A Travellerspoint blog

Thursday 21 May Newcastle to Scotland

From Newcastle this morning, we headed to part of Hadrians Wall where we noticed so many walls and buildings nearby, were obviously made out so stolen stone from this historic wall. That was a bit sad actually.

From there, we crossed the border into Scotland and stopped in Jedburgh, a very lovely town where we went into Mary, Queen of Scots house which was really interesting. We also saw the Abby which was burned down basically on orders of nasty King Henry then VIII in the 1500s and never rebuilt. that was sad also especially seeing tombs within the walls, standing among the ruins.

The bus trip took us through such beautiful scenery as we headed on through to Edinburgh. Here, we stay for 2 nights in another very comfortable hotel, The Edinburgh Capital Hotel which is just out of the township and beside a lovely walkway through the forest. Des and I braved the cold and walked to where it is very high up and we could see for miles, the landscape of Edinburgh. It is a historic walkway where we saw rabbits and bluebells but no badgers that apparently live there.

We got out of the bus in Edinburgh City to freezing cold wind. We asked the temp for the day at the hotel and were told it was a mild 11 to 17 today. Year right! More like 11 with a wind chill of 2. I was so cold I could hardly think straight. Des and I found a little Italian restaurant to have a warm lunch and we felt better and ready to face the biting wind and discover the city before heading on to the hotel. We will do more of that tomorrow on tour and hopefully, it will be warmer. The old part of the city, which we walked through was absolutely lovely even in the cold. We enjoyed watching a street performer and visited a small market which was held in an lovely old church. We also looked through St Giles Presbyterian Cathedral. By now dear readers, you can see we enjoy church's emmensly.

Posted by RitchieOE 10:51 Comments (1)

Wed 20 May Coventy to York to Newcastle Upon Tyne

A sleep in this morning and we left at 9am in our bus as we didn't have so far to travel. Better weather today but still a very cold wind. Similar to mid winter temperature in Whangamata.

We had a yummy dinner in the Hotel last night which was part of our tour inclusions and tonight we have the same at Jury's Inn here in Newcastle, which we have just arrived at. Another nice room but this city is not as pretty by the looks of it, as York.

York was wonderful. We definitely didn't have enough time there as we only saw the Shambles, York Minster Cathedral and walked a little way on the wall of the city. We had a yummy lunch of leek and potato soup with bread for 5 Pounds each which was just what we needed.

The Shambles is the olde streets where the businesses and shops are in almost tumbledown buildings but are so quaint with their leaning walls and ancient beams.

Walking along the ancient wall around the town is spectacular. You are quite high up giving you a great view of the town. We would have loved to go to the Viking Museum but ran out of time as we spent most of our time in the cathedral, York Minster. It is huge with many areas to worship and a crypt. We had particularly wanted to go to this so that was very important to us.

The trouble when you are on an organised tour is that you never have enough time in a town really. I think we needed about 4 days to see everything. Sadly we had only a few hours.

We have a great group of people on our tour and we are all getting along nicely. We are enjoying our guide very much as well which is so good as we have been on a tour of France where were had the tour spoilt by the guide.

Posted by RitchieOE 09:17 Comments (0)

Tuesday 19 May Finally on our way out of London

Up at 5.45am, bags out of room 6.30am, breakfast and away at 8am. There is 37 of us on the trip. A fun tour director, great bus driver, comfortable bus with free Wifi and we are all enjoying it hugely presently. There is 4 kiwis, lots of Aussies, a few Americans, a Canadian and 4 from Hong Kong so a good mix. we are making friends already.

We have travelled out of London today, heading north to Hampton Court Palace, where we stopped for a look around the gardens then onto Oxford for a walking tour and free time m then onto Anne Hathaways Cottage and free time in Straftford Upon Avon before travelling on to Hinkley Island Hotel just north of Coventry. Tonight, we have a huge room that would fit our London hotel room into it twice I think. Just about to have dinner in the dining room with the tour group. Very organised here. The concierge met us all at the entrance with menus to choose our dinner tonight. So far, this tour of 24 days is shaping up to be wonderful. Must wear warm clothes tomorrow though as it is very cold and sudden cold showers every so often then lovely sun but a cold wind. Really like winter in NZ and I have worn a t shirt and summer Cardi today which was not enough.

