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Published: September 21st 2009
Tuesday 25 August
The start of the Britain and Ireland Explorer.
Wake Up 6:15am
Bags out and Breakfast 6:45am
Meet in the Lobby 7:30am
It’s always an exciting morning starting a tour. I love looking around at breakfast and wondering who will be with you. We met John, our tour director. He seemed like a friendly Scotsman! He had a very lovely accent that was very easy to listen to. We hopped onto the bus and I met Jo, who I had already talked to through email. John met my expectations of an Insight Tour guide. His knowledge base is huge. We had a lovely drive throught he English countryside. We detoured at one point and had a great view of Banbury… the home of the nursery rhyme, “Ride a Cockhorse”. It’s actually right on the edge of the Cotswolds. Many of the houses were made of Cotswold stone and many had thatched rooves. John told us about the origin of “it’s raining cats and dogs”. Apparently the pets use to lie and sun themselves ontop of the thatching. When it rained heavily, they all jumped off. Hence the term!
We arrived at Stratford-Upon-Avon at 10am - what a
beautiful town! We went through Shakespeare’s birthplace. It was a very quaint little cottage with all original clothes etc. The floors were lovely. Some cobblestones and some very creaky floorboards. The gardens were lovely.. loved the pear tree in full fruit! The gift shop had some interesting things. I bought a Christmas decoration here. Walking the streets was very relaxing. I endedup going off on my own so that I could see more. The old wood buildings were amazing. I bought a hot chocolate for 1 pound 50 and a piece of shortbread for a pound. I had a I grabbed some lovely little old fashioned English recipe books for people back home here as well . I went for a little walk to the river and saw the barges, then headed back to the bus.
We stopped at a station for a quick lunch - I had a cold bacon and lettuce sandwich. It was okay. The drive to York was lovely. We talked about the Duke of York from the nursery rhyme.. Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.
I adore York. The buildings are intricate and wonderful. We walked up Piccadilly Gate, past the merchants
hall and around to the Shambles. A very pretty narrow street of shops. John took us up to the cathedral and we went off in different directions. I bought some old fashioned lemon bon bons and then walked around looking at the places. There were so many beautiful and quaint shops and so much you could buy if you had the room. I bought some nice old ad coasters. The rain started to come down and boy did the streets empty out fast. I ducked into the Golden Lion pub for a quick drink, then walked off again. I went to see the Castle on the Hill and walked along the walls of York. Back to the hotel for a rest before the welcome drink.
We had vouchers this time. It was quite easy to talk to people. This group seems more laid back - so does the whole tour actually! No wake up calls. Dinner was divine.
Celery and Stilton cheese soup, roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding (yum) and the most delicious Whiskey bread and butter pudding. Wonderful. Back to bed. No air con up here. The company was good and people easy to talk to. Una had just
got back from Egypt where it was 50 degrees!
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