Now that all the reservations have been made for the cruise, flights, hotels or BnB’s, and the excursions, we are more and more excited to be catching that plane for Jolly Ole…. We have our currency exchanged and bags packed, this is our first big trip abroad since 1975! Wow, do you think anything has changed?
Thursday May 11
We decided to leave a half hour early. We just passed Exit 27 (27Kms from home) in Niagara when I asked Terry if he had the English Pounds. He said no as he thought I had them so I looked in my purse and not there. Just after Exit 27, the traffic is dead stopped. It took almost half hour to get to the next exit to turn around. Driving faster then we usually do, we headed back home, got the money and headed back out. Since we knew the traffic, we left the highway and took city surface streets and avoided all the stopped traffic. Whew, we still got to Mark & Terri’s on time. Mark was taking us to the airport but he calls, his bus just broke down and he is waiting for the next bus. What a start to our memorable trip!
We made it to the airport with lots of time to spare and check in was easy. Our plane was full. Hard to believe how many people travel and with kids. We are near the back and Terry doesn’t have much leg room. We got a chicken dinner, watched The Passenger (not a good movie) and then at 11pm we tried to sleep. Yes, sleep was an impossible thing. Shortly I was watching the night turn into day and by midnight we saw the sunrise.
Friday May 12
We landed in Heathrow Airport and now on our own. We chose a hotel near the cruise terminal in Southampton but were not sure how to get there. After a few questions and directions, we start walking to the bus terminal. Little did we know how far that was, Barb & I dragging our bags and belongings through Heathrow to the central bus depot – talk about green. Bought tickets to Southampton for 43 pounds. Remember, it has been 42 years since we were here so we were surprised that the roads are so narrow and the vegetation grows right to the edge of the road. Coupled with driving on the left, it got scary watching the road.
When we arrived at the bus terminal in Southampton, our next challenge was how do we get to the hotel? From back home, it looked like we could walk but decided we were too weary so after a few questions, we decided to get a cab. We get picked up by a nice guy named Sid. He asks why we picked a place so far away. We are going to be two towns away from the boat terminal and after a 35 minute drive down lots of narrow roads we reach the New Place Hotel. It is out in the middle of nowhere! Good pick Terry. Sid took us around to find a pub for supper and we found one within walking distance to the hotel. The taxi ride with tip was another 40 pounds. We checked in and had a room at the end of the middle unit.
The room was smallish but the bed was very comfortable. We walked around the area to learn of the history of the estate. It was originally a house and was lived in for 55 years, then a boys school and now a hotel. It is beautiful. We then walked down to the pub for some much anticipated dinner – first pub dinner in the UK in too many years. It is a nice pub and while we ordered beer we stood and talked to one of the locals. They were all very friendly and we had a great fish n chip dinner.
It feels so nice to be back in my birth country. I know this may be our last time here in England. The houses and trees make me feel like I have come home.
Stay tuned for more of our trip around the UK….