A Travellerspoint blog

Day 18 Bath, England

Sunday 31 July 2016

sunny 22 °C

Our breakfast was nothing short of sumptuous. We had cereal, toast and then a cooked meal as well as croissant and jam. Following our breakfast, we headed on foot to the city. One of the bell hops told us where to go. We went through an area that represent the sun and moon. The former is circular with buildings and the latter is a semi-circle of buildings. From there we went to the children’s park, an impressive place for families to come to. And of course, we were looking for a toilet.
After a short walk along the road that brought us into the city yesterday, we were back in the centre. The line to the Baths was long so we decided to go to the Abbey first. It did not disappoint with its beautiful ceilings, organ and stained glass windows. The walls were covered in memorial tablets one which was dedicated to Captain Arthur Phillip, founder of Australia. The floor was covered in tombstones.
After a short wait in the line we were inside the Roman Baths. What an amazing complex. We spent almost two hours looking at the exhibits and listening to commentary.
Bristol was only a ten-minute train ride so we thought we would take a trip to see what this city was like. It cost £20 though and that gave us a bus ride to the city centre. Alas, the shops were shut and we could not get Luca a t-shirt as we had hoped. We left our run a bit late. At least we got to see the place.
Once back in Bath, we set foot back to the hotel. We had certainly walked some kilometres today!! The grounds of the hotel are worth wandering around. Dinner was very enjoyable and so was the early night in clean sheets.

Posted by gpric6 14:11 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 17 Land’s End - Bath, England

Saturday 30 July 2016

semi-overcast 19 °C

The farm was a dairy farm and was fully functional. They have a very busy life. Our host, Penny, cooked us a full English breakfast and we were off out of there. Penny had suggested we take a trip to St Ives but we decided to ignore that tip and head back into Penzance where we could see St Michael’s Mount. The sky was overcast but Penny had assured us that we would have a good day weather wise. We drove to St Michael’s Mount to get a better look at this landmark. It is like Mt St Michael's in France, land and building that becomes isolated by water.
Suri started to lead us up the west coast of England. The map I had did not have Port Isaac listed but I had checked to see where it was situated through Google Maps. You see I don’t think I have seen too many episode of Doc Martin but several people had asked if we were going there. Now, the road was not on our map, and we were very surprised that Suri took us down this road or should I say “track” that held one car only. At one stage we had to cross a ford – a flowing stream. Eventually we joined a much better road which took us to Port Isaac. By this stage the weather had cleared and we were treated to a glorious view of the coastline north. We paid for parking and headed down to the village, a walk of around 750 metres. I was most impressed to see this little fishing village. We had no idea of what we should be looking for but eventually Ross worked out which house was of mention. Regardless of this being where Doc Martin had been filmed, it was the most beautiful spot on earth. We walked to the other side and up the hill and looked back over the cove. Back in the cove we had our first Cornish pasty – very tasty.
Suri lead us up another narrow path out of the village on route to Tintagel Castle. Having parked the car, we got tickets which were free with our English Heritage card. Now this castle takes the cake. Once we made our way up the very steep steps, we could look back to where we had been at Port Isaac. I was quite scared to go too close to the headland edge as there were no rails and it was a sheer drop to the ocean below. Once we left the headland we climbed a set of steps to the castle that were even steeper than the ones to the headland. All in all, we had our exercise for the day.
Back on the road we made our way to Bath. All the B&Bs that we saw had no vacancies. We called into one hotel – no vacancy. He gave us the number for MacDonald Hotel and Spa – We have found my new “Fairmont”. We decided to stay two nights as we needed a good sleep and we wanted to see Bath. After a freshen up, it was dinner downstairs then off for a good night’s sleep.

