mind, and by the time you have penned the same - it would have flashed a 1000 times and refined.

Humour is the one I am looking forward. It makes the read enjoyable and readers crave for more. Happy writing MX6


@Ramky - waiting
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Old 13th November 2009, 17:29   #122
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Default Hawks Head And Ulveston, Lake District

22-10-2009: Another morning, Breakfast friend Bension said we must attack Hawks head first and if time permist drive down to Ulverston. tThat helped as our plans were fluid. Drove down to the petrol station, filled the Peaugeot full, took eats from the department store and were off at 0900 towards Hawks Head, was drizzling with a low cloud ceiling.

Same route for 30 kms on A591 to Grasmere, Amberslde till Windermere lake head, take a right turn skirting lake. The next 8 kms on B5286 through Pull Woods was one of the narrowest, I have driven in UK or elsewhere, was about 10 feet, some sectons hardly 8 feet with traffic both ways. Both sides have 6 fee tall walls of stones, it was driving through a narrow twisting tunnel with no allowance for mistakes, with oncoming traffic in blind curves, if you swerve, you'd loos lots of real-estate and money, was a tense stretch with some rain on. In one blind curve, there was this bus No.505, unwilling to move (he had a lay by only 100 mtrs down the road)
occupying the whole road, me and 3 other cars behind me had to back up 400 mtrs to find a lay-by to allow the sloth to pass by. Surprising, how they allowed a bus here!!!!!

Another popular way to reach here is to take the steamer from across the Windermere lake, also carries cars, ferry every 10 mts. We reach the Hawks head centre with lots of shops; popular trekking / mountain biking hub, ideal for stay to explore the nearby forests, lakes and woods also has a baby lake, Esthwaite Water. Has lots of literary connections; William Wordsworth with brother studied in the school here, wrote the famous Daffodis from near here. Beatrix Potter, creator of "The Takes of Peter Rabbit", lived at Hill Top for 17 years, wrote many of her children's stories from here, pained many pictures for the stories and created Mc Gregor, Tom Kitten, Samual Whiskers from here. At the exhibition centre at Hill Top, one can spend an hour, entrance 7P, see the momorabilia, the vistas around here are also beautiful.

1030AM: We drive up to Hill Top, park at Beatrix Potter's place, and walk to her exhibition centre, pretty crowded with Japanese tourist, a TV crew is making a feature film on Beatrix and the National Trust, sprinkleld with local tourists with children. We get a tour inside and take some pictures of the place and decided to take a walk to the view point up the hill to Lake Windermere, people say this is one of the best. Some shots around Hill top.......
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12Noon: Very cloudy still we decided for the one hour walk up the hills; to Crofts Head, the climb was steep and in about 3 kms we reach the top, about 1000 feet up. The clouds were in and out of the woods, we could only see glimpses of the lake and were disappointed as most the vistas were covered in mist and clouds. We got one flash of clear view to the Windermere Lake, another walked pointed to the direction where we could see Grisdale Forest. It was dripping, we did not dare to take out the camera, already the lens was throwing tantrums, sometimes refusing to move, the click button had come off, now it's plasted up, but functional!!! We enjoyed the hike, sat there for some time and climbed back to the park, at 2 PM, we had lunch with what we had brought, plenty of stuff in the car to eat.

0230PM: Day still young, choices galore, 2 clear cloices, Coniston Lake within 10 Kms or Ulveston for the Laural and Hardy Museum. We've had lunch and lakes to our gills for now, time to drive down and see the museum. Set the GPS for Ulveston. We trusted the gizmo implicitly, so far it has been True North. GPS told us to take roads I would never have taken, given a sane choice. Through crooked roads inside the Grizedale forest, scary and lonely sections which looked like it would lead to a dead end, no signs of vehicle traffic, light blanketed out, thick layer of fallen leaves making the road invisible, so sign of vehicular activity, right through small one horse village with houses touching the road, some places with 20mph limits, we were beggining to get worried, looked like we were inside a labyrinth, saw lot of logging activity. On a crook on the road, came up agains a giant tree cutting mobile machine, managed to back out and tuck into the courtyard of a house to let him pass. Disobeyed the GPS and took bigger roads, got lost again, re-calibrated the GPS. I doubt if any Indian would have touched these places; told my wife to note down some names; Satterthwaite, Rusland, Oxen Park, Bandrake Head & Bouth. Anyone?

