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Showing posts from July, 2016

Travelogue: Day 11 - Birthday at Highclere and Jane Austen's House!

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Wednesday, July 27

My birthday! After breakfast, we checked out promptly at 10 am. We had originally booked our tickets for 1 pm entry into the Castle thinking we could hike Beacon Hill and Watership Down and the grounds around Highclere before our entry. Since we had already done Beacon Hill and Watership Down, we asked the nice older gentleman at the ticket booth if we could change our time, and he said, "Sure!" So we walked in 20 minutes before its official opening. The people at each room of Highclere were so willing to answer any question, and there were stills of different scenes that had been shot in that particular room. It was like a dream to walk through these rooms that I have watched since 2011. (When I planned our "dream trip" in 2012, this was one of the destinations!) I loved the rich wood in the library. 

The Egyptian exhibit was also very interesting. After this, we wandered through the grounds and gardens. I especially loved the wildflower field tha…

Travelogue: Day 10 - Sunrise at Avebury, Beacon Hill, Watership Down, and Sunset at Stonehenge

Tuesday, July 26

We had set our alarm for 4:30 am to catch the sunrise and mist on the Avebury Stones, but George went to turn on our camera, and nothing! We had snapped away the night before, went in to shortly recharge before sunset, and went back out and shot a ton more pictures, but there was nothing this morning. We hoped it was just the battery. We had already been leaning toward NOT going to Bath as it was an hour backtrack and not on our "must see" list.  (Jane Austen lived there for nine weeks and hated it there.) Also, we did not feel like going back to a busy town with lots of tourists after being in the country and loving it!  So, that would give us some time to go to a camera shop in Swindon to troubleshoot the problem. 

But first, it was Avebury Stones with the iPhone! It made me wish I had purchased the iPhone lenses from Photo JoJo! Anywho, the iPhone did pretty well. Here is a video of the midst as the sun rose on the stones:




We came back to a great vegetarian …

Travelogue: Day 9 - Worcester Cathedral to Avebury Stones

Sunday, July 25: Worcester Cathedral to Avebury Stones

We ate breakfast at 7:30 am, served by the same guy who rented us the cycles. We were out and on the road by 8 am and traveled to Worcester to see the photograph that is part of the King John and the Magna Carta Exhibit. We had a bit of a problem figuring out our first "Pay and Display" parking lot, but a nice lady helped us. We didn't have a ton of coins (Note for travelers by car - make sure you have plenty of coins handy for this and always have your GPS or Google Maps go to the car park nearest your venue. You can never go directly to ANY venue unless it is a super small village.), but it was enough for a trip to the walk along the River Severn before the cathedral opened. Lovely! 
I really loved this cathedral. WOW! Vergers were so helpful and love to tell you a long story. We noticed they almost acts surprised when you want to know more. Then they get really excited and talk on and on about their subject. Very cu…

Travelogue: Day 8 - Biking the Cotswolds

Both our computer and our camera broke on Day 10, and I had only journaled on here up through Day 7. I journaled the old fashion way, handwriting in my journal, but I am now typing it in here!

(I will add pictures later.) 

Sunday, July 24: Biking the Cotswolds 33 miles!

I have dreamed of doing this since 2012 when I contacted Pedal England and Will Cairns. They had an amazing seven day guided bike trip (that I see is not on their itinerary anymore). We thought that seven days, just biking is more than we wanted so we settled for one day and self-guided. I think it was a great choice.

We got up at 6 am and met with the Cycle Cotswolds (http://www.cyclecotswolds.co.uk/) owner who is also part of the Volunteer Inn staff. This made is so simple instead of having to go to a separate place for our bikes. They were plenty tall enough and similar to our bikes at home (hybrid mountain bikes). He sold us maps (I thought he would have more detailed ones, but no. I could have printed what was already…

Travelogue: Day 7 - Stratford-Upon-Avon and Hike to Broad Campden

Saturday, July 23

We woke up in time to go to breakfast the next morning at 7:30 (since we booked this place in February, it became a bed and breakfast so we are getting a lower price and breakfast to boot). It was a full English Breakfast with yogurt, fruit, toast, cereal, coffee, tea, and orange juice. It is served by the sweetest little older woman. 

After this, we headed to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see all things Shakespeare. We got a bit lost because George plugged in Stratford-Upon-Avon instead of the Bridgeway Multistory Car Park we needed to get to. We go to George's place, and we had no idea where we were and could not reprogram our Google Map due to no Data signal. We asked around, and couple pointed us in the right direction. It required going into the traffic of the middle of town, but it was early enough that it was not too bad. We left it and went straight to Shakespeare's Birthplace. When we got there, one of the guides in the first room said that we were here befor…

Travelogue: Day 6 - Oxford, Blenheim Palace, and Chipping Campden

Friday, July 22

We woke up super early and got to the Oxford Bus Company x90 by 6:30. It was a bit misty but felt great after all those days of blazing sun.

The bus was clean, comfortable, had plug-ins and wireless (although it said I had used my limit very early into the trip but did not pursue that). It was great to see the countryside for the first time. The drawback was the two girls that decided to polish their nails in the top of double decker bus without an option to open windows for ventilation. I was sick for about 30 minutes of the trip, but it was still a great trip.

