Tidbits, Guide, Favorite Photographs and Stays
Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
32Trip End Sep 23, 2009
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Where I stayed
I have been changing the main photograph on the home page here and some of you may have missed some of my favorites so I am adding them to this entry.
We have found the food in all areas of the UK to be excellent except the coffee which is weak and awful tasting. We ask for strong coffee, we go to Starbucks, nothing tastes like the coffee back home. It is a good thing I like tea! It does not seem that the UK is big on decaf. Most places do not have decaf tea so I bought two boxes when I found some and carry my own. Gordon says that they cannot charge you for hot water so this is a nice cost savings measure :) Every one of our accommodations offer this great hot pot that boils your water and offers tea with cookies or biscuits. It is a very "civilized" routine to stop and have tea and cakes in the afternoon and eat your dinner after 7:00 PM
If I had it to do over I would bring another 2 empty suitcases! I have purchased so many gifts and now I have to figure out how to get them home!
If you come to Europe be prepared, most places you have to haul your luggage up several flights of stairs. We are lucky to have a driver to do this for us. I consolidated our things into 1 suitcase which we bring in every night and the other stays in the car. Every week I change the suitcase to add or subtract the clothes thus making it less work for us to haul our things in. We have only "dressed up" 2 nights. In Europe most people are traveling and it is not expected for your to where anything but your travel clothes
In the UK hiking and walking is very big. You see many stores with this type of equipment and many maps of the walking trails. People are fit and hardy here and you see many elderly on the move with their walking sticks and back packs.
There are so many castles in the UK that you could not see them all. One was enough for us to view the inside and we did this on a rainy day, the others make great photographs unless you are really into castles! Also many churches, cathedrals, and Abby's. We enjoy photographing these beautiful places.
Hiring Gordon Cheape (yes his last name is really Cheape and do I every give him a bad time about it!), from G&C Touring was the BEST thing we did when we set up this trip. He is FABULOUS. So respectful, so accommodating, so knowledgeable. He is not our driver, our guide, but he is truly become a friend. I told him "how to find out about a person in 30 days?" take a trip like this. You are together 10 hours a day and I cannot get over how wonderful Gordon is. He has made the trip for Glenn to photograph an outstanding experience. He helps him in and out and watches over us so we don't get run over by cars as it is different with the driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Of course Gordon asks me daily "what side do I drive on in the car Vicki?", which is obviously the right side of the car here of course! Many nights we go to dinner with Gordon as our accommodations do not offer dinner and he has been such a wonderful companion to us. We all get on like 3 peas in a pod! Prior to our coming Gordon did the entire trip as a reconnaissance mission to find out all the places we might want to see
Weather here is changeable as it is everywhere. We have been so fortunate in having only a few rainy days when we started out during the first week of our trip. We worked around this by either doing inside things like visiting the castle and a malt whiskey distillery and also traveling on these days. We had great weather on the Isle of Sky when we needed it and when we left it was raining! Since then we have had great weather and Gordon is amazed. The sun has been shining and Glenn has been taking great photo's.
We have stayed at 5 Star accommodations throughout our trip but some of them are more memorable than others due to a variety of factors. I have listed some of my favorites below and why:
1. Edinburgh-The Violet Bank House-Comfortable, Homey and the Hosts were lovely, excellent food
2. Loch Lommond-The Tarbet House-The view from our room was nature's eye candy, it was just spectacular
4. St. David's-Crug Glas-I think this is my personal favorite! The honeymoon suite we have encompasses the entire top floor, it is so spacious. Jacuzzi tub, full living room and separate bedroom, big screen TV and Internet Access. The food here is excellent and they offer dinner. The owners are very hospital Welsh people. One could not ask for more.