At long lost at 0320 we landed into A590, came to the same seaside town of Greenodd but kept on till Ulveston. Once on the main toad, we were releaved, at 4 we were parked in the huge city parking area, slotted a pound into the parking machine, took out a receipt and decided to ask around for the Laural and Hardy Museum. Was told to park there and talke a 3 mt walk to at the Roxy Cinema on Brogden Street.
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We are great fans of Stan and Olly, have enjoyed films with our children and wanted to know the story of the two. When we went to The Roxy Cineme it was closed down and asked around, many confusing answers, everyone said its here in this building, hard luck its closed for reparis!!!!!! We try to take a walk around the street and look see, suddenlly my wife points to a small board on the road-side and we walk in to the basement and up the stairs. Take a 4P ticket and were happy we came all the way. Stan was born here in 1890, started in small parts in acts, toured England and landed in USA, film Lucky Dog with Hardy made hit and they kept on as a team till 1950. The museum had all kins of momoreblia, pictures from their films, household articles from their houses; had a corner with seats where they show the films on TV also. Sat and watched a couple of them, brought sweet nostalgia of the school/ college days. 5PM, we were ready to head back to base. Took a diiffernt route through Connistan, A590, again a narrow A5084 and A593 with lovely view of Coniston Lake on the right side, back to Ambelside and back to Keswick, fill full tank gas, pick up dinner and crash after watching news on the telly. The Odo said we've done 170 kms for the day.

Some shots of area around Coniston Lake countryside.....
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Lake District was the highlight of our tour; the vistas, scenes and greens etched in our brain. The host, Rodney was great and so was his place. Will we go to the places in Eurpe and UK again? Not sure, but Cumbria we're doing it again some time down the line. The places deserves a week to explore, 2 days is an insult to this place.

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 13th November 2009 at 17:35.
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Old 13th November 2009, 19:32   #123
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Ok here goes.

The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, to the east of the Forth Road Bridge, and 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of central Edinburgh. It is often called the Forth Rail Bridge or Forth Railway Bridge to distinguish it from the Forth Road Bridge.
The bridge is, even today, regarded as an engineering marvel. It is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) in length, and the double track is elevated 46 m (approx. 150 ft) above high tide. It was opened on 4th March 1890!
There is one bridge (for both raill and road) built by britishers on river Yamuna in Delhi which connects to East Delhi . It's behind Red Fort. No tourist takes interest in this bridge. There was a scene in movie "Dil Se" shot here when Shahrukh is running in the end of movie.

Anyways, there is one more tourist spot Deep Sea world near Forth Bridge. A must see.
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Old 13th November 2009, 20:01   #124
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Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
22-10-2009:


Lake District was the highlight of our tour; the vistas, scenes and greens etched in our brain. The host, Rodney was great and so was his place. Will we go to the places in Eurpe and UK again? Not sure, but Cumbria we're doing it again some time down the line. The places deserves a week to explore, 2 days is an insult to this place.

========
Ramkya,

Let me know when you plan to do Lake District again.
I will try to do both - the Scottish Highlands and the Lake District!

Cheers.
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Old 14th November 2009, 00:18   #125
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This is my 100th post in T-BHP! So I felt I should post something really out of the world.
Issigonis and Ramkya. Let's plan a trip sometime down the line. Not to leave out Yorkshire Dales.

Ramkya. You went very close to Yorkshire dales. Guess you moved down south from cumbria. Lake district is bewitching. But yorkshire dales ain't far behind. I went on a 24 km trek (did it in 5 hours) in Malham. My list of travelogues I need to come up is growing now.

Ok. Here's teh 100th post bonanza that I'm adding in your travelogue.

