Sunday, September 24, 2006

London road trip pt 1

Hello again!

Boy it seems like ages since I last wrote a blog and i'm not even meant to be sitting here writing this one! At the moment I am sitting in a shopping centre at Chester writing this and we had planned to go 'sightseeing' today but unfortunately when we were about to start, terrential rain beat us to it! After waiting about 15 mins for it to clear, we counted a loss and I decided to hop on the net (and trust me to choose the dodgy computer!). Typical that as soon as I hopped on the rain stopped! But I have paid my dues so decided to stay on and use up as much of the money in here.

London was pretty uneventful, sleeping in and getting to the city late morning, early afternoon. Ahh very nice indeed. But due to our lack of research of what we actually wanted to do in London itself, and doing all of the important London sights with the boys last time we were here, we really didn't have a whole lot that we HAD to see! We did meander around Hamleys and Harrods though at a much slower pace than what we would have done had the boys been here. You will also never guess what we saw in Harrods - a pet 'wedding chapel'..... yes you read correctly! They had set up a pet chapel and when I saw the sign I just had to investigate! Unfortunately we couldn't go all the way in as there was a function (of the human kind) in that room, but I didnt' believe it was actually set up. So I asked one of the staff and he relayed to me that unfortunately it was true, and only last week, 2 Chi's were taken by their owners to the chapel by horse and carriage to be wed!!!!!!! Either some people have FAR too much money or they REALLY need help!!! Somebody please please, slap me silly if I ever become that nuts!! LOL it provided a good laugh though!

Next day we hired our 'compact' car to travel to Oxford and start our journey.... compact VW Golf, ended up being a Holden Zafria - which is a mini - van thing seating 7 ppl!!!!! Ah well!! The size has grown on us and I quite like it - enough room in the back for doggy stuff, so has been added to my list of 'doggy friendly' cars. Travelling so far has been relatively easy, with the help of my uncle's GPS which he lent to us to aid us along the journey. Good 'ol 'Jane' (aptly named as you can choose what voice you want being either 'Jane' or 'Tim') has got us out of many a sticky situation and 'usually' gets us to where we want to go. There have been a few times however when we have questioned the routes she has taken us! Oxford was lovely - I dind't realise that the town was so big! We mainly just ambled around and took a walking tour that took us into a few colleges etc (so long as we kept of the grass of course!).

Next day we headed off to Blenheim palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill as well as the 'Blenheim' colour of the CKCS) which was a lovely palace full of grandeaur and a very well maintained garden. Unfortunately we didn't have much time to wonder around the gardens properly as we soon had to be on our way to get to Stratford Upon Avon. We arrived there late in the afternoon and simply meandered around town for the rest of the day. One thing was for sure, was that we were starting to realise how ambitious we really were to get everything done that we had planned. The distance between places may not have been that far, but the traffic sure made up for that! So we decided that our 'itenerary' needed some tweaking and thus cut our Thirsk/ Herriot Country *sobs*. It was dissapointing, but both Mum and I agreed that we would rather go to fewer places and do them well rather than fly through and not see much. So I have since planned my next holiday - to visit the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Lake District...... when this will take place I have NO idea, but it is on my 'to do' list now *g*!

Stratford was great - it is amazing to think that a house built in the 1500's is still standing today! Although - can't say I would have liked to be around in their times as the walls were usually made up of a combination of mud, clay and manure.... yuk! Although - what can u say - if you only showered once a year, it would have been difficult to decipher which smell was you, the animals or the house! Was also interesting to hear about their way of life then and the 'strange;' beliefs that they had! For instance, nobody slept lying down (they slept sitting up) as if you lay down you looked as though you were dead and thus the devil may come and take your soul away! After studying Shakespeare a little at school it was good to actually have a look at his 'town' as well as learn a little more. One thing is for sure is that I certianly wouldn't like to be a female all the time as you always seemed to be 'up the duff', and hardly any of your children would have survived!!! Yuk! No thanks!

On from Stratford we went to Haworth for the Bronte sisters. This is right at the southern tip of the Yorkshire Dales, and boy what a view you had everywhere you turn. We certianly had a lovely time getting there..... if you could call it that - Jane took us through some very narrow roads that coulr barely fit two cars through - but was very impressed with Mum - guess it was a case of close your eyes and hope for the best! Sarah - when you said the roads were narrow - I didn't know you meant THAT narrow!!!!! Haworth was a lovely little villiage that has really kept its 'old style' feel. All I can say is that we certianly worked off our 'full english breakfast' at Haworth with all the hills etc, we climbed up and down (I am sure there was more up than down!). The Bronte Parsonage was very interesting and also sad. It was amazing to find out what talent was in their family - 3 sisters who were writers/ artists, and a brother who was an artist also! However, it was sad that they all died within such a short space of each other and the father outlived his whole family. Guess that is what it was like in 'those' days. I must say that I didn't find this anywhere near as thrilling or exciting as reading about/ visiting LMM's haunts, but I guess that is because I kwow less about these authors than I do LMM! We spent the rest of the day in Haworth visiting friends and their new baby, and left late afternoon to spend the night in Chesterfield.

