Tag Archives: travel

Jim n Kate buy a travel trailer

The title says it all, of course.  Kate and I are alike in so many ways, and that includes a love of camping.  Now I’m talking *leisurely* camping, you understand.  I won’t be doing any logging, it’s not likely that I’ll be doing any kayaking, intense hiking, mountain climbing….. NONE of that stuff!  Mostly, I enjoy getting the camp set up, making sure everything is functional, then just settling in for some relaxation, making some new friends, watching the campfire…. now THAT’s what I’m talking about!

We did our shopping online when we decided to buy something, and so we looked at a lot of Craigslist ads, RV dealer ads, newspaper ads, and we trekked out to see a few of them.  One of them we missed by about 15 minutes – the guy was there just ahead of us, making the deal.  Oh, well.  But, there was one parked down at Mark’s Happy Campers, just south of us, that sorta caught our eye.  Kate fell in love with it when she first saw it, but I took some convincing.  Anyway, long story short, we bought a 1972 Argosy trailer (same vintage as my son Bret).  As you might be able to deduce from its shape, it was made by Airstream, with the classic shape, but without the shiny metallic outer shell.  The dealer had the trailer on consignment, but he knew the seller and assured us that all the major things were functional, so just come clean-up, dress-up, should be all we needed to do.  And, he was right – I had to do a little plumbing repair due to some freeze damage, but all the other stuff works fine (that rooftop air conditioner really pours out some COLD air).

Of course, I had to buy a different pickup, one with a V8 engine, and you’ll see it in the photos, also.  I just installed the electric brake controller today, figured it’d be nice if the trailer stopped, too, when I pressed on the brake pedal.  If we make it to the Rockies with this trailer, I sure don’t want it pushing me down those mountain roads as a runaway!  A movie recommendation, while I have you in the ‘trailer frame of mind’ – check out “The Long, Long Trailer”, with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  Definitely a CLASSIC, very funny!

We plan to take the trailer out for some local camping first, get the feel of it, start a list of what else we might need (yes, the never-ending “camper buy list”).  We have penciled in a trip to Estes Park, CO later in September, if we can get reservations somewhere.  I’ll keep you posted, ok?

And now, without further babbling, I present the photos!  I hope you find something you like 🙂  Jim n Kate are off on another adventure!!  And, yes, Millie dog will be going with us 🙂

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Trip to England April 2013 Day 10 (last day)

Sunday, April 21 – Our last full day in England, flying home on Monday at noon from Heathrow Airport, London.  The first leg of the flight will take us to Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, then Natalie will head toward Dallas, and I will go to Louisville, KY, which is near my home in Indiana.

On this last day we awoke in the Saffron Hotel and were awaiting our taxi, which should arrive at 9AM to whisk us to our next hotel, the Raddison Blu, near Heathrow airport.  We’d drop off our bags then make our way back into London for some final sightseeing.

First things first, and for me, that’s always breakfast.  I don’t require a LOT of food first thing, but I am in the habit of having *something*, as soon as I get going for the day.  There was nothing going on downstairs at the hotel in the way of breakfast setup (Sunday morning, you know), so I went on outside into the village streets and took a few last photographs.  While I was out I checked to see if perhaps Mollie’s Tea Room was open this morning, and they were indeed!  I stopped in to say hello/goodbye to Carrie, my friend there, and had *wonderful* eggs benedict for breakfast.  It was a perfect execution of that classic, and they even enhanced it by using thick slices of ham instead of what we usually get, which is a thin piece of Canadian bacon.  It was delicious and filling – I could not eat all of it!