A Panorama of Yorkshire Dales
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Old 14th November 2009, 11:04   #126
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Arrow

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
This is my 100th post in T-BHP! So I felt I should post something really out of the world.
..........
Ramkya. You went very close to Yorkshire dales. Guess you moved down south from cumbria. Lake district is bewitching. But yorkshire dales ain't far behind. I went on a 24 km trek (did it in 5 hours) in Malham. My list of travelogues I need to come up is growing now.

Ok. Here's teh 100th post bonanza that I'm adding in your travelogue.

A Panorama of Yorkshire Dales
Congrats on the Ton!!!! Wish you many more.

That's a pretty green picture. Yes, I moved down through M6 and M5 all the way, given time, there was so much to see inbetweeb, but time?

My last few instalments would be up soon...... keep a lookout..
=
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Old 14th November 2009, 13:21   #127
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Default Stonehenge

24-10-2009: Weekends for Vinod and Swetha, they had personal work to attend to and left us free to follow our plans. First port of call was Bristol University where my wife had some work, it was a holiday, most gates were closed, but we found a lady inside, filled in a requisiton and got us all links and information we needed; rest can be done online.
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10 AM: Today 2 targets, The Baths and Stonehenge. Headed out through M32, exit 3 to A4 all the way to Baths, moderate traffic then heavy at Bath. Being weekwend, the whole place was flush with tourists, long queues everwhere and parking a pain, after 2 circlings, we decided to push on to Stonehinge and try our luck on the way back.

The huge traffic block at Baths round turn
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Ignored the GPS and turned into A363, a secondary road but beautiful country road with lighter traffic and great scenes. Towards Salisburry through Trowbridge, Westbury, turn left to A36 and touched Deptford junction, realized the GPS is on mute now and we have gone beyond the tunr off. Stopped at the petrol station opp to the Peaugeot show room, filled gas, air and picked up lunch from the departmental store there, plotted Stonehenge, tracked back and were on our way. On through green country sides devoid of any habitation on A345for almost 6 kms; just when we were wondering if this is the right road, we saw in the middle of a green wilderness the silhouettes of stone on the horizon and turned left towards it.

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12 Noon: The car park was full, most people from London which is 1 hour away. Took a 6.6P ticket, collected the audio guide and walked under into the monument. A UNESCO heritage monument, this is an icon of UK, dates back to 2500BC was a burial ground. Like the pyramids mystety one wonders how these 4 ton giant stones, 80 of them now standing were carried from 250 km away by humans, set in a 100 feet diameter circle, some of them standing upright with a beam on top. If you dig the net, you'd find lots of folklore and fact around these strange structure. Nobody seems to know exactly how or why these were made except that this was some kind of a burial ground.

We found this structure fascenating and all the hoop-la funny. This was fenced off, there was a samll TV crew, the commentator speaking in French to the camers, tourists in all sizes and shapes shooting with all kinds of camersa and some just watching the fun. It's amazing how much marketing has happened around this structure and how successful a campaign this has been when you see the crowds in low season, I shudder to imagine the situation in summer. Not to be outdone, we took our share of the photos, spent about 2 hours here, the sky was clear on a off but no rains thought it was cold around 7 degrees. Had soup & bread from the coffee shop there and sat on the benches watching the holidy human drama unfolding and left by 3 PM.

When we reached Baths, it was around 4, the approach after the 50pence toll gate was chock a block with traffic, parking places still full. We saw the Royal Crescent, Georgean style streets, its a UNESCO world heritage site now. The Baths itself is something like our own Rani-Ka-Vav, Adalaj Wells or other step wells, the concept is the same, except that The Baths is a much more commercialised version. We were not in the mood to mingle with the huge crows and decided to reach Bristol early and cool our heels, so it was early home, shower and went out to the local Indian Restaurant for a slow dinner. Tomorrow would be another important day for us, the symbolic southern end of UK, lands end, long long drive day of about 650 kms.
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 14th November 2009 at 13:30.
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Old 15th November 2009, 14:21   #128
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Default Almost End of Journey - Land's End.