Posted by RitchieOE 10:44 Comments (0)

Monday 18 May London

Wet morning and our first trip out with Cosmos was to see the sites of London. Mostly, we were in the bus just passing places like the houses of Parliment, Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral but we did get a tour of St Paul's Cathedral and got out in the rain at Buckingham Palace. Too wet for the changing of the Gaurds which was a pity but our guide was excellent and his knowledge was amazing. Very impressed but pity it was wet but that's London for you. We had had 2 fine days and it cleared up beautifully in the afternoon so Des and I caught the tube to the Natural History Museum with about 1 Million others most of which were school parties. Pity children are no longer polite and let their elders past. I have never seen so many people climbing the stairs out of the tube station! Again, just a bit different to Whangamata in New Zealand. The Museum was spectacular when you got used to the crowds and it is free which is probably why it is so crowded.

We walked a long way around the Museum and then walked half way home to the Hotel before catching a bus for the last couple of stops. we decided to eat at a pub for dinner and then walked for miles, it seemed to find one. Aren't they usually on every corner in London? They certainly weren't in Kensington. I remembered the photo I had taken in the morning of the Prince of Wales Pub. As it was up a side road but very close to our hotel, we turned around and walked back miles, (it seemed), to get to it. When we were in London 3 years ago, we loved the Pub food, as some of you who read those blogs, will remember. Tired aching feet but very happy with our experiences in London before we begin our journey on to Coventry first up early tomorrow morning. An early night is what we must have for our early start. We will see London for another 3 days at the end of our tour on the 9th of June. We got quite cold this afternoon. Fleur, I think it was about 7 degrees. Only 40 degrees less that what we experienced in Abu Dhabi.

Posted by RitchieOE 11:28 Comments (0)

Sunday 17 May London Sunny and 16 degrees

A great sleep in our little room. Everyone is getting ready for our Cosmos tour now. We are told there are 37 on the tour, a lot of Aussies, maybe only 1 other Kiwi couple. We shall see them all tomorrow when we begin with a kitty highlights tour of London in the morning and leave London on Tuesday to begin proper.

Breakfast in the hotel is a huge English full breakfast in an equally huge dining room with lots of guests. A lovely blue sky morning so after checking in with the tour company, we headed off to buy our Oyster cards for transport in London and took a double decker bus to Harrods. It opens at 11.30 on Sunday so a walk through part of Hyde Park filled in time and people watching was good too. We certainly saw many Emirate women waiting to go into Harrods. They possibly have the money to afford the wares in such a shop. Certainly a great must do experience though.

We had arranged to meet Ant, Fleurs friend back at our Hotel. He lives just around the corner. He took us to lunch at a lovely Restaurant a short distance away. Thanks Ant and it was so lovely to meet you finally. Ant had taken Fleur under his wing when she came to London to live at the tender age of 19 and when things were really tough for her, she went to stay in the flat Ant shared with several other blokes for a while. He walked us back to our Hotel in case we got lost but we are getting the hang of this place now and we have a good map too.

We then decided to check out Portobello Road Markets which was also interesting and at the other end of the scale to Harrods. We got back to the hotel about 6pm having walked lots today so that has been good for us as it was too hot to do much exercise in Abu Dhabi. We are enjoying London emensely, just as we did 3 Years ago and the weather, although it has now clouded over, is surprisingly warm. We have not felt cold yet which surprised us after extreme temperatures this last few days.

We also visited the first of probably, many churches, just up the road from the hotel. Presently, it is having a new roof put on so many artefacts were covered up but there has been a church on that site since the 1100s so we loved it just as we did all the churches we visited in Europe, 3 years ago. We actually do not tire of churches, unlike some others do. This church also had a very friendly and well fed cat that ushered us back to the entrance and watched us leave, sitting near the busy street of Kensington Park Road with all the people hurrying by and all the buses and cars rushing by also.

Posted by RitchieOE 10:48 Comments (0)

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