You’re probably wondering why I’ve become such a little snoot and neglected my blog for so long. Well, my mother and I left for England on September 2nd. It has always been her dream to go, so I bought her a trip there for her birthday in July. We went through CAA and booked a Trafalgar bus tour through England and Scotland.
Our flight left Pearson Airport in Toronto at around 9pm on the 2nd. As soon as we took off, we both took a sleeping pill for the almost 7 hour trip. When we first booked, Jan and I weren’t sitting together. It was a total bummer. Fortunately, I was able to switch our seats before we left for the airport – together but at the very back of the plane. It meant we wouldn’t be able to pug our seats back, but a least we didn’t have to worry about someone kicking our seats (which I seem to get on every flight!).
We had a bit of an issue in the airport. I cleared security with no problem, but not my little mother! The metal detector went off so they had to scan her with the wand. The thing kept going off pretty much over every inch of her body. I was trying to decide whether to stand there and watch or walk away and pretend I didn’t know her. Trust me, I was really tempted once they made her go into the full body scanner! On the floor were two foot prints where she had to place her feet. I had no idea how she was going to spread her little stubby legs that far apart! She managed though. What a perfect picture that would have been – her in the scanner tube, legs spread and hands above her head! I felt bad laughing at her while she was in there but it was impossible not to.
We had a nice meal at Casey’s near our gate. Little did we know that they would be serving us dinner on the plane. We obviously chose to pass on it and try to sleep instead. I think we both ended up with a few hours before touching down at Heathrow Airport.
The weather was quite nice when we arrived. We both brought a jacket and umbrella in anticipation of British weather. For most of the trip, it was in the low to mid 20′s, so it was more than tolerable.
Our first night was at the Hilton Olympia near Hammersmith in London. Since we arrived at the hotel just before noon, we had a few hours to ourselves before starting the tour the next day. We first took a nap for about an hour, then went for a walk toward the shops and King’s Mall in Hammersmith. It wasn’t quite as relaxing as we would have liked because we spent a couple hours going to different mobile shops to try and get some answers as to why I wasn’t able to text on my iPhone. I paid $20 for an unlimited international texting plan while on our tour. I was going to text Chuck when we landed to let him know we were alive. I tried but I couldn’t connect to a network. Our fourth and final mobile phone shop was O2. The woman who helped us was SO nice and accommodating. I told her that I was trying to text my boyfriend so he’d know we safely made it to London. She checked all of the settings in my iPhone and even tried one of their network cards, but still no connection. She said it is probably because my network company didn’t unblock the international bars so that I could connect to a UK network. She was kind enough to let me text Chuck via her work phone and also let me send him a email through their computer. I asked Chuck to contact Telus and have them check my account and see what the problem was. I emailed him again from the hotel, asking if had had any updates. I ended up calling him that night and he said he was on the phone with Telus for over two hours. I felt so bad that he went through that, especially since they weren’t able to fix the problem. He ended up calling them back the next night and he was still on the phone with the guy when I phoned him. I think the guy said that someone with Telus didn’t code my phone properly to allow it to connect with a UK network. He finally got me connected, although it was two days of aggravation and a nice chunk of change to phone Canada and email from the hotel to get it resolved. By the way, there is almost no free wi-fi in the UK!
We met the rest of our Trafalgar group and tour guide the next morning. We all piled in the bus and headed to our first destination – through the rolling Cotswolds Hills to Stratford-Upon-Avon. On our way, we passed quite a few houses with thatched roofs:
We had a group photo taken outside of Anne Hathaway’s cottage.
A bunch of little ducklers waddled by in the background:
We then drove into the town to visit the birthplace of Shakespeare and wandered around some of the shops. We didn’t end up making any purchases, but stay tuned!
There was this funky statue artist-dude performing:
This reminded Jan and I of the clock tower in the middle of the main street in Niagara-On-The-Lake:
Back on the bus and past the statue of Lady Godiva. Wow! We were so lucky to have Anne as our tour guide. Everyone knew exactly what we were looking at plus the majority of its history, as she was a walking encyclopedia!
The next visit was to Coventry to check out two Cathedrals. The original Coventry Cathedral was just a shell, as it was bombed during WWII. They had built its replacement along side of the original. Both were amazing to view – it hard to get your head around the fact that a building (at least what was left it) was hundreds of years old.
Here is a sculpture of St. Michael’s victory over the devil:
My mother would call this a statue of a blond celery stick:
Statue entitled “Reconciliation”:
There were still a few fragments of glass in some of the windows:
These “bombs” were located out front of the chapel:
I’ll stop there for now. I shall continue with my trip in my next blog. I’ll try to do one every day or two and share more of our great experience!
Today’s symptoms: We had our seven hour flight back home yesterday so needless to say, I’m rather tired today. I also have a really bad headache and have had more than normal sharp pains in my hands and arms. Blah!