25-10-2009: All of us are excited, Vinod has reached near Lands End earlier and somehow missed it earlier and for me and wife it was a must do, having touched the northern most end. We set off at 0930 AM, a little late (we realize later) and catch the M5 with, 110 km limit. Cross the landmark bridge, in 50 kms we're into open country, by-pass Taunton, Wellington, Cullomption and reach the end of the M4 around Exeter, 120 kms in 75 minutes, great 6 lane roads, the Peaugeot now audiable with the tacho above 3.5 with increased passengers and speed. Had spell of rain, but the roads were well laid, water drains off quickly; we crossed Bledon Hills, Blackdow Hills, all signposted beautifully.

Caught this rainbow from valley on the way......
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Take exit 31 and fill up gas, enter A30, for 200 kms, one of the most scenic drives on the southern side. A30 skirts Hilly Dartmoor forest, Launceston town, lonely Bodmin Moor, a place called Temple (lots of boards to this place but could not find out what Temple this is) from where you can feel the land narrowsing down, lots of windmills around here. You can see A30 in front and behind you, on one hill over another for miles and miles, ribboning across the green landscape, a great sight to see. Near Pensanc at Longrock on your left you can see the Mount's Bay in an arc from the top with castle and at Penzance A30 narrow down for 16 kms, twisting through till Lands End. We reached at 0130; stops in between to stretch, photograph and catch coffee and a late start had robbed time, our time at Land's end need to be used carefully, we hardly have 3 hours to spend here before light fades. We were truly blessed, the huge car park was 30% full, everywhere we went there were only scattering of tourists, we had the place all to ourselves, talk about luck!!!!

This is a symbolic point in UK Actually Lands End is the westernmost point of UK, distance of UK is measured from John O Groats to this place, 1349 kms (actually northern most pointof Dunnet's head). Many times methaphotically when people talk John O'Groats to Lands end, or end to end like we do for Kashmir to Kanyakumari or in the US coast to coast. In UK, there's a end to end association which keeps records done beetween these points and does an annual mela, of course there's 25P+ membership attached to it. At Lands's end, you have a lots of things to do for a whole day; as you enter the complex there's the exhibition Cyber Zone, the clothing / curio shops, the shopping village, the cafe (we had lunch here), the labyrinth, the
must photo site and famous finger post, palces where you can sit for hours watching the wave washed cliffs, light house, Wolf Rock, Isles of Sicily. If you have the gall and the guts you can trek through cliff hugging trails to nearest road-heads or spend time on a beach a trek away, lots and lots of options; reach by 10AM and leave by sunset, you'd remember it for a long long time.

What did we do? Went straigh for lunch, took lots of photos, walked the cliffs, sat on the edge and just looked out into the windy sea, ran into the cafe a couple of times to escape from the rain, forgot Vindod's lovely umberllas and hunted aorund frantically (miraculously, it was at a photo-spot, as we had left it, plain to see for everyone, untouched for almost 90 minutes), trying to save Vinod's rucksack from a burst Coke bottle and seeing the Labyrinth show. Great show that, story of the prosperous King Arthur's Lyonesse city that sank into the sea between Lands end and Sicily similar to our Poompuhar off Tanjore which was engulfed after a Tsunami. We did not know how time fled, it was 5 in a flash and we were reluctantly walking off to the car park. A great satisfaction having touched the northern most and western most points of UK.

0500 PM: Light was faiding, Vinod had an early day next day so I made a calculated decision to let go on the way back, with good roads, finding many of the cars on the right lane doing 90/100 on a 70MPH limit, I followed suit, kept the needle around 80mph, the tacho was crossing 4K now and the engine singing a strained note. With just a 25 minute fuel + coffee break at 7, we reached Bristol at 0915, great time indeed. Went again to an Indian restaurant, had a lovely dinner and crashed out at 10, we had done 680 kms that day, the longest one in UK.

The end of journey...... well almost, except for one more post.... till then.


