Last but finally not least, our trip report of the UK including our final day in London.
Is it me or does everyone in the UK think that a five hour driving trip is a long way? I mentioned to several people in Scotland that we were planning to drive from Peebles in the borders of Scotland and end up in Stratford upon Avon. Everyone always looks shocked when mentioning a long car drive.
On our way out of Peebles we saw parts that we hadn't seen because we were too busy in Edinburgh to enjoy the town of Peebles. Sorry, it's really rather a nice place.
The first hour we were driving on back remote roads of southern Scotland with some beautiful scenery. Well worth a drive; however, I can't imagine living way out there in the boonies. I'm a city boy.
So we reached the M and started heading south.
Hey where is the sign that says you are entering England? I expected a great huge sign indicating our arrival by auto into this part of the country.
That M6 is a pretty easy going road to whip along. We stopped for a pee break and I have to say I'm impressed with the service stops in England. I like how they cross over the highway so that either side of the road can use the facilities.
We arrived in Stratford upon Avon after 5 hours of driving. Plenty of time to walk around and see the touristy things. It was pretty darn hot on this day. We parked over by what I think is the hospital and then walked to Shakespeares birthplace.
I have been before; however, I have not seen the new exhibit prior to entering the home. We were all really impressed.
Word of Warning!!!!
I should have known this would be the case but there were several different school or teen travel groups going through at the same time that we were. Teens in a group have to be the loudest creatures alive. There was a group from Italy and they didn't seem to know a lick of English nor were they even interested in where they were. It ticked me senseless that they didn't have proper chaperoning. [this is where the FSM's of the world come in handy] Anyway there are some lovely ladies that obviously are interested in the history and provided us with great information.
Upon exiting the birthplace there was a troop of some kind of dancers. They were all men all in white dancing in a circle and around each other with groups of bells attached to their knees. A fellow in a black jacket and hat entertains the crowds and the does something with this troop of dancers. Maybe this dance has something to do with this area of England. If anyone knows please let me know what they are.
So we walked over to the Grammar school, Nashes home, Croft house and the church where Will is buried.
Our B&B was only one block away from the Avon. So we walked over the footbridge and watched the swans and Canadian Geese. Oh and the second night we ate a the Thai Boathouse Restaurant. It's excellent food and they were super nice to us.
The next day we headed over to Anne Hathaway's cottage and went over and looked at Mary Ardens house.
Something neat about the car radios!
I don't know if it was just something interestingly unique about our Volvo land yacht but every so often the radio cuts out to traffic reports.
Should have rented a Jane ~> BUT the Hertz rental lady from Hell did not offer us any such things. I had printed off some local maps from the Internet prior to going, but they weren't always helpful or the ink wasn't always dark enough where we needed it to be.
So now I can proudly pronunciate the word Worcester. Now you Brits are probably laughing your faces off at that one, but some of your ways of saying things are just down right difficult. The second morning of our B&B in Stratford the hostess was asking where we were headed next. I told her Norfolk [like as in Nor Folk]. She corrected me with a happy chuckle. I gladly gave a go at trying to pronunciate it and it came out a hugely loud Nor F*ck. My hand went flying to my face in embarrassment. She bailed me out by telling me not to worry about it.
Oh and you're probably wondering what we were doing in Herefordshire. Well my ancestors came from some small places called, Hope under Dinmore, Lucton, Yarpole and Eyton. The countryside is amazingly wonderful except I was not prepared for the gigantuous yew bushes tunneling down extremely narrow one land roads. At one point I met up with a tractor towing a trailer and I had to back quite a bit back to a place where I could squeeze the land yacht up a tiny slope and let the kind farmer dude pass. My family will tell you how frustrated I was with driving down these roads and probably recall all the colourful words.
Disappointed I am sometimes to see the shape in which graveyards are left in. Some were very over grown and many were missing their oldest stones. But most of the churches are left open. Remarkable architecture these old structures have and worth visiting.
Oh and we saw a Cadbury factory back in there which made my lips quiver for some chocolate.
No we didn't go to Warwick Castle and I wish we had more time to travel throughout the Cotswolds.
Then we headed out toward Norfolk. Our intention was to stop at Sandringham, but we got there and the place was closed for a week with some garden show going on the next day. My wife wanted to ask a lady in the gift shop if there was a place that we could at least see Sandringham from the road. This lady must have been a cousin to the Hertz lady from Hell because she gave a disinterested answer to my wife. [No one treats my wife with disinterest, I wanted to slap that lady silly.] It was so stiflingly hot. Then we tried without success to find the lavender fields so I decided that we needed to drive toward where my wife's ancestors came from.
