Travelogue - June 2005 Trip
Tuesday June 7th - arrived in the early morning, took an hour and a half wait at Terminal 4 Passport Control with only 4 of 8 working, only took 15 seconds to clear once I reached an employee, Dr. K had breezed through in about 10 minutes in another terminal, ate breakfast at McDonalds, too sleepy to tour much, decided against Burghley House and instead stopped at Bletchley Park, parked in town and walked around trying to find it, stopped in bookstore and showed Dr. K book "Ship" with my photo of Turtle Ship, Bletchley Park was poorly marked like most places in Britain, napped in park for drive to Nottingham, awkward route to hotel and we got lost several times made much worse by lack of sleep, walked around town and ate at pub, walked around Nottingham Castle.
Wednesday June 8th - took delayed train to Birmingham, saw Gun Barrel Proof from train, supposedly well marked route to other station not found because walked out of "wrong" exit, beggar asked for money, asked a man for directions who first thought that I was a beggar but was apologetic and friendly and helpful, took train to Warwick, toured Warwick Castle but not Georgian/Victorian exhibit or building by river, walked to below castle for view, had forgotten map of area and had trouble finding Lord Leycester Hospital which was closed for BBC filming, walked to bus stop near station and took bus to near Kenilworth Castle, driver was helpful, had some difficulty finding Kenilworth Castle, toured castle, walked back to bus stop, took bus but didn't ask for help and mistakenly got off at a university, asked students on grassy area for directions, told to get back on bus, got off in Coventy, had long walk to train station, ate at Burger King with unlimited refills, train to Nottingham.
Thursday June 9th - train to Liverpool through Peak District, no photos because train was full and didn't get window seat, were fairly small bare mountains, train from Liverpool to suburban station, walked 1-2 miles to Speke Hall, no photos inside, said to be for security reasons, much of interior was Victorian, walked to different station stopping at post office to get stamps for postcards, took train to Chester and toured much of the Chester city walls, ate at McDonalds, train to Nottingham went through Crewe got in late, unmarried couple was fighting across the isle, flipping spilled drink at each other and some at me.
Friday June 10th - took train to York, went to tourist info center, walked city walls, found some attractions near cathedral closed, waited for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours for bus to Long Marston, walked Marston Moor battlefield to Tockwith, ate lasagna at pub with diorama of battle, waited for over 1/2 hour for bus until after 7pm, went back into pub for help, they called cab but didn't think that the trains would get me back to Nottingham in time, cab cost 16 pounds, gave him 20, driver had relatives in US, got back fairly late to Nottingham but crowds were loud and it was difficult to sleep.
Saturday June 11th - delays checking out with parking garage, drove to Blist Hill living history museum near Ironbridge and decided that with limited time, other attractions would be better, drove to bridge itself and ate a pasty for lunch, toured Museum of the Gorge and saw "Time Team Guide to the Archeological Sites of Britain and Ireland" with two photos from previous trip, toured Museum of Iron, Enginuity, Darby House, then the Coalport China Museum which let us in despite supposedly not having time to see it all, board members of organization were in museum and were much easier to understand, walked down canal and across bridge to other side of river, drove to Tile Museum, tried to find Brosley Pipe exhibit but didn't, took motorway south, instead of getting off road for a pub we stopped at a motorway rest area, even employees were embarrassed by prices, had Wimpy's hamburger, continued to Bath, stopped at Lansdowne battlefield and walked it until around 10 pm, had trouble finding Bath Hilton, Dr. K very upset with broken window and noise from drunks late at night, got up in middle of night to complain.
Sunday June 12th - later than first expected - not 4:30, rode with Dr. K to Heathrow to pick up his colleagues, breakfast bought at small grocery in airport - included beef sandwich with nearly tasteless horseradish sauce, rode to Newbury for breakfast for passengers, asked construction workers for eating advice, had drink at Sainsbury's while new arrivals ate, talked them into seeing battlefield, got lost but found our way to Falkland monument then open area of battlefield, rode to Bath Hilton making only one wrong early turn which was quickly corrected, Dr. K complains and gets new room, hang out with his colleague who gets enthused by DK Eyewitness tour book, tour Roman Baths, just outside baths at around 5pm eat and onion pasty for dinner, walk to Pulteney Bridge, Circus, and Royal Crescent, ride with Dr. K to pick up mother, sister, and cousin at Heathrow, dropped off at East Lodge in Iver, did laundry
Monday June 13th - woke up early, breakfast of small pancakes, etc, train to London Paddington, Underground to Charing Cross, train to Flokestone, tunnel to Dover was out so took replacement bus to Dover - could be France across the Channel from the excellent view from the hills between the cities, train to Walmer, tried to call Costa's and Plymouth Naval Base Museum, toured Walmer Castle, walked back and saw Costa house, train to Deal, toured castle, train to Canterbury, walked city walls, dinner of 8 chicken nuggets, chips, and coke, passed up battered Mars bar because I was full, walked by cathedral, no time for Rye, train to London, walked to Parliament and other sites, Underground to Paddington, train to Iver, accessed internet at lodge.