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David, our driver

I left Mollie’s and returned to the hotel to join up with Natalie.  Our car arrived right on schedule and we were driven directly to our next hotel.  We chose a hired car this time instead of attempting to navigate our way on the Train/Tube.  As our driver, David, sped us on our way we had a pleasant conversation with him.  As a part of that, I found out he had an interest in getting started with creative writing, so I tried to recruit him as the first International member of our writing group in Brandenburg, KY.  He seemed interested, so I gave him one of my cards with my contact information, but I haven’t heard from him since, so maybe that won’t happen. Oh, well  🙂

IMG_2660-800We made it to the Radisson Blu without incident, dropped off our bags, then David drove us to the nearest Tube station so we could get downtown.  We managed to get that all figured out, jumped on the appropriate subway train, and made our way to Trafalgar Square, in order to visit the National Gallery.  That turned out to be an interesting thing to see, lots of wonderful paintings, but they did not allow photography there, so I don’t have anything to show you other than the outside of the building.  After spending 90 minutes or so in there we decided to head for Harrod’s Department store – that should be neat, indeed!

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(this photo was borrowed from the internet)

We zipped on over to Harrod’s, and entered the Multi-Mega-Disneyland of department stores.  Whatever you’ve heard about Harrod’s probably didn’t really tell the tale.  Whatever I write here is only a weak description of the most amazing shopping experience ever created!  And, it’s all about MONEY, just so you’ll know.  We went to the candy department, the jewelry department, the clothing department – WOW!  We were in the jewelry department, just browsing, and I looked down at a little bauble, found it was priced at 9,900 Pounds Sterling!  I was about to say something to Natalie about it, then noticed the entryway into the NEXT department, which was LUXURY jewelry!  Good heavens, what do they call this stuff? Really expensive costume jewelry??  We were in the tea department, and I saw a nice little set with a small teapot and 4 small tins of tea leaves, asked, “How much for this?”  The saleslady said, “One Hundred Fifty Nine Pounds!”  I decided NOT to get that!  In the children’s department I saw a dollhouse as tall as a 12-year old girl…. 1000 Pounds!  We saw a lady’s jacket, all leather…. 5000 Pounds!  Save up yer money before ya come, ok?

Well, we headed on back to the hotel, knowing that it was basically all over  😦  We had an incredible time in England, the people were great, the weather cooperated, it just couldn’t have been any better!  Many thanks to Natalie for making this possible, I think I have the best daughter in the whole world!!  Love ya, Nat!  🙂

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Trip to England April 2013 Day 9

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Carrie, my new friend at Mollie’s Tea Shop

Saturday, April 20 – Our first morning in Saffron Walden!  As usual, I rolled out before Natalie, so I went downstairs in search of food!  I had a nice continental breakfast at the hotel, then ventured out into the village with my trusty camera. I wandered into Mollie’s Tea Shop, had a bit more breakfast and chatted with Carrie, my waitress.  Pretty lady, very nice lady! Regarding breakfast: I had scrambled eggs on toast, *perfectly* done!  I have wonderful memories of my English mother serving me that very breakfast many times, all those years ago.

Leaving Mollie’s, I strolled around for a bit, taking photographs of village life and the colorful cottages, then returned to pick up Natalie so we could start our day together.

Our loose plan was to try to locate the house where I lived while in Saffron Walden – the address was #9 Newport Road, so off we went, map in hand. IMG_2568-800 IMG_2571-800 After only a short walk, we were approaching the turn for Newport Road and just happened to notice that we were passing the Saffron Walden Hospital.  Well, son-of-a-gun, that’s exactly where I was born, 2.5 eons ago  🙂  Actually, according to the sign on the building, it was no longer a hospital, but was being used by the city government.  Oh well, times change.  We left the hospital grounds and walked about 2 blocks and found Newport Road, and right away found #9.  These buildings look rather modern, so it’s possible that the original cottage where I lived as an infant had been replaced. Not that important, I guess.  I took some photographs, but didn’t knock on the door, didn’t want to disturb anyone.

We went back down the hill towards the center of town and detoured off to see the Saturday Market. IMG_2505-800 IMG_2527-800 We really enjoyed that – lots of activity, people wandering about enjoying the unaccustomed warmth of a sunny weekend in England.  As we came out of the market we chose to walk to the large church that dominated the skyline of the village, The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin.  It was very reminiscent of the cathedrals we had visited in days previous, only smaller.  As you browse the pictures you’ll see that ‘smaller’ only means ‘lesser in size than a towering cathedral’, but still very impressive!  While inside, I had a nice chat with one of the local fellows who was quite involved with some of the ongoing activities of the church – nice fellow, very knowledgeable and helpful!