Next day we went to visit Chatsworth house and Lyme Park. Both of these houses were featured as Pemberley in the 05 and 95 versions of P&P respectively. Chatsworth really had all the 'flash' and was a stunning house. The gardens again were absolutely lovely. I was also suprised to see that they had a small display in 'honour' of P&P with the sculpture of 'Mr Darcy' from the film and one of 'Lizzy's' dresses on display. Well at least I can say that I got my pic taken with 'Darcy' although I knew he was too good to be true! LOL! Lyme Park was much less grand and a little dissapointing since the roof was being repaired and half of the furniture and paintings were put away so that it wouldn't be damaged by the work being done outside :(. However, I still loved visiting it as I love the 95 version of P&P soo much more, it was great to actually see the house. But I profess that I am not as mad as some as we were told that some ppl actually leave the house with the pond water (which is BLACK!) or dirt from the ground... that 'Darcy' walked on....hmm.... do ya think I should tell them that he 'aint real..?!?!?!

Another thing that was quite interesting about the houses was that Dogs were allowed on the grounds as well as in the gardens. This suprised me as at home I didn't think we were allowed to take dogs to a national heritage site. Still, I thought it was good to see as you could take your dogs to somewhere you enjoy (rather than the dodgy parks that no-one save dog lovers want to visit) and you can enjoy the day out with your dog!

Next was to Chester, which is where I said I was writing this blog from right? Yes well, I actually finished writing the blog, and smart me thought i'd copy and paste it into my email - so on I went to hit Ctrl + c and bang - my whole blog lost! With only 2 mins left remaining and having thus wasted my whole morning (as the rain had stopped after I put my money in mind you!) I decided to leave it and come back later to write!!! Chester was lovely but a bit more 'modernised' than what Mum remembered so she was a little dissapointing. I found it quite a nice little city, but by around 5 we had seen enough (the chapel, ampitheatre... well ruins of it!, walled city and some houses etc) and went on our way to Conwy, Nth Wales. We hadn't pre-planned to stay there but thought it might be nice to stay in Nth Wales as opposed to another night in Chester and i'm glad we did.

So next morning we had a wonder around Conwy and the lovely 'ruins' of the castle there. Conwy is another walled town but much more 'quaint' than Chester. Also went to visit the towns oldest house and Britains 'smallest' house - boy was it small - one tiny living/kitchen everything area, and a bedroom upstairs which only just fit a single bed! We then moved on from Conwy for our drive down to Llandeilo (ask Mum to try and pronounce it - quite funny really.... as for me, I say it the 'english' not the 'welsh' way and won't even try to make a fool of myself *g*). Was a lovely drive down - picturesque views..... We are to stay here visiting friends until tomorrow and then off to Bath.

Well I guess that is it from me again. Sorry it has been so long since I have posted - but suprisingly it has been very hard to find a computer, and hey - I haven't had the time :P. I'm still having a blast but starting to get a little homesick and I think i'll be glad to get home now. Can't believe it has gone so quick! Keep writing to me guys - Love to hear what you are all up to also.

Cheers.

2 comments:

EuropeanTop said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to read and post on your blog.

I’ve just posted an article related to travel tips for seniors on my blog and I thought maybe you’d be interested in reading it. Here is short preview of some of the areas I covered:

- Prefer a backpack on wheels instead of a suitcase, you could pull it behind you when your back hurts or you are exhausted.
- Consider checking your bag in with the airlines, because it would become an unnecessary burden to be dragged all over the airport or the city if you are going to have a short visit.
- You could stay outside the city, in a hostel maybe, because it is cheaper, less crowded and the air is much fresher, but you have to walk or use the transport more, to get in the city or to the station.
- Most museums, some concert halls, railways, airlines, bus lines, ferry and shipping lines have a discount policy for seniors.
- Electronic devices are useful but sometimes they can give you a lot of headaches. You could help yourself with a micro-tape recorder to record your notes. It would be easier than to write and you would put them down on paper later, to share your notes with your family.
- If you bring a camera with you to keep the beautiful images alive along the time then make sure you know how to handle it or you might fail to record them not only on that camera but also in your eyes.

For more resources on how to travel to Europe you are welcome to visit my blog, where you can also get acces to some excellent maps of London and London hotels, together with information on restaurants adn rent a car services.

Best regards,

Michael R.

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