31 May 2013
more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.
1. While we had such a good weather from the beginning of my round trip through the UK, it started to rain from Monday on, just the two last days of our trip !
I still had sunshine in Liverpool to visit the Beatles'places and where they started their career.
2. But then the next day we got our shower !
and visited Bath in pouring rain. My friend and I took a sightseeing bus to avoid the worst !
We drove through beautiful green landscapes, even more green in the rain and Stonehenge too was full of tourists and their umbrellas ! Fortunately it was warm and dry in the bus !
We spent the last night in London and visited the town and as it still rained we went to Harrod's and walked around. We also looked at the memorial of Diana and Dodi in Harrod's Egptian section in the basement.
Then it was time to catch our train back to Brussels. In not even 2 h we were there, very tired, but very happy with the tour we had done. It was so well organized and besides the daily fights for seats in the bus, everything went smooth, and there was nothing to complain about.
Mr. G. picked me up at the station and started a full detailed report of everything what had happened during my absence. As nothing special had happened I didn't even listen as I still was with my holiday memories.
5. I slept quiet long to recover from my 9 day's trip, and then started to unpack my suitcase and sort out the hundreds of pictures I had taken. That will probably take a few days !
If you want to read more about my trip just scroll down, I reported every day.
Thanks to all of you who followed my trip and commented ! I had no time to comment at all, it was already quiet difficult to post every day, but I wanted a kind of diary. Internet connection in some hotels was so expensive, although we always had the same hotels (Ibis and Premier Inn).
30 May 2013
Today had been our last day in the UK. The little Bed & Breakfast hotel I had booked and which was so near to the St. Pancras station, was really very nice. We had a good long sleep and after a nice breakfast we met with Marie from "After 60". We had called each other to meet and she picked us up at our hotel for a sightseeing tour through London which she knows like her pocket.
Marie and Ilona in deep conversation, London Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Horse guards.
Ilona had never seen the most touristic attractions in London besides the once I had showed her when we arrived. Marie took us around and then we had a nice lunch in a beautiful very big pub. Ilona and I love jacket (baked) potatoes with cheese and so we had our "last" once.
It was so nice to chat with Marie, as if we had known each other for a long time. Blogging is really nice, it allows you to meet so many people from all over the world.
Then it started raining and we said goodbye to Marie, took the bus to Harrod's which Ilona wanted to see. As usual the decoration was very impressive and we admired them. We didn't buy anything, we didn't want to go bankrupt.
After a coffee we returned to our hotel, took our luggages and then went off to catch the Eurostar.
And this was the end of our wonderful and interesting roundtrip through the UK !
29 May 2013
From Cardiff where we had spent the night we haven't seen a lot, except some buildings in the rain ! It had started to rain, the first time since we left London a week ago.
When we arrived in Bath, which is a very beautiful town, it rained so much, that we took a Sightseeing bus to take us around with some others from our group instead of following our guide who did a walking tour !
I douldn't take a lot of pictures because the windshield was full of raintrops, but we saw a lot of the town and the guide, an English lady was absolutely great, she told us a lot of anecdotes of what happened in Bath during the centuries, as for example the men and women taking a bath in the source water fully dressed and then once dry they drank the water ! The clothes were full of fleas and bugs as they were never washed and so were the hair too.
After having a coffee which warmed us up, we continued our way through the rainy but beautiful landscape to Stonehenge.
I had been in Stonehenge last year in August (see here) so I didn't follow the others for the guided tour with headsets on your ears. I watched them from outside and looked at the stones from far, they looked so different in the rain as when I was there last year while the sun was shining and the sky blue.
On the way back to London, we got all a list of email adresses from all the members of our group and a beautiful red T-shirt from the Expat Tour company. Then it was time to say good bye, and we took the tube back to St. Pancras station. I had booked a Bed & Breakfast near the station in a little square enough far away not to hear the noisy main street.
We arrived at 6 in the hotel and stayed, we didn't even go out for supper we still had some muffins and other things which we ate with a cup of coffee and then went to sleep.
28 May 2013
After breakfast early morning, (we are now used to get up at 5.45 each day), we had our daily fight for the seats in the bus ! It's really a shame. There is one Indian guy who sneakes out of the breakfast room, stayes besides the bus and as soon as the driver opens the doors he jumps in and throws clothes and scarfs on several rows of seats, while the others are still at breakfast ! This made me so angry that I followed him and leant against the door so he couldn't go inside and he didn't dare to say a word looking at my face ! All the others laughed and we had a lot of fun.
Finally everybody was happy and we started singing Beatle songs while our driver showed us the Bus stations where the Beatles met and the Pub where they used to write their songs. We also stopped at John Lennon's home. We had always thought that he came from a very poor area, but this wasn't the case at all ! All the houses in this street were rather nice.
Meanwhile we know each other and we are a real nice group of 10 nationalities. It's very interesting for all of us because we all have another style of life. Thanks to blogging I knew already quiet a lot about Australia, Malaisia, and Canada.
Before leaving Liverpool we went to the Anglican Cathedral of Liverpool. It had beautiful stained glass windows but what impressed me even more, was that it was the first church I saw in my life which had a souvenir shop and a restaurant IN the church !
