Ira's Visit to the UK and France

Old Nov 6th, 2013, 09:39 PM
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Thanks, Ira & Michael. I'm thinking I will drive only in the rural parts of Derbyshire and Yorkshire, and use public trans for the rest. I do plan to get automatic trans. One less thing to worry about.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 12:33 AM
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I get Mrs Bilbo to remind me everytime we get back in the car.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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>I get Mrs Bilbo to remind me ...

If you get a GPS, that will also remind you.

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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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Hi all,


That night we had dinner at The Falcon in Poulton (http://www.falconinnpoulton.co.uk/ ). According to the TomTom it would take about 12 min to make the drive. I checked this on maps.google – 12 min. So, twenty minutes before we booked, we set out.

It took 40 min. My Lady Wife began to be concerned after about 20 min. When we arrived Gianni was unhappy, thinking that we had stood him up, but warmed up after I explained what had happened.

Dinner was very nice. Onion and tomato tartlet with Brie and a terrine for starters, Seafood tasting plate and fish and chips, ice cream for dessert. The wine and beer were also very good. (Highly recommended).

There is still time to reserve a table for Xmas and/or New Years.

Another visit to the Twilight Zone: It took 12 min to get back.

A visit to Oxford. Having been apprised that parking was difficult to find and expensive in Oxford, I had planned to take the train, which required a 50 min drive to the train station.

Then I learned about https://www.parkatmyhouse.com/. For 10 GBP for the day, we were able to park in a private parking space about a 15 min walk from the Bodliean. This made the visit easier and opened vast new vistas of where to eat.

We toured the town, stopping at the Sheldonian Theater, The Bodliean Library, the Ashmolean Museum and various sights and pubs in between. It was a very pleasant day.

Returning to the car, we drove up to The Trout (http://www.thetroutoxford.co.uk/home/ ) for dinner. This is a very nice resto, on the river bank, with a very interesting ambience. Roberta declared the grilled Salmon excellent. I sampled several of the draft beers and ales and stopped taking notes. (Very Recommended).

Tomorrow we visit Blenheim, birthplace of Winston S. Churchill, not to be confused with the author Winston Churchill.

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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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It would be even cheaper to make use of the park and ride system: http://parkandride.oxfordbus.co.uk/
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Hi thurs,

That's good to know.

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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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Hi ira!

No problem. BTW, Winston S Churchill was also a writer. He won the Nobel prize for Literature....
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 02:34 PM
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Enjoying your trip report.
Hoping to visit many of your places next year as I have a son working in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.

As for driving we love driving in the UK, very comfortable for us.
We just returned from driving in Germany for 17 days with a manual car and the hardest part I find is gauging how much room I have on the passengers side of the road. And also hate those autobahns they drive too fast!
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Old Nov 9th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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BTW, Winston S Churchill was also a writer. He won the Nobel prize for Literature....>>

i discovered the other day why Churchill wrote as Winston S Churchill. There was apparently an american writer called Winston Churchill, so he added the S so as to distinguish between them.
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Old Nov 9th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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Very entertaining trip report!
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Old Nov 11th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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Thank you, kl

More or less bright and early, after another nice breakfast, we set out for Blenheim Palace (http://www.blenheimpalace.com/ ) having purchased tickets in advance. The TomTom led us through Minster Lovell, Finstock, Charlbury and Woodleys (love those English names) to the car park.

Our tour guide was very entertaining and helpful. The palace was just what a palace should be.
(If you can’t be King, it’s also good to be a Duke.)

We returned by the long way, via Shipston-on-Stour, Chipping Camden, Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water, all very interesting towns and villages.

We had a very nice dinner, Salmon for one and Rouget for the other, at The Inn at Fossbridge
(http://www.cotswolds-country-pub-hot.../sunday-lunch/ ).

And so to bed.

Next day we visited Highgrove Gardens (see above) and then stopped at the Chedworth Roman Villa (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth-roman-villa/ ).

We were very pleased to have found this ancient site, tucked away in the middle of nowhere at the end of a long, unpaved road. Upon inquiring why the owner would have built such a luxurious mansion in the middle of nowhere, I was informed that it was only 6 mi from Cirencester. In the 2nd – 4th C, it would not have been as isolated as it is now.

On Sunday, we packed up, said our goodbyes and headed for Portsmouth, where we were to embark on the ferry for St Malo.

On the way, we drove through several quaint and pleasant villages before stopping at Avebury to view the stone circle (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury/ ). Very pleasant people in the village. Quiet and interested tourists. Good beer at the pub.

The circle is BIG. You can walk among the stones. There is a reasonable amount of didactic material to help one appreciate the site. Recommended.

Heading South, we approached Stonehenge
(http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d...es/stonehenge/ ), for which I had prepurchased tickets.
It was mobbed. The nearest parking was about ½ mi down the road. There was a long line of people walking out to the site, and a long line coming back. We took some pictures, and moved on.

Coming up, we cross La Manche (The English Channel).