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Last edited by ramkya1 : 15th November 2009 at 14:34.
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Old 15th November 2009, 16:23   #129
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Arrow The Tail End of the Epic.

26-10-2009: 0730 AM: Say good bye to Vinod and Swettha, early at 8.30 AM am, set off towards Croydon to another cousin's place, Vivek and Nivea, IT techies again. Its M4 all the way to Hammersmith, turn right and away from London, by about 1030 we were at his palce. Topped up petrol as per condition with Eruope car, circle around to find them, telephone help confused me by giving Postal code and not the geo-cordinates. Drop off was a breeze; simple sing off and that was that. Had to attend to some official business for the rest of the day........... had a great family re-union dinner that night.

27-11-0-2009: Up early 5 AM, caught a bus to Heathrew, public bus, 2P per person straight to terminal 1; bus has palce to put the luggage etc., much like Bangalore Volvo, but so economic as per UK standard. 11 AM, the flight back was regulation run to Doha, tiring , change over and back to Ahmedabad..... with memorieis for a life time.

Posting 2 picture of the routes........

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So...... come to the end of a long story. Simple details like buying food, washing /dryig /ironing of cloths, filling gas / air for the car and using the Motorways are trevia to those who travel outsidie regularly, for a first timer can be challenge, detailed informaton can be a life-saver.

Thanks to those who have travelled with me and for your encouragement. When I re-read some sections, realize there are lots of spelling mistakes (had to type fast, upload fast to get this online ASAP), please excuse those lapses. Wanted this to be detailed for those who would drive in UK and and for those who would do the tour in Europe, hope this helps.

Excel sheets with perspective of the tour:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?k...ER2lRWWc&hl=en

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Some tips for driving holidays abroad:
-- Forgive few errant drivers, extend a little grace, maybe it will comeback to you.
-- Be curteous and give respect to non-motorized traffic and pedestrians.
-- Be curteous in conversations;in Europe + UK, they use and expect, 'please' and 'thank you' to rediculous levels.
-- Stick to speed limits as far as possible, an allowance of 10 KMPH above limit is tolerated.
-- Buy a map book, study the route and understand the terrain.
-- Read the travalogues on the route.
-- Understand the things to do in a place, places of interest, mark out parking places.
-- After using your Credit card abroad, request for a change in number, card fraud is a big game now.
-- Take help line numbers of Credit card issuers.
-- Get geo-codinates to find destinations form your GPS, if not, get Pin codes.
-- Have telephone numbers of relativs/ friends abroad, I had to synchronize my drive with their schedules.
-- Carry layers of cloths if target area is cold, 2 thin T shirts are much better than a thick one.
-- Carry foldable umberllas, every 30 minutes, sometimes every 5 minutes, in UK weather changes. Carry a light waterproof jacket with you.
-- Carry wind /water-proof pullovers with hoods to cover head and ears.
-- Carry medicines, its impossible to get any abroad without prescription.
-- Take medical insurance for EVERYONE, medicare is VERY expensive there.
-- Carry TC's, spread the money in 2-3 places.
-- If through an Indian Travel Agency, take their Indian number. If things go wrong abroad (we had a problem early in, called the Indian Office and had no problem with the rest of the tour) the tour manager would say this is the best we can do, you need to complain to the guy who took your bookings so that he can try to rectify problem.
-- If in doubt, even at a high cost, buy water. Departmenteal stores are best and economic.
-- If hiring a car, take "0" liability insruance. Even a scratch or dent can set you back by 250 GBP / Euros.
-- Take all printouts of your bookings, relatives addresses; at immigration, they check all papers to see if you have confirmed bookings and also relatives credentials to see if you are genuine. I had to write down and give address of my cousins Vinod and Vivek, UK addresses at UK entry.
-- Plan your luggage carefully, leave some space for you to bring something back.
-- Buy small things that can go in-between the cloths etc. Buy no electronic goods, buy it here, Chinese etc., are 50% price there.
-- Buy a universal adapter, different in Europe and UK.
-- Take a multiplug, you'd have many items to charge, hotels would have only 1 plug point to spare.
-- Keep papssport in the inside pocket of your jacket, losing it would be the ultimate horror, end of tour for you.
-- Take membership in National Trust, UK, free entry to all its 300+ properties, free parking, annual cost for family of 4 about 60P, not much if you are plannig to spend one week in England with family, you'd cover it in 3-4 properties.
-- Buy tickets to London Eye, etc., from Mumbai, you can pay INR. No queue in UK and express entry, but non-refundable.
-- When you book B&B, ensure that internet breakfast, interenet access, TV and free access to an electric iron are available.
-- Find out if you have a launderette nearby & if you're traveling long with family, money changers, restaurants nearby, Tesco / departmental stores and if the B&B place would give you access to their microwave. If so you can buy deepfrozen food and heat it up. If you're driving, check if private parking is availble and if not, 24 hr parking ticket would be given free. Some of them also give pick up from railway / bus station and drop back. Carry all mail printouts with you.

