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UK Trip, Final Chapter

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May 23rd, 2013, 12:16 PM
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UK Trip, Final Chapter

I realized that my other ongoing report ("UK TR, so far)" was now misnamed....so I am finishing here. I started it on the 2nd (or so) day of our trip, but now we have been at home for several days.

The Cotswolds

We left the Lake District for a long day of travel. We had 3 changes of train that was made more complicated b/c many months before when we (*I*) bought the tkts, the site kept telling me that no such trip existed. (Windermere to Moreton-in-Marsh.) Each place clearly had a train station and I was flummoxed and just plain mad! It took several false starts and much frustration to realize that the tkts, had to be booked separately for each leg of the trip and bought as separate trips!

The multiple changes went smoothly and we arrived at Moreton to see (what appeared to be) the ONE cab they had scurry off with a passenger. It was a little past 5:00 PM and we were a up in the air about what to do, the station was unmanned, as it was the end of their workday. DH had gone off in one direction and I spotted a nicely dressed man driving a Mercedes dropping off some people who appeared to be tourists and he was telling them that he would see them tomorrow.

As the tourists got out of earshot, I approached the man and asked if he was a taxi driver. (I know, not tactful, but I was tired and a tad stressed about how we would make our way to Chipping Campden, as I had mistakenly assumed that ALL train stations of any size would have several taxis). He very politely told me that he was a private tour guide. I then asked if he might possibly be going toward Campden and he said no, so I prevailed upon him once more to ask if he knew how one went about getting a taxi there. I must have looked crestfallen (or just old and bedraggled! ) He then looked at me and said, "I do not live too far from Campden and it is not that much out of my way, I will take you."

On the way, we chatted and we ascertained that he was completely booked for the time that we would be there, but he recommended another tour guide he knew. He was a delightful conversationalist and was the perfect representative of what we would think of as an English country gentleman. Even on our short (mercy) trip, he pointed out things that we might be interested in.

We arrived in Chipping Campden and we were delighted by it! The Hotel called The King's Hotel was lovely and was so pleasant after our stint in Bowness at the place where the hosts seemed to be in indentured servitude. (I exaggerate! it was not that bad, but this place was The Ritz in comparison, and also 80 pounds more per night, so apples and oranges...)

We strolled around---the late sunsets were SO great, you could go for a walk at 7:00PM and it felt like 3 or 4. The High Street is an unspoiled gem and we made our way down and came upon an enclosed garden called Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden. One entered via very short walkway, but the walls around the garden made it seem a million miles from the High Street only a few feet away. This was exactly the respite called for after a long day, made even better by the fact that we were the only people in it. There was a good sized circular path thru all the plants that were of Chinese origin. Mr. Wilson had made botanical trips to China, and I just now in reading the brochure see that he was also a director of Arnold Arboretum here in Boston! Small world.....

To be continued......
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May 23rd, 2013, 12:17 PM
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ttt - i love the tale of the driver taking pity on you!
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May 23rd, 2013, 01:13 PM
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Ah, the King's Hotel.
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May 23rd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Do you know it, bilbo? I really did like the place, the setting and the people who were running it. An unusual name and there is another hotel just out of town called the Kings' Arms, so there probably can be confusion. This is the website.

http://www.kingscampden.co.uk
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May 23rd, 2013, 03:38 PM
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it looks very nice, sw. and the prices quite reasonable [I made a dummy booking] for the standard of accommodation.
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May 23rd, 2013, 05:17 PM
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Well, ann, I heard 2 of the managers talking about bookings being a bit down--altho everywhere we went people were talking about how ghastly the spring weather had been and that would affect travel, I would think..... anyway, they were wondering if they were charging too much.....we paid 145 pounds for Th, and then 185 each for Fr and Sat. We did not book the standard room though, but rather "superior queen". It was a very nice room and very nice amenities--including fluffy robes!! I would recommend the place to anyone who wants a nice place to stay. They do seem to offer specials as well.
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May 23rd, 2013, 11:27 PM
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my dummy booking was less than that, sw! - about £100 per room per night I think which would be my absolute limit for B&B - perhaps they are heeding their own advice.