After a long drive again, we finally arrived in Stratford on Avon to visit all Shakespear places. Where he had lived, and all the houses of his family and finally the church where he was burried and you had to pay 2 £ to see the grave.
We had seen enough churches and graves and were tired so we rather wanted to sit down and have a coffee in this street where Shakespeare lived. I also was in pursuit of a cat of which I had heard thanks to Barbara from Words, Words, Words.
After having asked in a first souvenir shop I was told the cat would live a little further. I asked in the second shop and the owner smiled, told me the cat's name was Angus and that he always walks up and down the street, and that he thinks that Angus belonged to another shop a little further down the road.
There the people also knew Angus and apparently he goes into all shops and in winter sleeps in the once where the radiator is the warmest.
These are pictures from Barbara's blog, and it is such a pity that Angus didn't show up ! That would have been so funny.
We were very tired when we arrived in Cardiff and after dinner we went immediately into our room to rest and go to bed early.
Tomorrow is the last day of our round trip !
27 May 2013
The sun was again shining the whole way til Liverpool. It was a very long ride with two stops. We arrived in Liverpool at 3 pm and could visit the town afterwards. Our hotel was again an Ibis hotel and the Internet rates expensive. I really don't understand why in most of the cafés, pubs and restaurants WiFi is free and in Hotels you pay a fortune. Even Skype is expensive.
There was a WW 2 celebration for marines taking place in Liverpool and the city was crowded with marines, war ships etc. We went along the habour and walked a little through the city center. Liverpool is not a very beautiful town it's very industrial and was rather poor and you still can see that. Fortunately the Beatles brought masses of tourists to the city !
And wherever you go you see the Beatles ! On the way to the habour was the Beatle shop and the Beatle museum. We made a tour in the shop, it was interesting to see, the Beatles on cups, plates, T-shirts as dolls, in short on everthing possible.
After supper some of us went with our guide to the place where the Beatles had started their career. The place was a basement called "The Cavern". Just besides "The Cavern" was a restaurant or hotel I don't know exactly what, with Beatle sculptures on the front side.
We then went inside ! We went down 3 floors to the cave and there was a group playing but so loud that I hardly could hear what they were playing. I thought when I was going dancing at least you could hear the music. It was so full that I didn't stay long, just the time to take some pictures and then I went outside, while Ilona stayed inside for a while and danced with all the others ! It was fun ! I observed the people who came out, one girl was so drunken that she could hardly walk on her high heels ! It was really interesting. Then we walked slowly back to our hotel.
Tomorrow we are off to a more intellectual visit ... Shakespeare in Stratford on Avon. I should also meet a cat there which a blogfriend had photographed and written about ! Would be too funny if I would see the cat too !
26 May 2013
Our hotel in Edinburgh
We left Edinburgh at 7.30 am direction Loch Ness. If anybody would ever have told me that I would get a sunburn at Loch Nesss I would have thought he is crazy. But I did ! Tonight I have a red face !
We drove through the beautiful Scottish Highlands, stopped at the Wallace Monument, who I guess was Braveheart. I had never seen this movie, but they played it in the bus. I preferred to look out of the window and see the landscape life. Anyway my poor head is unable to keep the history of all places we visit in mind, so I prefer to do a short resumé of my roundtrip and write about history dates and wars later when I have looked it up.
When we arrived at Loch Ness, the sun was shining as payed for and it was warm ! 15° C and of course in the sun even more. We made a cruise on the Loch but besides some people who looked like monsters I haven't seen Nessie ! The sun was probably shining too much, and he prefers misty and cold weather to scare people.
The cruise lasted one hour and was wonderful. What beautiful views !!
Then we continued through the Scottish Highlands and admired the stunning landscapes. I have already seen quiet a lot of beautiful landscapes but this one was really special
We stopped at a Whisky distillery and had to listen to the explanations,
I wasn't interested at all and visited insteat the Art Exposition of local painters just besides the distillery. Which I found far more interesting. My travel companions didn't come out singing and stumbling, but a little disappointed, because instead of a glass of Whisky they had gotten only a few drops.
We then continued our way again through the Highlands and arrived in a little town called Callander, where we slept in this kind of castle.
It was very romantic and beautiful, but the lift got stuck, we had to carry our luggage to the 2nd floor, the water of the shower was or burning or too cold and impossible to mix. The handle broke when I tried to get out of the bath although I don't have the weight of an elephant. But the supper was excellent and the grilled salmon so fresh that it almost jumped off my plate.
Unfortunately old hotels are romantic but not practical and it had no Internet connection at all !
After a rather strange breakfast with only jam, toast and porridge (the British cooked breakfast arrived when almost everybody had finished) We climbed in our bus again and as we have now to change our places, it was a battle to get one, as some of the people just throw a coat on the seats and then went off to I don't know where before taking their seats !
Then started a very long drive through the end of the Highlands and then after a stop in a little charming town we arrived in Liverpool.
I'll write about it later, because now we are off to visit Liverpool and follow the Beatles traces !