England Diaries - Part I

Bear with me for the next few days as I take you through the journey that was our trip to England/Scotland. I promise to keep words such as "wonderful," "exciting" and "very scenic" to the bare minimum.

DAY 1 - The Flight Out

The plan was to fly from Greensboro to Newark where we would rendezvous with my Mom. We boarded on time, pushed out to the runway and then sat for 2 1/2 hours. After 2 hours I stopped sweating about whether we would make our England connecting flight and started worrying whether we would make it out as all, as they were talking about cancelling the flight. I had visions of Mom stranded overnight in Newark. She would never speak to me again. But we finally took off, met up with mom, and boarded the flight that would take us to Gatwick airport.

Continental Sucks

And a somewhat miserable flight it was. Blair says I'm imagining it but I'm certain there is MUCH less leg space on a Continental Flight vs. Delta, our usual carrier. The people in front of us inclined their seats the entire trip and our legs were smashed. Excellent food, though.

Windsor Castle

We arrive, pass through customs and go through the more difficult task of locating a rental car. Let me say here that between the 3 of us we had 2 HUGE luggage bags, 2 carry-on roller luggage bags, one fold-up toiletry kit, a large purse, a soft briefcase packed to capacity, a backpack and a few smaller bags. We were loaded. Not Blair's fault. That packing guru got all his clothes AND shoes for 13 days into one of the small luggage bags. I got all my clothes and shoes in a large bag, but did have 2 carry-on bags as well. I was quite proud of our packing job until we arrived and had to actually lug all this s--- everywhere. Next time, I do better.

So we get our rental car, have only 1 heart-stopping moment where we forget about that other side of the road thing, and are own our way to Windsor Castle, the official residence of the Queen. The thrill for me there was seeing the side riding saddle and lace handkerchief of Elizabeth I.

After touring the castle it was 11:30 and we were hungry. Earlier, we had noted a McDonald's and mocked the "losers" who traveled to another country just to eat at Mickey-D's. But NOTHING opened until noon and we wanted to get on the road, so guess what? Our first meal in England was, indeed, McDonald's. (Sorry, Mom).


We got lost going to Stonehenge. Took a wrong turn on a roundabout and had NOWHERE to turn around for 10 miles. Lovely idea, roundabouts. Americans would kill each other using them, but they worked well over there.

Anyway, we were sick of the car, I'd read Stonehenge was a bit of bust in person anyway and I was close to wanting to just find the hotel when we came to it. I don't care what the guide books say--it was still mystical and impressive and I'm very glad we saw it.

Villa Magdala

It was hard to get back in the car, but we did and drove onto Bath. We stayed in very English looking hotel (click HERE to see a picture of our room. Continue clicking through the photo gallery and the "Standard Double Room" done up in purple was Mom's room) and our room was stunning, with a canopy bed, huge windows that looked onto the park across the street and a chandelier made of angels. I'm also a big fan of the electric tea pot and butter biscuits available in every room. We slept two hours, had a late dinner and were in bed by 10. Our first day in England was over.