Last night Blair and I spent three hours in the office--he at the computer, me at my laptop--planning our trip. It's unusual that we've put off the final details--room and car reservations--until the last minute like this. But things seem to be running smoothly. This morning we received confirmations from all but one of the hotels.
I"m a little concerned because we're doing a lot of "rent a car here, drop it off there, grab a train here, rent a new car there" maneuvering. Our plan is to start in the English countryside in Bath for 2 days (rent a car) then head to London for 3 days (no car). We'll drop mom off at the airport on Friday and grab a train to Edinburgh. There we'll rent a car and head to Inverness. We ditch the car in Glasgow and take a train to the Lake District, where we rent another car for 2 days. Return that car and catch a train back to London for the final two days.
I think what makes me nervous is that with that many travel switches there's a greater chance of something going wrong than if we just got a car and kept it. But neither of us have the desire to try and drive a car in London and I've been told the train ride to Scotland is spectacular, so we'll soldier on.
We're staying in what look to be some lovely hotels. We consulted both Fodor's and Rick Steves to come up with places to stay. We considered staying at a few smaller B&B's to get the "homey" feel of the country but in the end, we chickened out. Well, perhaps that's not the right term. In many places we could get a larger hotel room with amenities for almost the same price as a small B&B room. The hotel is more centrally located and has a restaurant, etc. Yet I can't help feel we're missing something of the travel experience, staying in hotels versus doing it the Rick Steves way. Maybe if I get a little more travel under my belt I'll feel more comfortable going off the beaten path. I hate to think of myself as one of those touristy American travelers who only hits the main sites and never gets a real feel for the country she's in but that's exactly what I am.
Still, I have expectations of us returning to England at some point. Some places, like Alaska, we viewed as, "We better hit every main site that we can because the chances of us making it back here are slim." But there is so much history in England that I think a second (and third and fourth) trip would be well worth it. So maybe we'll take the plunge into the B&B world the next time around.