Posted by gpric6 14:01 Comments (0)

Day 16 Stonehenge – Salisbury – Land’s End, England

Friday 29 July 2016

overcast 20 °C

Our lodgings, The Parkhouse Motel, were simple but breakfast was lovely. We were off down the road, passed the cows in the wild flowered covered fields, and found Stonehenge Visitor’s Centre without a problem. I collected our English Heritage card that I had purchased in Australia and we climbed aboard the shuttle bus to the sight. The English Heritage Pass was suggested to me by one of my tour guides, Jayne, and I believe it is going to be helpful.
Stonehenge has always been in my mind but, over the years, I have heard many people say that it was not what they expected. Even though we saw it from the now regulated distance, we were both very impressed with this sight. We had audio to lead us around the site and it was interesting. It is quite amazing that all one’s life you see photos of these places and then – there you are standing before it. We had arrived there around 9.15 and towards 10 am we looked out and saw this line of traffic heading towards Stonehenge.
Salisbury was our next challenge. We ignored Suri’s directions. We found a car park and asked a lovely local lady where we would find the cathedral. She suggested pay the parking where we were and we leave the car and walk to the centre of town and then we would see the spire. We did just that and before long we were entering the cathedral. It was amazing as usual. No matter how many of these cathedrals you see, you have to take a moment and appreciate the architecture and beauty of each. Of course, connected to this cathedral, was a building that housed the Magna Carta.
Our drive for the rest of the day was eventful. What we didn’t factor into the plan was that everyone wants to head for the beach for the weekend and it is now school holidays. We were heading towards Penzance on the south west corner. At times we were at a crawl. However, we did make it through and we found Land’s End. We were as close to it as we could be as the hotel and theme park prevents you from getting to it. We stopped at the Last Pub at Sennen and had fish and chips. On our way back to our accommodation we came across the most beautiful sunset. Accommodation was scarce so we had branched off the road and found a farm B&B. It was costing us £60. Now, I was keen to do farm stays but I think this one has cured me. The host was a lovely lady but the room needed a good spring clean. I put my hand down the side of a cupboard to pick up a little pillow and my hand collected cobwebs. The bath room was outside and the steps were rather rickety. It was a 4 poster bed but I just felt that I couldn’t breathe. Ross had some sleep but I just couldn’t.

Posted by gpric6 13:55 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 14 & 15 - At Sea to London

Wednesday 27 July - Thursday 28 July 2016

rain

As this was our last day before we disembarked we were busy getting the washing done and also catching up with the other five couples for lunch. There was some seafood on as well as all the other food. I felt pretty tired so had my nanna nap until Ross came back. Our last dinner was enjoyable, with an American theme. We met a couple from NZ who were sitting beside us as there were no tables for six available.
The sea remained calm all night. It has been unbelievable as to how smooth our sailing has been. There might have been the occasional ripple but on the whole, calm as calm. We had our last breakfast and met Doug and Cherryl in the terminal after disembarking. We had a taxi for the four of us in no time and it cost 519 Danish Kroner to get to the airport which was pretty good.
The next phase was to get our bags checked in so that we didn’t have to worry about them. Once completed we headed upstairs to security. What we didn’t know was that this was going to take us close to one and a half hours. It was choker block. As we worked our way through, the Lukins discovered that they had a bottle of Tallinn Liquor in their hand luggage. Rather than give it to security we all had a sip and then Cherryl downed the rest. She was lucky to make it through security as once she had finished it, we discovered it was 40% alcohol. She needed to have a good rest once we found a café. It was quite funny as the security guard came over to us when Cherryl was sipping away and he said, “Australian?” He had worked in Australia and he laughed when Doug told them what had happened. The good ending was they were allowed to keep the beautiful bottle which was to be a present for Tim. Boy we laughed.
After spending some time in a café on the wi-fi and drinking coffee and eating crunchy Danish sandwiches, it was time for us to go to our gate. There was another lengthy security review. Good to know really. Our two-hour SAS flight was uneventful until we started to descend. There was quite a bit of cloud cover and we hit a patch of turbulence – I don’t like it!!
Now it was lovely knowing we were in London. The challenge was to pick up the rent a car from Avis. We stood near the sign and the young man said that we needed to go outside and a bus would come and pick us up. And it did and we were off to get our car. After some discussions we agreed to adjust my booking to an A380 Audi. We sat in the car park for 15 minutes with the motor running trying to work out how the sat nav worked. Finally, we were off. It was spitting to rain and before long we joined the long queue of traffic on the M4. We were still getting acquainted with “Suri” and we were not sure if she knew where we wanted to go.
Firstly, it was a stop and see the queen at Windsor. Unfortunately, we were too late and her gate was shut but that didn’t stop us from seeing her village and taking photos at the front yard. What an amazing castle! The schedule had us staying near Stonehenge so we decided to have dinner at the pub across the road from Windsor Castle – Horse and Groom. What a way to start the English leg of our trip with pie and vegies for dinner. Finally, we joined Suri and she had us heading west. It was fortunate that I had looked at a motel, 7 miles from Stonehenge but I had not been game enough to put my credit card details on the site. There was a break in the trees and I spotted a building off the highway that I recognised as the old stables now knows as a B&B. They said they thought they had a room but needed to check an online booking. It was probably me who still had something open in Australia. Anyway, it was not flash but is was clean and reasonably comfortable - £83 bed and breakfast.