Not far from the church we visited the Bridge End Garden, a very nice area for strolling and meditation.IMG_2560-800 IMG_2562-800  The English people DO know about gardening!  At the far end of the garden we saw the Saffron Walden Cricket Club enjoying the sunny day, and near the cricket pitch (playing field) we came across the Anglo-American War Memorial 1939-1945, a nice remembrance in honor of the fallen heroes of that area of the conflict.  My father was a part of the 4th Fighter Group mentioned on the plaque in the photo, but of course he did not fall on the field of battle, he was fortunate enough to make it back home to Texas, where I grew up.

IMG_2597-800 IMG_2598-800As we continued our walk we discovered the Saffron Walden Museum and did some exploring in there – lots of things on display regarding the history of the area.  If I ever make it back to this area I’ll try to allow more time for the museum.  Just outside the museum we found the RUINS of an old castle – I mean, I’ve NEVER seen a man-made structure in that state of decay.  I guess those English winters are hard on old castles.

To finish up the day’s walk we took a tour of the Fry Art Gallery, which housed a very nice collection from various artists.  Again, I’d love to spend more time for this, but we only had so many hours to see everything.  Save me a place, folks, I’ll try to come back!  🙂

Later, back at the hotel, Natalie and I enjoyed scones with clotted cream and jam, and while there we were able to get a good enough wifi connection to do some FaceTime with my son Bret Hilton, who lives with his family not far from Ottawa, Canada.  For those of you not familiar with FaceTime, it’s an Apple program that allows a video conversation with your friends and loved ones who are far away.  It was great!  Nice to see him and the kids  🙂

We rounded out our great day back at the Saffron Hotel restaurant, with Natalie enjoying some creamy cauliflower-cheese soup and gnocchi, and I had an English pie (nice crusty top), containing sausage, mushrooms and apples.  Excellent meal for both of us!

Tomorrow is our last day for Saffron Walden, we return to London for one more day of sight-seeing to hit some of the things still on our ‘wanna see’ list.  For now, more pictures!  Hope you enjoy them!

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Trip to England April 2013 Day 8

Friday, April 19 – Time to leave Bath, many fond memories of a lovely, historic city.  We all piled back into the van and got an early start on pestering Charlie about our next coffee break  🙂  He was a great sport, lots of fun, and gave as good as he got on the teasing.  I think he said his fondest memory of Bath was the “Malmesbury Gardeners” outside the pub.

IMG_2116-800On the road again, heading to Stonehenge!  None of us visitors had been there before, so we didn’t know what to expect.  Charlie summed it up, “Well, it’s a lot of big rocks leaning together in the middle of a grassy plain.  They’ve got fences up so you can’t get very close, so the best you can hope for is something in the way of a telephoto shot.”  And, he was right.  I got a couple of shots of Stonehenge, but maybe the biggest attraction was the restroom facilities in the parking lot.  I know, I know, I sound like a Philistine, but Charlie was right – it was something of a letdown when you couldn’t even walk up to the stones to appreciate their size.

IMG_2123a-800 IMG_2126-800Charlie said, “Wait, I have something else in mind for us.  Nearby we’ll find Woodhenge.  It’s not as grand in scale, but you can walk all through it and get a better feel for it.”  He explained that Woodhenge was a relatively recent find – they found it by analyzing satellite photos.  The ancient wooden posts of the shrine were long gone, but their marks were there, so modern scientists went in and inserted concrete posts in their place.  And, in the center of it all, the grave of a child.  Woodhenge was more modest in size, but, as he said, we could get much closer and get a good appreciation of it.  So much for ancient monolithic structures.

