Thursday, July 23, 2009

England Part The End

Its only been 3 months since we returned from England and a mere three weeks until my next trip : San Francisco, 5 days. Can't wait.

Cast your mind back, way back. I left you all with Saturday night in Worcester....
We were awakened the next day by the peal of church bells and it just didn't stop. It was actually a beautiful sound, but it was also the only sound that echoed through the streets of Worcester. As we wondered around, marveling at the emptiness of the city, it dawned on me that it wasn't just Sunday morning, it was Easter Sunday! Nothing was open, so we hit the Tesco express for supplies and headed back to the boat.
Cruising through the city was a little disconcerting ~ dead rats floated by, the bottom of the boat scraped on sunken mystery objects. A boat trying to pass us going the other way ended up stuck for a few minutes on something submerged, etc. A big sigh of relief for us once we left the city behind and started to climb into the country side. By this point, we were actually very close to our home base, so we decided to take every opportunity to stop. A canal side pub in Tibburton afforded us a good opportunity for a lunch break. With the boat tied, we enjoyed a long and very leisurely lunch

After returning to the boat, we continued up the canal for an hour or so, stopping at Dunhampstead for another couple of beers before settling in for the night.
The next morning was misty and still as we continued our ascent towards Stoke Works. We stopped mid morning and headed off down a right of way towards Hanbury Hall. I loved that we could stumble through farmer's fields, arriving at a heritage property. An appetite worked up from our traipsing through the fields, we turned back and headed down to Hanbury Wharf where we stumbled on an excellent carvery pub lunch. The carvery featured roast pork with crackling, roast beef, roast turkey and all the sides ~ I think Rob was in meat coma heaven. Thankfully, we had a long hike back to the boat to work off all that food. Continuing on up the canal, we stopped at Stoke Works for the night, a mere fifteen minutes from our home base. It was a beautiful day and we luxuriated in the sun sipping pints at a local canalside pub.

The afternoon was bittersweet, as we knew our idyllic vacation was coming to an end. The next morning, we were up early, had the boat returned by 10 am and began the next phase of our adventure; getting to London...
This was more difficult than you might think. First, a cab had to be called to get us to Bromsgrove train station. and of course we had just missed the next train to Birmingham, so there was an hour wait. Then we were crammed like sardines into the train cars for the 20 minutes or so trip to Birmingham. Upon arrival, a quick glance at he departures board told me that the next train to London was leaving in two minutes from a platform far away from us. I told Rob to just follow me and took off through the crowds. We made the mad dash from one end of the crowded station to the other, only to discover that the London train was delayed by 10 minutes. Poor Rob had never experienced anything like that station before; he said it reminded him of Brazil with the loudspeakers squawking incomprehensible announcements into the chaos. He also told me later that all he could do was focus on my rapidly disappearing back as I took off through the crowds; he had no idea where he was going or how to get there.
Once on the train, it was a short, uneventful ride into London, where we took a black cab to our hotel, Grosvenor House. I cannot recommend this hotel enough. I managed to score a really sweet deal on Priceline, getting a room for 150$/night.
After 14 days of sleeping on a piece of foam over plywood, it was all we could do to drag ourselves out of the room for some sightseeing instead of just collapsing on the luxurious bed. We didn't have much time, but we wandered around the area surrounding our hotel, checking out Oxford Street and Marble Arch/Hyde Park before returning to our room to freshen up for dinner.
As a belated birthday treat, we ate at Corrigans, in the hotel. The meal was very good, but the highlight for me was the beautiful fresh rhubarb souffle for dessert.

We were also blessed with a very loud an entertaining snob at one of the cetral tables in the room. It was all I could do to keep it together as the woman made various proclamations to her dining companions
" He was such a lovely gentleman, but it was so unfortunate, he wears a BASEBALL cap.."
"I just saw (insert name of play here). Really, I have no idea why Judi Dench wasted her time on it, it was just abysmal."
"Oh yes, we met them on the cruise. Such a lovely couple..." and so on

We strolled back into the hotel and enjoyed a deep sleep on our comfy bed. THe next morning, we took a car service to Heathrow (a Mercedes, totally worth it) and said our goodbyes to England. We were lucky enough to get three seats together fro the flight home so we could stretch out a little..

England Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


Kim said...

Linda, your trip looks amazing! I think I could taste the beer!!! ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks KIm, it was a blast....

Anonymous said...

Hi you two!
Thank you for the classic conclusion story. Ah. What a wonderful trip. I'm sure you would like to do that again, wouldn't you?
Oh, well, duty calls. Another day, week, month, year....
Take care of yourselves while I wish I were there as well. My cousin, Kurt Petersen is in Denmark now having a great time with Birget and Marianne and Allen. Two sisters and a cousin and about all that's left of the family in Copenhagen. There are others on Funen and Nordholm.
Love and hugs,