Well hello again,
Not happy at present....just packing to catch plane this afternoon for another 26 hour journey home, it's raining, we are told we are coming home to the coldest day in Oz since forever and we saw the Ashes yesterday ....what more could happen.....WELL let me tell you......
This part of the journey has been labelled the S, D & S trip.....short for...Strikes, Deviations and Scaffolding!!!
Our planned and paid for trip from Calais, France to Dover, England was while the French dock guys decided to have a rolling (forever!) strike with texts (in French) going backwards and forwards until we finally phoned Ireland (ferry HO) to be told to turn up, hope for the best and pray the ferry you catch actually ends up in the port it is destined for...just great!!!
We were the lucky ones, we actually made it but heard lots of unhappy stories from other travellers. We then picked up our prepaid hire car to set off for our prepaid accommodation (all which would have been forfeited because it seems strikes aren't always covered by travel insurance..what the!)
Because the strikes had been going on for days there was up to 30 miles of trucks on both sides with fuming drivers swearing in at least 20 languages and just to top it off, on the English side, there was major road works needing to close completely the main motorway from Dover and divert all the ferry traffic to minor side roads.....welcome to English roads and traffic....now all of this would have been fine except alcohol in England is very expensive!!
This theme continued throughout our last 10 days with the only underground strike in London for 10 years and scaffolding on most major tourist attractions, we were feeling very unwelcome!
Luckily our first night stay was at a B&B in a charming village near Stonehenge where we had paid for the cooked 3 course dinner as well, which included all our wine, that landlady may never receive Australians again.!! Her name was Kim and she was delightful and we left feeling like we had stayed at a friend's home!
We then drove the next day to the Cotswolds (NW of London about 100 miles) for 4 days in another B & B that turned out just as lovely with a pub with great food only 5 minutes walk away. Kev loved this as the driving in England is very tiring, tiny roads, confusing signage (even now finally in English!) and loads of traffic even in the countryside.
As you see from the photos it really is a lovely part of England and everything you imagine English countryside to be, so 4 days of sightseeing including Blenheim Palace (anazing and huge) was had with nightly pub dinners etc.
Next was the daunting task of driving to London to drop off our luggage at Greenwich then get the car back to London city airport for drop off and a train trip back to Greenwich...EASY-NOT! Our host said it should take about one and half hours, Google said 2 hours and reality said 4 and half plus drop off which proved to be interesting as the GPS's shortest route (unknown to us!) included a car ferry across the Thames, which when we got there were told the next one was 40 minutes away and we only had 40 mins to get the car back without incurring another days rental. We ditched the GPS saw some signs with a plane on them and went on the extreme driving tour of London....and yes we made it!!! If we return to Australia alcoholics I believe there is damn good reasons......bloody foreigners!
We then had 5 days to explore London, doing all the regular touristy things, our 2 bedroom apartment at Greenwich was lovely and all actually went quite well. We saw a show in Piccadilly Circus, did the "hop on hop off" boat and bus, all of which reminded us what a lovely, fast paced city this is!
Although I have raved about France's beauty I have to admit England is just as lovely but the words quaint and cute come more to mind......and both are grand due to their ancient histories and buildings......
Now for that plane trip home and YES our own bed!!!!!