IMG_2174-800 IMG_2175-800 IMG_2176-800 IMG_2177-800Roger and Lyn had early on expressed an interest in some memorials in England that honored the fallen Anzac soldiers from ‘down  under’.  A number of Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers from the time of World War I had been in a convalescent hospital near to our line of travel, at Fovant, so Charlie was taking us there.  Since I loved all things to do with history, and since I was a service veteran myself, I also was interested.  At Fovant we saw the somewhat famous “Fovant Badges”, which were large symbols carved into the sod of a hillside near the convalescent hospital there.  Some of the soldiers who were up to it had climbed the slopes above the hospital and scraped away the sod to expose the white chalk below, and had created large-scale symbols of their various army groups.  I know my pictures don’t do them justice, but I was quite impressed with their efforts.

It is the nature of warfare that  not everyone gets to go home, and as a part of the Fovant experience Charlie took us to a nearby church and burial yard where a number of the Aussie and Kiwi soldiers had been laid to rest. IMG_2200-800 It was a beautiful, quiet setting at the end of a nondescript lane, but it was memorable, nonetheless.  The church was ancient, with many old headstones of indeterminate age, and mixed in were the military white headstones placed there by a grateful government.

IMG_2258-800 IMG_2281-800 IMG_2284-800 IMG_2293-800 IMG_2295-800After leaving Fovant, we made our way to Salisbury Cathedral, the most, MOST impressive cathedral of any we’d seen.  I don’t know how it compares to Westminster Abbey in raw size, but my goodness this place was HUGE! I could have spent at least two days there, but of course we didn’t have the time, so I just snapped photos of what I could and tried to soak up the rest into my faulty memory.

We spent some ‘touristy’ time there in the shop, and had a bite to eat, also.  As you’ll see in the photo gallery, the top of the dining area was glass, and as you enjoyed your meal you could look right up at the cathedral towering overhead.

I included lots of photographs of details of the figures on the outside of the cathedral, as well as a number of memorial plaques that lined the inner walls.  I hope you like what I included, you can always comment below if you would like to suggest something else.  Favorable comments are welcome, also  🙂

Start planning your visit to England, and don’t omit Salisbury, I’m telling you!

When we left Salisbury, we took a side trip to visit the site of the Roman town of Silchester.  There is nothing of the town remaining, it’s all just open fields now, but there is much of the wall that was constructed by the Romans which encircled the town at one time.  Nearby we saw the ruins of an amphitheater, which had an impressive seating capacity, but of course I can’t seem to recall that impressive number just at the moment.  Check out the photos, you’ll find the wall and the amphitheater.

IMG_2392-800 IMG_2399-800Our very last stop with our tour group was at Windsor Castle, the home of the Royals, and we got there *just* in the nick of time, because they were closing the gates to visitors about 10 minutes after we ran in there.  One of the guards there assured me that indeed the Queen was at the castle that day, because *her* flag was flying at the top of the mast (see picture).  I didn’t see her waving at us from a window, but I took his word for it. I did take lots of pictures, and you’ll find them in the gallery.  At one point we were being shown through the chapel there, and I looked down and saw that the stone I was walking over was immediately over the grave of Henry VIII.  WOW!

After Windsor Castle, Charlie drove us back to London and we had the ‘parting of the ways’.  Roger and Lyn were off to Europe to finish up their grand trip, and Natalie and I had to unravel the London Tube system to make connections to Saffron Walden, to continue our itinerary.  That was the end of our guided tour with Roger, Lyn, and good old Charlie!  We had a marvelous time, took away many fabulous memories, hope they enjoyed themselves as well.

Natalie and I found the nearest Tube station and went down and down the long escalator (someone said the escalators here are the longest in the world).  We found a ticketing/assistance window and purchased tickets to the station at Audley End, in Saffron Walden.  It was something of an involved series of train changes, so the fellow printed it out and gave it to Nat for a guide.

