May27

Written by:Driper
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 

We just finished our long weekend (bank holiday) and it was a great sight seeing (or country traveling) trip. We did about 800 miles in total which was a little more than I had expected or wanted to do. I picked up a small Ford Focus Style on Friday from close to work and headed home. That was a bit of an adventure in itself because my GPS (on the phone) wouldn't work and I had to navigate home (Islington) from Work (St Albans) which is about 35 km's. I don't really know St Albans at all so getting to the motorway was fun. What is probably a 45 minute journey took me twice that, oh well.  At least I had the chance to test the GPS and realise it needed work that night which I undertook later that night and early the next morning. I got it working as well as a car charger and managed to make a phone holder for the phone/GPS from a clipboard and some hair bands of Freda's.

We just finished our long weekend (bank holiday) and it was a great sight seeing (or country traveling) trip. We did about 800 miles in total which was a little more than I had expected or wanted to do. I picked up a small Ford Focus Style on Friday from close to work and headed home. That was a bit of an adventure in itself because my GPS (on the phone) wouldn't work and I had to navigate home (Islington) from Work (St Albans) which is about 35 km's. I don't really know St Albans at all so getting to the motorway was fun. What is probably a 45 minute journey took me twice that, oh well.  At least I had the chance to test the GPS and realise it needed work that night which I undertook later that night and early the next morning. I got it working as well as a car charger and managed to make a phone holder for the phone/GPS from a clipboard and some hair bands of Freda's.

As  I had been warned about huge amounts of traffic we get up and out fairly late on Saturday. We wander along the highway through all the way to Bristol. Bristol looked lovely although much smaller than I thought. It's all very deceiving on a map, you just have expectations of scales like maps back home which is simply not the case. We stopped at a pub along the way for a drink and to look around a bit in Bristol. A nice wander down the river (river Taff). We were not there long and off to Cardiff for the night. Once we eventually find the hotel (Carla, my GPS, got a bit lost) we dump our luggage and off to dinner. Wandering around the main streets in Cardiff it's either a very unusual place or everyone had decided to hold their hens and bucks nights in Cardiff over the long weekend. We must have seen 10 different parties, some Aussies, Scouts, burlesque girls, park rangers, crock hunters and even Elvis groups. That did make for great people watching while we ate dinner at this little Italian restaurant. In hindsight I should have taken some more pictures.

Sunday and we are heading for Falmouth. We start the morning with a quick workout in the gym (and to my trainer TJ, your kilometer is more like a mile). Yes that is correct, fitness girl requested a hotel with a gym, on holidays. We wander past some amazing looking areas but unfortunately the roads don’t lend themselves to pulling over much in the UK (no ramps or lookout points) so we have only a few photos of the country side. The short version of the next bit is that I have the wrong hotel name against my booking so we turn up at the Falmouth hotel and I indicate we are checking in. The lady behind the counter (who I'm hoping gets people doing stupid things like this often) indicates she has no booking. We quickly escape her sight and stand in the car park while I trawl through my e-mail trying to work out what went wrong. Freda now becoming somewhat unimpressed with the predicament probably due to the amount of time spent in the car. Realizing I saved the file as 'The Falmouth Hotel' meaning the location, not the name. Eventually I find the other hotel (Greenbank Hotel) I had looked at and we leave. No doubt Freda is doing the same thing for other reasons but in my head all I can hear is "I hope it's this one!"  Luckily 5 km later we are there and it is the right hotel, phew. This one is a bit nicer but no gym for the fitness girl (or me for that matter, the difference being I'm not upset about it).

We knock back a few cocktails in the bar outside, then decide to eat in. We have a nice meal and its a nice Hotel. They are however clearly trying to be the higher class hotel but the service just lets them down a little. Tomorrow they will not be able to make me a real coffee because they don't turn the coffee machine on in the morning. What sort of place has a coffee machine that they don't turn on for breakfast? Even last nights 70 pound a night (with breakfast) hotel made me a real coffee. For anyone who has noticed my whining this is simply an attempt to fit in with the locals. On a different note the location and view was wonderful and even getting to the hotel was a joy because you wander through all these little streets that look like something out of a movie.
We get up the next day heading for Stonehenge and hoping to do some Zorbing on the way home. Zorbing for anyone who doesn't know is something the Kiwi's invented (I believe) that involves getting inside a large, clear sphere and rolling around (typically down a hill). There are a number of variations. I rang a few Zorbing places and as today is bank holiday Monday they are all closed and not running at all. Personally on the basis I could not locate a single free hotel in Bath for the weekend I wouldn't be closing my adventure activity over the long weekend but it seems common practice in the UK.

We head straight for Stonehenge which was interesting. I particularly liked the fact that not even the people who should know what it is all about know what it's all about. This gives me a little solace when I stare at such sights without really understanding what its all about myself.
You are given these little audio devices which tell you a little about the place as you wander around but in all honesty the audio just confirms that no one really knows anything about the place or its place in history, it was very general in its information. I was also surprised with how many people were at the site. I am guessing 1000 people were wandering around, keep in mind it is 160 km from London and 50 km from anything of interest (e.g. Bath).

After leaving Stonehenge we head for Bath knowing that we need more than a few hours there to really enjoy it but wanting to have a quick look on the way home anyway. Now I'm not one for history and archeology or architecture normally but wow, Bath was simply amazing to look at our photos. There are huge spans of houses stuck together looking more like an ampethetre than houses. We drove around for a bit and then decided to go to one of the higher points (Bath has a fairly steep mountain) and have a drink. It was very picturesque with a view over the city from the outdoor area of this quaint pub.
We (more correctly Freda) decide to head home a little earlier than expected and brave the traffic (leaving Bath around 7pm). Freda would have a right it wasn't for the 4 car pile up on the motor way. We had managed to avoid three prior accidents over the weekend on the main roads by taking exits and then letting the GPS find us a way back to the main road. This accident was unfortunately the biggest and there were no exists we could use to get off the motorway. 3.5 hours later (1.5 more than expected) we were home. I thought at the time it was just me but having seen other accidents and having had a bit of a chat with a few locals it appears that small accidents here cause emergency services to respond and stop traffic.

 

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