Published: July 6th 2009June 26th 2009
This morning everyone was talking about the sudden death of Michael Jackson. It’s always seemed to me that he was better regarded over here than he was in the states (at least in recent years). I overheard some people comparing the magnitude of his death to that of Elvis., especially for my generation. He was scheduled to perform 50 sold-out concerts in London, and the London papers today are speculating that the stress from that is to blame. I was also sad to hear about Farrah Fawcett as well, although that was far less surprising.
After breakfast this morning we walked to Victoria Coach Station for our day trip to Oxford, the Cotswalds, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Warwick Castle. We boarded the Evans Tours bus at about 9am and headed first to Oxford for a brief walking tour. The city of Oxford is charming, full of cobble stoned streets, restaurants and shops. Oxford University is spread throughout a wide area, so we only saw parts of it.
After our walk we had a few minutes to browse and shop and then it was on to Stratford-upon-Avon. On the way we drove through the Cotswalds, an area filled with picturesque English villages
and thatched-roof cottages.
Stratford-upon-Avon was also a charming little town. We stopped and toured the Shakespeare birthplace, which was overcrowded with people and not really very interesting. Almost all of the furniture and artifacts inside are reproductions, except for a tiny case of articles that you pass on your way out. After the brief walk-through we had an hour to wander the main street. We stopped for a British lunch at the Quickly Mistress, where I had Vegetarian Toad in the Hole (Yorkshire pudding, vegetarian sausage, vegetables, mash and gravy…YUM!). After lunch we browsed the shops for a bit and then it was back on the bus to Warwick Castle.
Warwick Castle was much more impressive than I was expecting.. The castle is now owned by Madame Tussauds’, so there are elaborate wax figures throughout to depict the era and complete the overall scene. We wandered around for about an hour and a half and then it was back to the bus for the ride back to London.
We were dropped off at Victoria Station, where we went in to pick up our train tickets for Sunday’s trip to Leeds. There is a restaurant and shop section
upstairs at the station so we walked up and ended up getting some McFlurrys at McDonald’s before walking back to the hotel. On the way back we passed several pubs with people packed to the doors and completely surrounding the buildings. Pubs here on a Friday night are quite a sight…the English definitely take their weekend drinking seriously. We didn’t stop at any as it was getting a bit late (even though it is still bright here at 9pm!), but there will be many days ahead for pub visits!
Tomorrow we’re off to the Portobello antique market in Notting Hill, then Oxford Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, and a walk along the South Bank back to Westminster!
There are more photos below