We got on our first train without incident, then just people-watched, as we whizzed past station after station.  It was very pleasant, but we seemed to be taking too long to reach our switch station.  It was at this point (TOO LATE), that Natalie pulled the printout from her pocket and observed, “Hmmm, we should have gotten off the train for our other connection about 4 stops ago.”  Oops!  We got off at the next station and found another helpful attendant who got us straightened out.IMG_2452-800  Things went better after that – we arrived in Saffron Walden later than planned, but it wasn’t a real big problem.  We stood outside the train station until a taxi showed up, then shared the fare with a nice fellow named Nick who was going our way.  He was quite helpful! We got checked in at the Saffron Hotel without incident and fell into bed.

Next: Exploring the village of my birth!  🙂

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Trip to England April 2013 Day 7

Thursday, April 18 – After a restful night in the Abbey Hotel in Bath, it’s time to get up and get going!  And, since I’m the early riser, I went on down to the breakfast area for some good ole-fashioned vittles.  Seems they forgot to fix them vittles, pardner – all they seemed to have was the ever-present continental breakfast, or the optional “glutton-fest” FULL English breakfast  🙂  I decided to visit the Continent for this go-round.  Juice, fruit, scones, and…… wait for it….. the Americano coffee  🙂  Actually, we got good coffee everywhere we went in England – wasn’t a problem at all  🙂

After my sumptuous repast, I gathered up Natalie and we joined the others to plan our day.  And, I don’t remember the exact order in which we did things on that day, but there were really only a few line items – we wanted to visit the Roman baths, we wanted to visit the Abbey (another HUGE cathedral!!), and wander the stores a bit.  This was scheduled to be something of a ‘free’ afternoon for us, so there was no big rush to get things done on our official itinerary.

First, the Baths.  IMG_2015-800 IMG_2006-800 IMG_2005-800These were discovered many thousands of years ago by Early Man, then when the Romans came during the first century they developed them into the configuration we see today.  There were many rooms and chambers dedicated to the washing of the body in warm mineral waters – a winning combination.  The Romans were already hooked on having public baths back in Rome, and here they could have the same thing without having to use slaves to stoke fires to heat the water. I’m sure there were still many slaves in evidence, tending to the privileged Romans enjoying a splash with friends.  We enjoyed strolling all through the complex, seeing the source of the hot spring water and how it was routed all through the bath complex.  The Romans were certainly good engineers!  Very informative visit, good memories, again!

IMG_2042-800 IMG_2043-800 IMG_1937-800The Abbey itself was another of those impossible constructions – how on earth did they do it, given the time in man’s history, with no power assists at all.  Even trying to imagine how they did the architectural drawings to pass along to the craftsmen boggles the mind.  I would love to live nearby to one or more of these amazing edifices to really explore them.  At least I can go do some research now, after having seen some of the best!

The rest of the time in Bath on Day 7 was spent in lazy strolling and shopping, taking more photographs, then finally we wound up back at the hotel for the evening meal.  Another good time of camaraderie, sharing our experiences!

Tomorrow would be another exciting day of discovery, but alas! it would be our last day of the guided tour with our new friends Roger, Lyn, and Charlie Jaques 😦  We’d be on our way to see Stonehenge, then Woodhenge (??), and a number of other interesting destinations.  I’ll describe those in more detail in the next post.  For now, enjoy the photo gallery  🙂

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Trip to England April 2013 Day 6

Wednesday, April 17th – Today we bid adieu to Chipping Campden, a central market town in the Cotswolds.IMG_1664-800  Our stay at the Kings Hotel has been very nice, no complaints voiced by any in the group.  This will be a full day as we head out to Lacock, the village of Castle Combe, Bradford-on-Avon, then finally to Bath.  Trivia:  we found out that ‘Avon’ is not the name IMG_1665-800of a particular river – it’s a word that actually means ‘River’.  So, there you have it – one mystery solved!

Hard to believe, but our England Adventure is about halfway done 😦  Stop the clock, someone!  Make it last and last!!