Posted by gpric6 14:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 13 Stockholm, Sweden

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

sunny 24 °C

This morning, we were woken at around 5am to the loud honking of the fog horn of the ship. Apparently our berthing came into doubt due to the heavy fog. It takes around 4 hours for the ship to navigate the narrow channel into Stockholm. When I finally rose out of bed, I was shocked to see rocks and trees at our door basically and we are on the 16th floor!! The fog cleared fortunately and the view was amazing. The air was crisp and clear and the water as calm as can be. There was greenery everywhere along with quaint houses set amongst the fir trees.
Stockholm did not disappoint. We set foot towards Gamla Stan, the one of the largest and best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe. It was probably a good 3 kilometre walk. The cobble stoned streets led us to many shops and we were fortunate that the tourist buses had not arrived. The shops were not yet open so it was very peaceful. We made various turns through the streets and came across Storkyrkan, the Stockholm cathedral and also the Royal Palace which was once home to the king of Sweden. We stopped at the latter for a coffee and a traditional Swedish cinnamon bun. There was a scenic viewpoint to look out over the next “island” (Stockholm is comprised of 14 islands) which housed the beautiful House of Parliament. While strolling towards the armoury we ran into the Lukins.
Along the waterfront side of the palace, there were two impressive waterfalls either side of another beautiful entrance to the palace. We crossed the canal and strolled through Karl XII park, which had several fountains and flower beds. Nearby was the Opera House. As we went back toward Gamla Stan we were able to walk through the rear of the parliament house, a very impressive building indeed.
Having completed some souvenir shopping we headed back to the ship as it was due to sail at 1.30 and we did not want to be late. We were able to meet up with Cherryl and Doug for lunch on board and take in the beautiful scenery and glorious sunshine outside.
The ship set sail around 2pm, after all three and a half thousand guests were back on board. It’s unbelievable that people come back late. The blast of the horns heralded our departure, a manouevre to certainly observe. The ship had to spin the stern out into the harbour and complete a 180 degree turn so that it could head out. We are talking about over 1 000 feet of machinery – amazing.
ABBA music played on the Lido deck as we sailed back through the narrow passage that we had come through in the morning. It was so picturesque, so much so, we stood on our balcony and admired the magnificent view for hours. I think, of all the cities, Stockholm would have to have been my favourite, although I loved them all. As we sailed away, rain showers came across the archipelago. Seagulls hovered between decks, hoping for a morsel of food. The captain sounded the horns just before we left the inlet for the open sea and the villagers lined the banks to wave and wish us well on our way back into the Baltic. Doug, Cherryl and Ross drank a glass of red on the balcony and room service bought me hot water to have a cup of tea. How wonderful!!
Our dinners over the cruise have been somewhat special. We have had lobster tail, scallops, escargots, pheasant, pasts as well as delicious soups and many desserts. Of course, this is on top of a full breakfast of who knows what and any lunch that you might choose to have. The bags might be growing but I am sure the bodies have made the most growth.
Last night we went to the last show by the ship’s cast. The talent of these young singers and dancers has to be admired and the set that they build leaves nothing to be desired. Every show has been amazing. The sea was calm throughout the night was calm as it has been every night, with only the occasional sideways vibration.

Posted by gpric6 03:30 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

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