Norfolk has some very interesting work done on their older homes. It's like field stones are embedded into the facades of the homes with reddish brick as frames. A lot of the churches seem to be done in what we think is Abyssinian rock. You can find this rock along the beaches as well.
So we were in the communities of Hindolveston, Thurning, Wood Dalling and Corpusty.
Our B&B for a couple nights was a lovely little country manor house in Mundesley. Our hostess suggested a nice little pub called Vernon Arms in a town nearby where I had some great fish and chips. But some was falling in love with the steak and ale pies.
Blickling Hall is really worth seeing. A very impressive structure with well kept lawn and huge hedges framing it. The headless ghost of Anne Boleyn is said to haunt this place.
The next day we drove off to Norwich for part of the day shopping. Love the quaint center of town with it's market feel to it. My wife and daughter left my son and I outside sweating like pigs in the heat. A little boy was eating his ice cream beside me and it was dripping down his arms into his shirt and all over the place. He was making me really nervous that I would end up with it on me. I have this tiny thing about being sticky in massive heat.
If you haven't been to Norfolk and to the beaches you must go there.
After our shopping extravaganza we got into our swim suits and headed toward a small town called Walcott. Easy parking availability right along the beach. I never knew what a sea fret was until the host of our B&B notified someone at our lodging. We actually got to see one. It's really quite cool and I can see how they'd be very dangerous.
So after our time in Norfolk we're off too London. I took some of my guidance from Michelin guide to get to London, but should have depended upon my ownself. We got lost in Norwich and started heading back north so had to go back to Norwich.
Construction on the A11 is not that bad. Don't try to avoid it like Michelin suggested that I do. Just do it.
Before no time at all we were entering the vacinity of London on the M11 and getting onto the M25.
Maybe they need to make more lanes on the M25 or something just to deal with the traffic congestion. Anyway, it didn't but me and we were through it.
We stopped by the place in which I worked in Newgate Street Village. [that was back in 1979 ~> the days of Blondie, Boomtown Rats etc.] Travelled around the area. Really beautiful rich homes in that area.
Where was it that we began on the North Ciricular Road.
Advice to fellow tourists motoring through London.
When you come up to a round about and there will be some neat ones [mark my words] when they provide you with the road number or destination painted on the lanes be sure to get into that lane and you will have no problemos at all.
Hey and Wembley Stadium is sure a cool thing to see.
One thing I can't imagine is buying a home along that North Circular road.
We were going to go to Royal Bottanical Gardens but my wife was starting to move into freaking out mode with the dense traffic so I decided it would be better to find our accommodation which was supposed to be located in Cranford.
So out with the gardens and into the search we were. We could not find the B&B for the life of us. From the pictures that we had we could not imagine that such a lovely place was located in the area that we were driving. We had a map from the webside and were on the exact streets, but it's like the place did not exist. We were hungry and tired of looking as we were driving around the Heathrow area for over an hour trying to find the place. Even their phone number was not working.
We finally stopped in at McDonalds and ate. I filled the land yacht up for the last time at the Texaco there right by Heathrow and decided to ditch the B&B and stay at the Holiday Inn. We had adjoining rooms with our kids and we had airconditioning. When we were starting to unload the skies started opening up. This was the night that Picadilly and Regent St. were out of lights and parts of the city were flash flooding. We had pizza delivered to our room and cheese cake. It was a good night sleep.
Holiday Inn is a good place to stay. A bit 80ish in their style. The breakfast buffet the next morning was really good. Had no problem returning our vehicle to Hertz and the provide a shuttle to whichever terminal you're going to.
I realized I like being able to shut my eyes on the night flights rather than the entire day flights. One couple would not make their two loud children behave and one of the other passengers went and complained and the parents still did not make them mind. The kids caused a fuss and would not put on their seat belts so the parents let them sit there like that. Then one of them peed his pants [I wanted to laugh histarically out loud]. Another man was not booked to sit with his wife and was causing a problem and had seven people move to suit his needs. A little girl was kicking the back of my wife's seat until I told my wife to sit forward and I punched the back of her seat to get the kids attention.
Regardless of all that. We flew over Greenland and we saw some of the Queen Elizabeth Islands in Canada's arctic. They are absolutely amazing.
All in all we had a wonderful wonderful super trip and thanks to so many on TA for assistance. Thank you all so much and to become friends with many of you.