On our way, miles reeling off, and there is a hint of rebellion at the rear of the bus!  Lyn says we MUST stop for coffee!  Just kidding, she is a sweet lady, not demanding at all, she was just trying to hold ‘Chollie’ to his promise of making a coffee/loo stop mid-morning.  IMG_1681-800 IMG_1682-800 IMG_1683-800 IMG_1684-800(for you non-Anglophiles, a ‘loo’ is a restroom) We found a large nursery near one of the villages, lots of trees and shrubs, and, oh, by the way – they had a sunroom there that was a small coffee shop!  Hooray!  They had excellent coffee and several types of scones – Hooray again!!  The lady who was running the thing came over to visit and we soon found out she was mainly wanting to be included on any future tours coming down the road, so she was giving Chollie lots of smiles  🙂  He was quite accommodating and accepted one of her brochures.  She also shared some local ‘color’ with us.  As she told it, at the nearby Malmesbury Abbey there was an extensive gardening effort going on, perhaps maintained by some of the monks/priests/whatever they are, and according to her, on approximately 3 days per year they could be seen out in the garden, hoeing, planting, all that jazz, while being ‘in the buff’.  Naughty, naughty!  🙂  She wasn’t able to share any insight as to why this activity was pursued in this way, but if nothing else, references to the “Malmesbury Gardeners” became spice for our conversations a number of times throughout the remainder of our time with Chollie 🙂 Oh, the grins and snickers!  I had to wonder; was she telling us this as a way to help snare future travelers in for scones and coffee?  Hmmm, might work!  Tragically, she didn’t know *which* 3 days were good for ‘viewing’ 🙂

We continued on our way without ‘Gardener Sightings’ to add to our memories, but that was ok. IMG_1698-800 We soaked up more and more English countryside views, lots and lots of sheep, as you might expect, then Chollie turned off on a small side road and took us to the quaint village of Castle Combe.  It was never clear to me whether there was an actual castle there, but it didn’t matter, really.  The village was just  small community nestled in a small valley by a picturesque stream, and we thoroughly enjoyed our brief visit.  Not much to do there but sight-see, but we loved it!

From Castle Combe we went directly to Lacock, which was a nice little village which laid claim to being the site of Lacock Abbey, which started out as a home for the nuns, then went on to be a private residence.  IMG_1777-800This was to be our second visit to a filming site for Harry Potter movies – perhaps you’ll recognize some of the film locations as you view my photos.  We had time to visit some of the places in the village itself, including gift shops, etc.IMG_1765-800 IMG_1771-800  We also explored the “Lacock Tithe Barn”, which was something run by the church as a place for the faithful local farmers to bring their tithes, in the form of produce.  Very old structure, interesting concept!

We found a nice little restaurant attached to one of the shops so we decided to take advantage of the timing and have a pleasant repast.

I was browsing the menu and found something right away that caught my interest – it was an entry for a food that I had never heard of, but the description was intriguing, so I took the plunge and ordered ‘Faggot’!  You can see by the picture what it looks like, and it turned out to be quite tasty!  It was one large meatball (much firmer that meatballs we are accustomed to), with onion gravy and mashed potatoes.  Quite hearty and good!

From the gift shop/restaurant, it was on to the Abbey, which was a delight to explore, not just because of the HP movie. IMG_1782-800 This place, just  as so many others we visited, exuded HISTORY!  There were nuns living there for centuries, then when they left, a private family moved in and lived there for 500 years!  How many years has *your* family inhabited your home? Probably less, I’m thinking!  Please spend some time with the photographs, I think you’ll get a sense of the age of the structure.

IMG_1880-800After Lacock (which was a wealth of memories), we drove on to Bradford-On-Avon, another village chock-full of history and wonderful stone buildings.  We discovered another ‘tithe barn’ at Bradford – same deal, constructed as a IMG_1897-800storehouse for the produce of surrounding farms, brought there to help support the church.  And, see the sign on the left?  I’m thinking of putting one of those out in front of our place!  🙂

After leaving Bradford-on-Avon, we drove on to the ancient town of Bath, named for the hot springs there and the bath complex constructed by the Romans. IMG_1909-800 IMG_1913-800 We got checked in at the Abbey Hotel and still had a little time for exploration that evening.  Later, we all went to the Sally Lunn restaurant (said to be in one of the oldest buildings in town).  Many of the items on the menu were variations of a theme of ‘food served on a bread base’, that base being the ‘famous’ Sally Lunn Bun.  Hmmm, never heard of it before, but we all enjoyed the ambiance and the food.

