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After spending about 5 days in Berkshire, UK, khaosdog, another friend and me have returned to Germany safely yesterday. We were driving to and from England by car, which usually takes about 13 hours one-way, but we set a new record with only 11 1/2 hours yesterday, because we didn't encounter ANY traffic jam on our way, which is quite unusual. Also, we were able to catch the 2pm ferry although we were booked on the 4pm ferry - I'm glad the ferry service does not care much about when you cross the channel as long as they have free space left. I sure wish trains or airplanes would operate that way!
We picked up Exileden on the day after our arrival, who took a plane to Luton Airport. We then spent most of Friday visiting the Anglian Wolf Society (www.anglianwolf.com), which was really cool - I haven't been there in ages (7 years, to be precise) and it was good to see that they are still doing well. Back in 2003, only the two brothers Peyto and Cheza (European wolves, born in 2001) were living there - now they also have two females called Aiyana and Kaya (born in 2006 and both Chezas daughters), who are crosses between European and North American wolves. I could take a couple of photos although it was heavily overcast and soon pouring down with rain, which didn't stop until late in the evening.
On Saturday, all of us participated in the photographic day at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust. This was a lot of fun, and although the weather was still quite bad, we did get some sun every now and then. However, I only took about 1800 photos, which is very little considering we had a total of 7 hours dedicated to taking photos. This is what I usually take within 4 hours in a zoo if the wolves are really active. We were taking photos through the fence or through "photo holes" in a double-fence mainly, and I wasn't particularly lucky in choosing the right one We also got the chance to meet both Mai and Duma on wolf walks around the property and take photos without the fencing (but with the wolves on chains...). All in all, it was very pleasant - especially the staff was being wonderful and friendly. A lot of things have changed around and so I didn't know most of the people at the trust. Despite that it was great to be welcomed like this, and we had a lot of interesting conversations, especially with Andy and Alex.
We sorted out photos we've taken that day to give to the trust until we were finally too tired to carry on at 2am. The next morning, we finished the work and boiled the 1800 photos down to a little more than 20. After we gave the photos to Alex, we had the chance to join Mai and Duma on another wolf walk, which was really nice, because the weather was a lot better that day. I got about 300 more photos which I haven't had a chance to look at yet... I think I'll do that now.
In the evening, we met with bladebandit, Tauregil and ValkyrieSorrows at Paddington station in downtown London, and after spending half an hour in traffic in and around the city and missing our parking garage, we were 45 minutes late in the end... but the brave deviants were waiting on us out there in the cold, and although most of them had to leave again right when we arrived, Tauregil went to a hotel restaurant with us where we could chat some.
Exileden and Tauregil left together after that, and since we had paid 10 GBP for parking (we had the option to pay 5 GBP for one hour or 10 GBP for 23 hours...), the rest of us decided to take a stroll through the streets of London, making our way to Hyde Park - but since we didn't feel like walking through the pitch black park, so we returned and drove back to the hotel.
Even though large portions of our vacation was not unplanned (because everyone I know either was busy or on vacation themselves), it was a nice trip again We didn't manage to do a whole lot of sightseeing and stuff (like going to see Stonehenge and such) - but the weather really didn't give us the chance either. We missed the sun a lot - and especially if you are looking to take photos in the first place, the lack of light is really not helpful. But I guess this is what you get if you schedule a visit at this time of year *g*
During the next few days, I'll upload some of the photos I took. Hope you enjoy them
Some photos of our trip to England:
UK Wolf Conservation Trust
Anglian Wolf Society