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Old Nov 11th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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How did your guide at Blenheim Palace discuss Winston Churchill;he was born there (in the cloakroom if I remember correctly)? Our guide, to our surprise, dismissed him as unimportant as he was not a Duke like the owner of Blenheim.
I am enjoying your report immensely as you visited many places on our travel wish list including the yet to come St-Malo.
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Old Nov 11th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Wow, Ira. I've heard Stonehenge can be mobbed, and I'm planning to visit in July. Will attempt to get there before they open and hope for the best. I'll attempt to buy a ticket in advance (on National Trust site?). I will also be going to Avebury. It sounds like you made good use of time, and that your schedule was efficient. I'm making a mental note.

A ferry to St. Malo. Can't wait to read that part.
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Hi Susan..don't know about July, but we went in September and arrived first thing in the morning (opened at 9:30...we got there about 9:45 or 10). We were able to park in the lot, and we beat the onslaught of tour busses that arrive a little later.

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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 09:42 AM
  #116  
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Hi HT,

>How did your guide at Blenheim Palace discuss Winston Churchill...<

"This is the room where WC was born". That was all.
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Since we didn’t spend time at Stonehenge, we arrived in Portsmouth rather early for our crossing (http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/fleet ). It being a Sunday afternoon, I was rather leery about being able to get a cab from the Europcar site at the Limberline Trading Estate and conceived of the following plan: We would drive to the ferry terminal, find a cab and have the driver take us to the Europcar office.

It worked, but not without a little hassle.

A: It is a very large area and it is not apparent exactly where one is supposed to go. The TomTom didn’t know either. However, because it was Sunday and we were early, I just drove all over, ignoring the one-way signs and the lights, until I found a taxi.

B: I pulled up behind the cab, and was just getting out when a very officious person came up behind me and said, “You can’t stop here”. He was quite adamant about my not getting out of the car, but instead moving on.
Slyly pretending to be leaving, I drove past the cab very slowly and called out to him to please lead me to Limberline.

Once out of the terminal, we stopped, made our arrangements, and everything proceeded smoothly. Cost of leading us to a petrol station that would take cash, transferring at Europcar and returning was about 16 GBP.

Crossing the Channel: We presented our documents to a pleasant young woman at the desk and were given directions as to where to go and what to do. We loaded our luggage onto a trolley (buggy down here), wandered through “duty free”, had a cuppa and proceeded through the doors when the signal was given.

At this point a steward approached us, took over the trolley and led us to our stateroom – an Outside 3 berth Commodore cabin.

The accommodations were quite nice and the service was excellent. One might have thought we were Royalty (or at least Rt Hon). The VIP treatment lasted right to the point where our steward (who refused a tip) set us down at the entrance to the French Terminal and bid us goodbye.

I apologize to whoever recommended we do this, because I’ve forgotten who it was, but “Thanks”.

Crash! To get a trolley, I needed a 1 Euro coin. We didn’t have any coins between us. So, we dragged our luggage into France.

Getting to the car rental at the ferry terminal was very easy. We were given a Ford SUV, which was a pleasure to drive.

Off we went to see Mt St Michel (http://www.ot-montsaintmichel.com/en/accueil.htm ). HINT: Parking lot 11 is a short walk to the shuttle buses out to the town. Unfortunately, my Lady Wife, who had been fighting a cold (or something) for a week or so began to succumb. We took some photos and returned to the car.

From there we went to Le Coquillage (http://www.maisons-de-bricourt.com/l...uillage-en.php ) which was my primary purpose for the whole month-long trip.

Because, like a boxer who is no longer in fighting trim I am no longer the trencherman I once was, I had to decline “Dishes that change with the wind and the moon from O. Roellinger 135 € (emblematic dishes of the restaurant Olivier Roellinger and new creations) and The giant seafood platter and the sweets trolley (for 2 pers. min.) 68 € each.

Because Roberta was beginning to feel under the weather, we eschewed the Tasting menu (for 2 pers. min.) 71 € each. I settled for The Big Selection from the Bay 62 €, while she had a selection of various oysters.

Magnifique. Very Highly Recommended. Also very expensive.

After lunch, we went off to our hotel La Maison Tirel Guerin (http://www.tirel-guerin.com/?lang=en ) where Roberta collapsed.

The Guerin turned out to be an excellent choice: Top notch service. First-class accomodations. Excellent food. House made breads and pastries. Very Highly Recommended.

The staff was very nice, allowing Roberta to spend the next few days in bed without disturbing her. They even provided a small amount of nursing care – especially in the way of delicious chicken soup and directions to the nearest pharmacies.

The hotel is directly opposite the train stop. Don’t worry. There was no discernible noise except for the one time I went out to watch the TGV go by.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you a thing about Brittany.

We dropped the car off at the train station in St Malo, waited an hour or so and arrived in Paris without incident.

More to come

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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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>> Europcar site at the Limberline Trading Estate <

Probably its one and only ever mention on Fodors. I know it only too well as my work is within walking distance (will be there tomorrow to pick up a car).
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Were the others able to see Brittany? If so, can you pass on any second hand tips?
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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I just returned from a very short trip to Brittany this week and made a little report about colorless Brest and the road from there in the direction of Mont Saint Michel.
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