Our hotel was situated in an older section of the city and I was able to garner some really good photographs (in my estimation), so I hope you have time to give them a look.  I’ve used a number of them as ‘wallpaper’ for my computer.

Tomorrow, we’d have a day to explore the old city, the Roman baths, and the magnificent cathedral.  I was amazed at ALL the cathedrals I encountered on my visit to England.  You see the exterior of the cathedrals and it’s just amazing – then you go inside, and the wonder continues!  HOW did they put those those things together, a thousand years ago?  I’m still marveling at it.

Well, here are the photos – enjoy!!!

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Trip to England April 2013 Day 5

Tuesday, April 16th – a beautiful morning in Chipping Campden.  IMG_1420-800 IMG_1431-800 IMG_1437-800 IMG_1444-800I was up early and shot a few photos around town (I never get tired of exploring and photographing these villages) before we climbed aboard the BSV (big silver van) on our way to Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace and resting place for William Shakespeare.

As usual, I’ve included a number of photographs taken ‘on the fly’ from the windows of our van, and as usual, some of them are not perfect, but it was either take the available shot or not have anything at all, so I hope you’ll bear with me on this.  You’ll be seeing the English villages and countryside where we were traveling, and I hope you get some of the feel of it, and are maybe inspired to make it over there yourself.  To re-use the little joke from a Rick Steves video, “If you get lost, no problem – many of the locals speak English!” 🙂

This last shot on the left was from our bedroom window at the Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden – wonderful old village!  Nice place to retire, maybe.

It was only a short drive to Stratford-Upon-Avon, and upon arriving we took our time strolling around town, stopping for coffee and later for some fish n chips (never got tired of having that for lunch).  As you’ll see in the photos, we then explored the Shakespeare House and museum, and afterwards went over to the church where he was buried alongside Anne Hathaway.  IMG_1535-800 IMG_1536-800 That was another amazing church!  Large or small, I was really taken with the churches, abbeys, and cathedrals of England.  I could easily have taken 5000 photographs of those alone, but I know everyone does not share my interest there, so I tried to restrain myself.  The few you find here in my blog posts will have to do, and I hope you enjoy them, such as they are.

After finishing our explorations of Stratford (Upon-Avon)  we headed back into the countryside, then on into the picturesque village of Broadway.  We split up into guy/girl groups, with Roger and myself marveling at the wonders to be seen at the pub while the ladies browsed the shops.

I really hope my descriptions don’t fall into the ‘ho-hum, another English village’ category – I never, never felt that way, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our visits to towns large and small and came away with wonderful memories!

After we departed Broadway, it was back to Chipping Campden for one last night.  We had some free time to ourselves before supper, so we chose various ways to entertain ourselves.  I sort of lost track of Roger, I think maybe he was resting in his room, but I was out again, taking more photographs.  Natalie and Lyn were enjoying massages at the Cotswold House Hotel, next to the Kings Hotel, where we were ensconced.

As evening drew near we all gathered at the Lygon Arms pub for some pints, some conversations with a few of the locals, and some great pub food!  Love that tradition – maybe we need more pubs here!  After a great evening we retired to our rooms to get things stuffed back into our bags to prepare for another day of travel on the morrow.

Day 6 would bring travels to Lacock (Harry Potter!), a side trip to the beautiful village of Castle Combe (pronounced ‘coom’), then to Bradford-on-Avon (see, no ‘Upon’ this time – they’re kinda economical with their use of ‘Upon’, it’s usually just ‘On’.  Oh well, another English ‘naming mystery’).  The jaunt would end at the great city of Bath – the Romans loved it and I think you will, also!

Get ready to hop on the van – don’t get left behind!!  🙂

Oh, by the way – for those of you who might be interested, here is the link to the touring company we used for our wonderful tour of southern England and the Cotswolds  http://www.backroadstouring.co.uk/

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