We arrived in Oxford by 8:20, stored our luggage at the Backpacker's Hotel, and walked to a place for breakfast.

After breakfast, we went straight to the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin to climb the tower. WOW! Oxford is so beautiful architecturally. We met three girls who were in the UC system of California and had just spent four weeks study fantasy literature at Oxford. After we climbed the tower, t…

London Log: Day 5 - Shakespeare's Globe, Buckingham Palace, Bus Tour Traffic, Imperial War Museum, and London Eye

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After three days of waking up really early, we slept in until 7:45 am! The jet lag and time change finally caught up with us. Not to mention the 10-12 miles of walking we had done over the last three days!

We had planned to go and validate our Golden Tours Hop On Hop Off bus ticket at the main office that was only a five minute walk from our hotel room and on the way to the Tube Station, but we had no time! We quickly got ready and caught the 8:37 Tube to Shakespeare's Globe on the Thames. We got there at 9:15, and the first tour did not start until 9:30. We had just hoped to look at the exhibition before the tour, but that was OK since we did the City Cruise on Wednesday instead of Thursday so we had some "wiggle room"! 

We had a fabulous tour from a super enthusiastic young woman. We learned all about the Globe. It is not the original one but something as close to what they can conclude it looked like. The Brits did not see any need to rebuild it, and it took an American…

London Log: Day 4 - Westminster, Winston, Galleries, and City Cruise

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Wednesday, July 20

I am so behind in my London Log because we have been busy! I started this while still in London, but now it is July 24th, and I must record before the memories fade!

Wednesday was . . . 
Two "W" things: Westminster Abbey and Winston (Churchill) War Rooms.
Two Galleries: National Gallery and Courtauld
Two "C" things: City Cruise, Covent Garden, and Charing Cross Road #84

I listened to a YouTube video that said that The Regency Cafe was the #1 rated restaurant in London, and it was only a 12 minutes away from our hotel room. We went there on our way to Westminster Abbey, but it was JAMMED packed! It is a little hole in the way, mom and pop type of place with traditional English food. We were sorry to miss it, but we had to get on to our exciting date at the Abbey!

We got there early (since we had planned to eat breakfast), and we stopped to get a coffee for George at a street barista, and we struck up a lovely conversation with a woman from Anaheim! She h…

London Log: Day 3 - Tower, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, Southwark, Victoria and Albert, and Kensington

I am always so tempted to add pictures to these posts, but they do take forever to load from our good camera because they are big files, but my iPhone pics are quick but not as good quality. I want to review the day and then maybe I will add more photos later when I get back to better internet.

Tuesday, July 19

Tuesday was about three "T's" in a row: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and Tate Modern!

We woke up but not quite as early this day. We took the 27 minute Tube to Tower Hill. We looked at a section of what remains of the original Roman Wall of the city of Londinium. Then we waited for All Hallows Church by the Tower to open. We saw an older gentleman coming toward us with tea in his hand and keys around his neck, and we knew he was the man to watch. He opened up the church, and we had it all to ourselves for half an hour. It was probably my favorite part of the day. What a rich history. There was a lovely little crypt museum at the bottom. William Penn was baptized an…

London Log: Day 2 - Abbey Road, London Bridge, Sky Garden, Saint Paul's, British Museum and Library

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What a day! Of course, I woke up extra, extra early. I waited for George to wake up, and we were out of the room by 5:15 and on the N16 bus to Abbey Road! 

I wanted to get there to take the iconic picture before rush hour. It was great to take our first Double Decker Bus ride in London! (We took one in Singapore once, but that does not count!) 


How fun to get there via bus. We went by all the Arabic restaurants near Marble Arch, and we met a nice Algerian man visiting on holiday. 

We got to the road with no traffic! There was the CUTEST little Japanese family of four that was trying to take the picture with the mom setting up the camera on a chair, clicking the self timer, and running over to the road. It did not work! So, OF COURSE, we offered to take their adorable picture of all four crossing the road like the FAB FOUR! 

Then it was my turn:

Oh the thrill of fulfilling a dream! Then we walked over by Paul McCartney's house. He wasn't up yet. I am sure he would have invited us fo…

London Log: Day 1 - Arrival, Tate Britain, Westminster Walk

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London Log Day 1
We had a seamlessly easy trip across the pond from Portland to Seattle to London. Our first glimpse was of the London Eye along the River Thames. I cried. I have dreamed about going here for so many years that it is really a dream come true.
Based on the good information I got from YouTube and from TripAdvisor. We also had a seamless trip through Immigration and right on to the Underground. It was a LONG hike down to the belly of the Heathrow Beast. There was only one Oyster Card station open, and a person was explaining to her friends what it was and asking what kind of thing they should buy. I asked politely, “We know exactly what we want, do you mind if we just get it really quick?” They were great. By the time we had finished there was a long line waiting for the one kiosk. Thank you sweet little Japanese woman in the YouTube video that explained exactly how to get one! We hoped on the nearly empty Piccadilly Line and got our first glimpse of London when it popped up…