London...April 24th, 2011...Part 2

Alex upgraded our rental to a Volkswagen Passat wagon because we had to take all our bags and they wouldn't fit in a small car.  Driving back to the hotel was a mission...we found it okay, but Alex driving a manual transmission car on the left side of the road was more than I could handle.  I was petrified!

We made it to the hotel, I stopped by the front desk to get an extra key, and the agent was so nice, she gave Alissa an Easter teddy bear with chocolates.  They parked the car and we went upstairs to get the bags ready.  WOW!  We thought we had done a good job the previous night, but we still had quite a mess! It took us a long time to get everything ready.  It was so late there was no way we could go on the Thames River cruise now.  We might not even make it to Windsor Castle.  We'd really have to hurry!
The concierge, who was great our entire stay, gave us directions to Windsor castle.  The problem was we couldn't see the street names in the city so we got very, very, very lost.  We were lost for over one hour.  We finally got our of London but continued to get lost along the way.  I guess at some point we figured out how to decipher the map, roads and roundabouts.
We took so long that by the time we reached Windsor Castle it was too late to go in.  The last admission was at 4:00pm and we arrived at 4:30pm. 

We were disappointed but we walked around the town , took pictures and then went back to the car to try to make it to Stonehenge before the sun set.  I thought the town of Windsor was too commercial and "touristy", but the castle was beautiful and I would have loved to see it.  I will see it when I return.  We definitely needed more time in London, but this was the best we could do since there were other places to see in England before taking the ferry to Ireland on Tuesday. 

We continued driving and arrived in Stonehenge after it had closed but just before the sunset, so were were able to get some spectacular pictures of the site with the sun setting in the distance.    Stonehenge is an ancient stone circle.  It is an amazing engineering feat and most important pre-historic site  in England.  It is also a place of spiritual significance.

We wanted to continue to Bath, but time would not permit.  We had to make it to Oxford for our hotel reservations.  We quickly drove through Salisbury, because it was already dark and we couldn't see much.  We saw the Salisbury Cathedral which is an international symbol of Christianity.  The spire is the tallest in England.  At the Cathedral you can see one of only 4 surviving copies of the Magna Carta. 

Soon we were back on the road to Oxford.  Thankfully many of the roads were divided highways with two lanes on each side so we were able to drive more comfortably, less afraid. 
We got lost several times again... the roads and signs are just not clear and many times they just didn't even have signs.
When we arrived in the Oxford area, we must have gone around at least 5 or 6 times and couldn't find the road we needed, even after getting directions...why????  because there were no signs...we basically had to guess which way to go.   What a waste of time!  We really could have saved some time and enjoyed the sites more had the signs been better.
We stayed at a boutique hotel just outside of Oxford in a town called Summertown.  My son and I are a bit spoiled when it comes to hotels, we obviously like luxury hotels but since we like to travel so much we have to opt for as luxurious as possible on a budget ( or have it comped or at least given for a reduced price), but the hotels must be clean, safe and have wifi.
Occasionally we are pleasantly surprised when we get above and beyond our basic requirements.
This boutique hotel was a pleasant surprise.  We had a ground floor room- which normally I wouldn't like, but the place seemed safe and it was steps away from the car so unpacking the car was easy.  The bathroom and room had been redone recently and the room had contemporary furnishings. 

Sofa bed for the kiddos...

We were also welcomed with a tray of complimentary teas,  coffee, cookies and chocolate.  We arrived around 11:00 pm to shower and go to sleep.


Look how close the car was...this was the best packing and unpacking ever!!!

1 comment:

  1. ed and breakfast accommodations are usually something that used to be a home or is an extension of the owner’s house, so the place would offer a homey atmosphere and breakfast as well.

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