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Trip Report London/Oxford trip-6 extra days due to Hurricane after Greece trip

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I got "stuck" in London and Oxford due to Hurricane Sandy the last week of October.
I visited Chatsworth. I only regret that I could only spent 4 hours there, but will go back to spend time in a nearby village and explore the estate further and some surrouding towns. I had a great meal there, the gift stores are superb and the programs for children look really good.

Oxford, one of my favorite places - the Ashmolean is one of my favorite museums and tea at the Randolph and EvenSong at ChristChurch Cathedral can't be beat. I also like Blackwell's Music and Book Stores and Waterstone's. In late October I ate lunch at Cherwood Boat Yard owned by a French family; half cooks, the other half builds and rents punts. The view of the Cherwell is terrific, as is the food. Also had ales at the Mitre and Head of the River.

Bath has such great sights that it would be hard to do them in one day. I especially like having tea or lunch in the Pump Room as it is accompanied by music. The Baths can take a couple of hours to see, the Royal Crescent, Circus, and walking around looking at the shops can easily fill your time.

Salisbury-I went on the London Walks Tour from London and visited town, cathedral and Stone Henge again. Great Tour-highly recommended and met some nice people. Also went back to the Cathedral on my own to hear EvenSong. (I sing in an Anglican style choir in US so I always hit a few EvenSongs in the UK)

Bristol-I have friends who have lived in Bristol for years so I go every year to see them. The downtown area has been developed along the river nicely. If you like to shop Cabot Centre has a zillion stores and I like going up to Clifton to some of the design stores. Great cathedral and St. Mary Redcliffe; also like the Georgian House and Red House (Tudor).

London-Went back to Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace. Kew Gardens is expensive for what it is but I could go the HCP every time I'm in London. Also visited the V&A and the British Museum to see the Shakespeare show. It featured folios and also videos of cast members of the Royal Shakespeare Company reading select passages from the various plays - Ian McKellan and Harriet Walter were among the cast.

St. Albans-Daytour with London Walks-Vivian was a great guide. We walked through the town to the Cathedral. In the afternoon, I left the tour a few minutes early to get to the Roman Museum and Theater before it got too dark. Nice town and only 12 minutes from West Ham on the overground express.

The only bad thing was that I spent alot of money because the hotels were booked that week due to the Boston Patriots playing an NFL game at Wembley. I stayed at the Grange St. Paul's which is lovely and well located but more expensive than my usual places which were full. I was at the airport when it was announced that JFK would be closing before our arrival so we were told to call our airline and book a room for at least 3 nights.

Before London I visited Greece and took a day-trip to Marmaris, Turkey day trip. Rhodes was lovely (stayed at Cava d'Oro Hotel near the Cruise Ship Port in Old Town) and Athens. Rhodes was its lovely self and the QEII and two huge Costa liners were in the port the second day I was there. I also went out to Kallithea Therme, initially built by the Italians but renovated recently. A very nice spot to have lunch, swim and incredible view. You can bus or taxi from Rhodes Town. I would love to live in Rhodes and maybe someday I will (at least part time).
There was less graffiti I expected in Athens. There were no demonstrations when I was there in October and every one was very friendly. II would like to recommend the Walks in Athens Food Tour and the tour of Mycenae/Epidaurus that was a Chat Tour. Both were excellent and you will be helping our locals.
Christmas is coming and I bought more jewelry at The Art Store across from the New Acropolis Museum (Makrygianni Ave.), a great selection, only local artisans, not junk but also more expensive. I have shopped there since 2000 and I have not been disappointed. I will not buy junk and I like to help craftspeople in the countries I visit because I went to art school and these people are being slammed by Chinese and other cheap competition.

I stayed at the Philippos Hotel on Mitseon Street again. Much prefer the area south of the Parthenon to Monstariki or the Plaka itself. Nice room, terrific view and a really good breakfast-the receptionists on all shifts are very helpful. They are a sister hotel of the Herodion and you can arrange to eat at the Herodion or have a drink up on the Herodion RoofTop.

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