I think that people are having to be careful about their charges because of the economy and the weather - that said, our holiday cottage is full for the rest of the summer until mid September, but that is mostly with german guests who can't get enough of Cornwall whatever the weather.
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May 23rd, 2013, 11:27 PM
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"many months before when we (*I*) bought the tkts, the site kept telling me that no such trip existed"

It's just taken 0.3 nanoseconds for www.networkrail.co.uk to give me a complete list of train options between Windermere and MiM

All take longer than it would take to drive. But there's no problem finding the trains. Were you using some other site?
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May 24th, 2013, 12:49 AM
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Possibly you were looking too early for the tickets. If you want to get an idea of services available, just put in a date a few days' hence or look for the network map; but they don't usually sell tickets months in advance.

www,nationalrail.co.uk for bookings, btw.
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May 24th, 2013, 07:10 AM
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Thanks, Patrick, I do not think that was the issue, b/c after many hours of frustration, I finally was able to buy them on that day. It was just that b/c they involved more than 1 train line, that seemed to be the problem.....Unfortunately, I do not exactly remember how I figured out the problem that day, so I will have to re-invent the wheel, should I encounter the same difficulty again! But as the Bard says, "All's well that ends well" and our trip went very well!

Just for fun, I tried the URL that you gave me and got the same msg I was getting that day:

---Windermere to Moreton-In-Marsh
At this time, our online system can't find tickets or schedules for this trip.----

There is an old Yankee expression, one that they even used years ago in a Pepperidge Farm cookie (biscuit) commercial, where the wizened old guy when asked for directions replies, "Ayuh, you can't get *there* from *here*." That is how I felt when trying to buy the tickets!
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May 24th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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You can't get there from here but there you were in a pretty garden. Must be another sucessful application of those well learned social working skills!
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Jun 7th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Continuing---Chipping Campden

On our first full day in the town, after a really nice breakfast we went for a walk. Within a half mile or less from town, one is out in the sheep pastures. Everything in this town is just so beautiful! We stopped in a quaint used book shop and found a book on the history of the Cotswolds written in 1976 by the Gloucestershire archivist. Unlike so many books, it was just the size of a trade paperback and so was able to be accommodated into our carry-on travel style.

When we returned to our hotel from our morning walk we were surprised by the young man at the desk telling us that someone had come into see us. He gave us the card of the man who had come asking for us. It turned out to be our savior from the Moreton-in-Marsh train station. His schedule had freed up and he was able to offer us a half day tour for the following day starting at one in the afternoon. This worked out perfectly for us and we were so happy with the turn of events. We did get to wondering and chuckled to each other about how he might have described us to the front desk. (We had not exchanged names during the ride to the hotel and he had apologized that he did not have his card w/him, altho at that point it was moot, since he had no time to offer us) . So we imagined what he might've said... "a tall guy with a gray beard and a short slightly chubby lady", Or perhaps, "some elderly Americans who seemed quite clueless"...: ) Anyway, we were just so pleased that serendipity had yet again intervened in our travels.

An aside, some are planners and some are not. I plan carefully where we will stay--city/town and hotel-- and how long for each place, but beyond that I cannot really get into it until I am actually in the place. This works, usually, but w/o a car coupled w/ the relative isolation of the various Cotswold towns, well on that 1st full morning, I admit that I was wishing that we had only planned 2 nights there. But the above stroke of serendipitous fortune would have been lost on us, had that been the case, so it all worked out well.

As we had no car, we decided in the afternoon to take the local bus into Stratford on Avon. After the idyllic pastoral beauty of Chipping Campden, this town was a bit of a culture shock. It is so bustling and full of modern stores, that it felt like we had time traveled very abruptly. We wandered around Stratford a bit and decided against going into the Shakespeare home/Museum. It just seems so modern and so touristy compared to the mellow frame of mind we were in from our beautiful small town homebase. So we headed back on the local boss enjoying the countryside views.

That evening we had an absolutely delicious dinner in the bar/Brasserie of our Hotel. I will include the details about that in my separate posting on Chipping Campden restaurants so that it will be easily searchable.

The following morning we again went out for a stroll in a different direction and found amazing views behind the grounds of St. James church on the edge of town. The town of Chipping Campden Is just so idyllic and perfect. My husband chose it based on some reviews he had read in searching Fodor's. And I am so glad that he did!

More to come w/details of the tour the guide took us on.......
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