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Published: November 28th 2013
There has been a lot of water under the bridge since I last spoke. I think the best way to due is dot point form in chronological sequence.
Bath:- We awoke to the typical English B'fast which was OK but the service, albiet polite, it was when they came to you with very little pro-activity in the way they did things. We headed up the road adn waited for a Hop on-Hop off bus to turn up. We have always found these a great way to get around. They have running commentary and stop at various points to allow you to sight see at your leisure, then rejoin the bus when you are ready to continue around. You can get on and off as many times as you like in the day. We traveled round to the Abbey and got off there.
The Abbey was very interesting with nameplates of many past people, put in the church by their families. We were guided round by a lovely lady who gave us the ins and outs, not to mention the tribute to Governor Phillip. He is buried not far from the Abbey.
From there we strolled over
to the Roman Bathhouse. This was a Spa house built by the Romans, left derelict, built over and then rediscovered in the 1800's. The Romans were very clever people in taking advantage of the surroundings and utilizing the hot spa water from the ground. Modern day Bath has only just started using the waters themselves building a new spa to take advantage of the natural wonder that they have.
Spent the rest of the day wandering about. Visited 1 Royal Crescent which is the grand residence at the end of the Royal Crescent. Very interesting as each room had a guide to tell you about what took place in that room. Apparently there was a lot of drinking and pissing in pots done. Men had a good time back then, or so it seemed. Bath is too big to be taking it in all in one day so there will be another trip soon. We also spent a more time trying to get our phones to work using the Global sims we purchased from Woolworths. More on that later. Had a lovely dinner next door to the B&B in a place called The Circus, Gaynor ate vegetarian as she
was full of chicken from our previous evening meals. Back to the B&B to pack for our long journey to Edinburgh the next day. Would like to have had an earlier start but breakfast didn't start until 8:30 and when you pay £120 a night for Bed and Breakfast you a less likely to forgo the breakfast, but managed to be on our way by a it after 9 am.
Edinburgh:- The trip to the Burg was going well until we were heading towards A74(M) with warning signs say there was an accident between Junction 20 and 21. So we decided to get off early and go up the A7, The scenic Historical route. Very interesting with lots of little villages including an old Woollen Mill town called Hawick (pronounced Hoick). We only got lost once but managed to find our way to a different road which still took us to where we wanted to go. Gaynor had the job of navigating which was all going well until she told me one thing but I took it my mind to do another. "I don't know why I bother if you are not going to listen to me". We found
our way to our hotel on the Royal Terrace anyway. Checked in and lugged our luggage up 2 floors (6 flights of stairs) to our very nice room. So our google map prediction of 6 hours for the 386 mile trip turned into an 8 1/2 hour journey.
Met up with very good friends Robin and Kate (a Moe girl). We attended their wedding in Edinburgh about 5 years ago. They moved to Australia for a while but couldn't find suitable employment so moved back and made home in Sauchie (pronounced Socky) in the Clackmaninshire. We headed out for drinks and dinner at La Petite Folie which was the restaurant we had the pre-wedding dinner at. Rustic french menu that was as we remembered. The food, the wine and the company was a great way to finish a very long day.
Day 2 in Edinburgh was spent travelling around with Robin and Kate sightseeing. We went to Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle. The view from Stirling Castle was stunning with an almost 360 degree vista. Had a great lunch at a traditional Scottish/German/Austrian/Swiss restaurant. Robin and Kate had Weiner Snitzel and I had chicken with haggis. Preceded by
Cock-a-leekie soup. Gaynor has the Spatzle (Macaroni Cheese). All very nice.
Headed back into town where R & K had tickets for the opera, so we were on our own for dinner. Which shouldn't have been an issue except for the Aussies were in town to play Scotland in Rugby, so things were a bit full. Eventually got into Indian Cafe and had a very nice Lamb Saag. Had to go over the road to the off licence for some booze which had just been robbed not some 10 minutes before by some druggy. After dinner went into a pub to watch the 2nd half of the rugby, which the Aussies won 26-19. Then back to the hotel to pack for York.
Up early as usual, yet to become time set for this side of the world. The sun goes down so early here that by 8 o'clock at night it feels like 10 or 11, so us old people a ready for bed. Had breakfast with R & K, said our farewells and headed down the street to meet up with one of Gaynor's graduates from work Lauren Szylarski who is now living in E'burgh with he
partner Jim Krekelberg ( son of Rob who I played baseball with). Went to a great little place for brekky ( 2nd Breakfast, I am a hobbit now) called Treacle (http://www.treacleedinburgh.co.uk/
) and spent 2 hours chatting and having a great laugh with the boys running the cafe. Set off for York around 1230.
York:- The trip was fairly uneventful, taking the coastal route, it was quite pleasant. Once we got to York it was already dark so, as you will find when you come here, without GPS the road/street signage is poor at best and confusing at it's worst but somehow we mnaged to find our way to Gregorys B&B. We were greeted at the door by Martin and Beverly and made to feel most welcome. Beverly showed us to our room and spent 15 mins giving us all the info we needed to take care of our needs. A far cry from the previous establishment we have been to. They even helped us lug our furniture up the stairs. Ventured out and had dinner at a roast house, Beef, Pork, Taters and gravy and the biggest Yorkshire pudding you have ever seen. The great thing about York is
that most things are in walking distance, even for elderly folk like us. So it is good to stroll around and take in the town and just womble back to the B&B at your leisure.
Woke up to a cooked breakfast and a road trip out to the ancestral home. Castle Howard. We would have rung ahead but thought that to presumptuous, expecting they would have the good china out anyway because, well just because. They were in christmas mode with a small christmas market going an nearly all the rooms of the house decorated with tree etc. The grounds are vast, well kept and in summer would be even more stunning than they are now. Spent 2-3 hours doing the tour and wandering about. Heade back into York, parked the car and strolled into town. We had afternoon tea at Betty's, a very old school tea-house with cake trays and sandwiches etc.
More wandering, through the Shambles, eventually settling into a pub for a quiet beer or 3. This was followed up by an exquisite meal at the Olive Tree. I think I drank a whole bottle of wine because Gaynor said I was taking the long
way home. A bit wobbly apparently.
Up again for breakfast, farewells to Martin and Beverly our kind hosts, and off to London via Oxford to visit Ray (Ralph), Gaynor's uncle on her father's side.
Found our way quite well, and located Ray, packed him up and headed out to a local pub called "The Victoria Arms"(http://www.victoriaarms.co.uk/home.php
) who's claim to fame is Cromwell sat there before he liberated the city.
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