Touring the Cotswolds


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March 30th 2010
Published: April 2nd 2010
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27 March - 30 March 2010: Saturday through Tuesday. I am consolidating the blog for the last few days in England as the number of pictures I took for these days was about the same as I took for any one day before.

27 March Saturday. We left Kent by mid-morning, headed for Bath. Despite the occasional shower, we covered the 140 miles to the Bath exit of the motorway in 2 hours. The only slght mishap was a stone hitting our windshield causing a slight chip which would cost me $45 when I turned the car in (which was cheaper that the $48 insurance would have cost me for four days). It took another hour to drive the 10 miles into Bath and find parking...what a zoo. By then we were famished, as we hadn't been able to find a McD's for breakfast, so stopped at a French bistro on the way to the Roman Baths. It was very French and delicious, but also very expensive. We then continued to the baths, but decided that the 11.50 pounds per person entrance fee was too much given that we had been there several times before and we had already seen Roman baths in Rome. We were behind schedule for getting to Oxford, so after a short diversion to several High Street shops, we retrieved our car and headed to Oxford. I don't know that I will ever make it to Bath again, as it wasn't worth the time and effort with all the crowds.

It took and hour to get to Oxford, mostly on back roads. We drove around the center of town looking at the various colleges until we found parking next to New College, which is actually very old. From there we hoofed it. Will and Tamara both got Oxford shirts. We walked through many different college quadrangles, and at one point in the maze thought we were going to be locked in for the night as it was passed closing time (5 pm) and we couldn't find our way out. We retraced our steps and about 5:20 pm exited onto a main street.

From there we took the backroads through Henley-On-Thames to get to our hotel next to Heathrow.

28 March Sunday. Our first stop was Terminal 5 to drop Will off for his British Airways flight to DFW and then on to Colorado Springs. They charged him $60 for luggage, which he complained about nicely...no US carrier charges for luggage on overseas flights. They couldn't not charge him so the gave him an upgrade to business class instead. In Dallas customs and immigration was so slow that he missed his flight to Colorado Springs. At his insistence, the airline paid for a hotel room for the night, and he caught the first flight out on Monday morning, in time to get to his noon class.

Meanwhile, Tamara and I headed to the nearest McDonalds for breakfast, and then on to the Cotswolds, passing through small villages with quaint names like Burford, Upper and Lower Slaughter, the Swells, then stopping in Bourton-0n-the-Water, which is perhaps my favorite village (as it seemed to be for many tourists who were there). The weather was partly cloudy, so we walked all over town, shopping for gifts for Linda (turns out the large jar of marmalade was a liquid resulting in me having to go through security twice at Heathrow, the second time after I checked in my carry on bag that contained the marmalade), and then had lunch at a sandwich shop. From there it was on to many more quaint villages. I previously liked Chipping Campden the most, but now it seemed lifeless. The hotel we stayed in on previous trips was no longer in business. So rather than walking around, we just drove through. We decided to skip Stratford...too many tourists and we don't like to have to find parking in larger towns...so headed the scenic route to Banbury of child nursury rhyme Banbury cross fame (the Puritans under Cromwell destroyed all their crosses in 1600). Anyway, our hotel turned out to be well out of town, but seemed to be a popular place for a Sunday afternoon roast dinner for the locals. I had roast pork (every other meat was sold out by 5 pm). We noticed a family at the next table sharing a large ice cream sundae. The waitress told us that it was their Sharing Sunday, which seemed to be a good idea althought there were only two of us. Nevertheless, we made quick work of it. We watched TV until 11 pm and then it was lights out.

29 March Monday. It was our first all day rainy day of our trip, which was very fortunate since the 10 day forecast before we left the States showed mostly rainy days. We headed back to Heathrow, where Tamara was to catch a 4:45 pm flight to Frankfurt, Germany (and the next day to DFW and Colorado Springs). We first checked my hotel to see how I could get back to it once I dropped the rental car off. Then we headed to Windsor to see the castle and walk around town. We stopped for lunch at a Beefeater, our favorite English restaurant chain. After I checked into the hotel and we watched some TV until it was time for me to drop Tamara off at Terminal 5. After that I filled up ($100 for a tank full), returned the rental car, paid for the windshield dammage, and took their shuttle bus to one of the terminals. From there I caught the hotel hopper bus that serves all the Heathrow area hotels. As it was raining, once I got to the hotel there wasn't much to do except watch TV. I skipped supper as penance for all the great meals I had during the trip.

30 March Tuesday. I awoke at 7 am and caught the hotel hopper bus to Terminal 5 and from there on another bus to Terminal 4. I checked in (twice, but wasn't about to give them the large jar of marmalade). Then it was a long, boring wait fo my flight to Houston. This time I had a choice of 335 movies and ended up watching 4 on the 9 1/2 flight. I made it to Colorado Springs at 7:35 pm, about an hour after Tamara arrived from DFW, and Will was there to pick us up. We were warmly greeted by Bonnie, our dog, who ran around in circles with joy. I went to bed right away, as it was 3 am London time. It is now 31 March and I woke at 4 am, to read my hundreds of emails, and finish this blog.

Reflecting back on our trip, Italy was by far the best, but most expensive. Perhaps I have become tired of England. Anyway, we have higher priorities for future trips, with Australia and New Zealand, and South America being at the top for Linda and I.

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