If I have left anything important....... please add.

=======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 15th November 2009 at 16:38.
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Old 15th November 2009, 18:52   #130
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@ Ramki Sir: Been following your log fervently. Amazing is just the word. One thing that strikes me about UK is even though they have developed a lot, that has not affected the beauty of the place adversely. They have been able to strike a good balance between modernity and past.


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Ramkya,
thanks for a nice travelogue and some fabulous photographs. Really enjoying it.
I have a small query. Did you pick up an International driving permit from your local RTO here? If yes, did you have to do any extra paperwork in UK, or this permit was enough?
Thanks.
You don't need an International Permit to drive in UK. Your Indian Licence is good enough for the first 1 year from your entry if the Licence is in english.
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Old 15th November 2009, 20:01   #131
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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
@ Ramki Sir: Been following your log fervently. Amazing is just the word. One thing that strikes me about UK is even though they have developed a lot, that has not affected the beauty of the place adversely. They have been able to strike a good balance between modernity and past.

You don't need an International Permit to drive in UK. Your Indian Licence is good enough for the first 1 year from your entry if the Licence is in english.
I think population has a lot to do with it; we have 3 problems, illiteracy, poverty and populaton, all inter-connected.

Surprising.. Avis, Hertz and Europe cars, all of them wanted me to carry International Permit, took for my wife too, based on their mails!!!!! After seeing their mails, I didn't dig deep or read the fine print.

========

Last edited by ramkya1 : 15th November 2009 at 20:03.
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Old 15th November 2009, 20:20   #132
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Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post

Surprising.. Avis, Hertz and Europe cars, all of them wanted me to carry International Permit, took for my wife too, based on their mails!!!!! After seeing their mails, I didn't dig deep or read the fine print.

========
When I first landed in UK, had hired a car from Avis on a weekly rental and they had accepted my Indian licence. No IDP. ThenI got myself a car and the Insurance was bought on the Indian License ( it costed more than the car). I was stopped and fined in the first week itself (not for over speeding though at that particular time) wherein I produced my Indian Licence and it was perfectly valid. Even my long term monthly rentals from Enterprise used to accept my Indian Licence.
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Old 15th November 2009, 20:24   #133
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When I first landed in UK, had hired a car from Avis on a weekly rental and they had accepted my Indian licence. No IDP..............(not for over speeding though at that particular time) wherein I produced my Indian Licence and it was perfectly valid. Even my long term monthly rentals from Enterprise used to accept my Indian Licence.

Have they changed the rules recently, beteween the time you left and now?? I'll dig a little deep and find out. Thanks for the pointer.
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Old 15th November 2009, 21:03   #134
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In the movie "Day of the Jackal", there is a panning shot of this square as the Jackal surveys it. There is an Indian woman in a sari in that shot. Dont know why it suddenly remembered itself to me
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Old 15th November 2009, 21:59   #135
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Ramky,

This is one helluva info in one thread. I can almost feel I am there. And your writing is as superb as your pics. You have me as your big fan. And definately a five star rating for thread from my as a token of appreciation.

Keep the details flowing!
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