Tuesday June 14th - Woke up late, breakfast of small pancakes, 8:50 train to Reading, train to Oxford, tried to call Plymouth Naval Base Museum, train to Banbury, successfully called Plymouth but lost ring binder with contact info, addresses, and travel priorities, to bus station the long way and found no buses to Edgehill or Cropredy (I had neglected to bring bus schedules), 11:30 to noon had all you can eat buffet at Pizza Hut, train to Birmingham - had remembered lost ring binder, walked to Gun Barrel Proof House - asked a man outside an industrial business for directions, referred inside and found a man seemingly pleasantly surprised that I had an interest in the place (I had asked train station employees who knew nothing.), walked past UB40 building and photographed Proof House, train to Banbury, ring binder not in lost and found, train to Oxford, stopped in Blackwell Bookstore (There were several locations and the layout in the main building was confusing, being two buildings connected over top of a pub.) bought post cards and comic type book on how to be English, liked but did not purchase English Heritage book on Steam Dockyards and Pen & Sword books on English Civil War, walked around university campus, saw three Oxford students retrieving rugby(?) ball from a stream with two of them holding the one as he was lowered down, walked past old town defenses, train to Reading, dinner at Burger King, train to Iver.
Wednesday June 15th - woke up around 7, breakfast, train to London, Underground, train to Woolwich, toured Arsenal, Firepower museum, no lunch, train to Maze Hill, toured Painted Hall and Chapel, walked to Greenwich station, train to London, Underground to British Museum, under whelmed by Enlightenment section, Asia ok, 18th c Europe section good, closing time (5?), Underground then train to Woolwich dockyard, toured remains of dockyard, asked who I was photographing when shooting clock house, walked to Artillery Barracks through questionable neighborhood, walked along path in front of barracks, took panorama of barracks and shots of cannon, approached by guard armed with assault rifle and told that commander of guard wished to speak with me, escorted to commander of guard and told that prior approval needed for photos, asked to show photos taken, commander was extremely polite and even suggested that I visit the bombed out church and rail gun after re-passing the path, did so, walked back to station getting same looks as throughout Woolwich area, train to Greenwich, burger at St. Christopher's - a place I had stopped in during Nov '03 visit and declined accommodation, scrapped plans to see Deptford sites, train- Underground- train to Iver, after 11pm arriving
Thursday June 16th - woke up at 6:40, breakfast, train to London, delayed Underground, train to Chatham, called Brian Jenkins who met up with me at the main gate and gave me a large map of the dockyard, toured dockyard including Brunel sawmill, Victorian building now a shopping mall required us to get management approval to photograph steel structure, lunch at food court Burger King, told that photographing children is illegal as is buildings or houses, toured standard dockyard sites, made rope made by myself, Mr. Jenkins, and Irish lady working in ropery, bought leaflets in historical society shop, gave Mr. Jenkins NPS booklet on Charlestown Navy Yard and VA flag, given ride further toward train station but got lost walking there, saw young punk crossing fence with stolen fire extinguisher then later saw him and discharged contents on sidewalk, called Mr. Costa and took train toward Walmer but called again then turned around at Ramsgate, train - Underground - train to Iver
Friday June 17th - slept late, train to London, Underground to station near Tower, train to Purfleet, walked to see old magazine, train to Tilbury, walked to fort an got lost - unmarked from train station so far as I can tell but may have missed free rail replacement bus, harassed by teen near entrance who were coming to see girl working at fort, toured fort, walked to ferry and got good info from friendly people waiting for ferry also, stopped in church in "Grave's End" where Pocahontas is buried, train toward Chatham, when stopped at Rochester station, skinny man in early 20s or late teens with sleeveless shirt swipes camera from floor beneath my feet and runs out door, I run after him down steps and through tunnel shouting "thief" repeatedly, when he gets to road intersection, I see that he no longer has camera bag and since I am winded I stop and return to tunnel to find camera and see a man holding it for me, he was a plain clothes London policeman, I walked up to info area to get train personnel to get the book bag I had left on train but see two uniformed policemen who took description, train man said they would look at event on closed circuit TV the next morning in the hope of identifying the thief, continued on train to Chatham, walk through more human trash to Ft. Amherst which has six pound entrance fee, had just enough time to see place before closing, took direct train without Euro trash to London then Underground and train to Greenwich, dinner at St. Christopher's, offered drink by friendly laborer, walked Thames Walk to Peter the Great statue and through possible victualling area to dockyard area, met and talked to "Jonathan" on street near dockyard wall after asking for directions, saw cobbled road with dockyard wall I had seen on PBS show about Shakespeare's London which discussed him and espionage and murder, bought Coke in pub when asking for directions to Shipwright's Palace - had been offered drink by Jonathan, looked under gate through wall but may not have seen Shipwright's Palace, went through open gate to teen hangout at waterfront and could see Royal Hospital at Greenwich, walked to Deptford station, bought Cherry Coke on way from Middle Eastern man in store who seemed annoyed at me for fumbling with change, train, Underground, train to Iver, called police and left contact # after talking with John and Maureen
Saturday June 18th - up at 7am, breakfast, 8:16 to London, Underground to Victoria, 9:33 toward Faversham - off at Chatham, looked at bus schedules, talked with elderly couple then back on train to Rochester, visited tourist info center and got bus info, bus to within 1/2 mile of Upnor Castle and walked along dangerous roads to castle, toured, walked, got same helpful driver, decided against touring Royal Engineers Museum, train to Faversham, no brochures at station for gunpowder mills and failed to see Chart Mills on their map, had difficulty finding Chart Mills, got map for Oare but lost it and had to return to Chart, got lost walking to Oare Mills and got help from lady cleaning inside her car, arrived at 4pm with the visitors center closed despite 4:30 closing time listed on info from Chart, so Faversham was disappointing, walked back to station without getting lost, train to Canterbury for Rye, announcement said to follow well marked route to other station in town, well marked route did not seem to exist, after walking a mile or more out of the way got directions from lady near a large grocery store but just got back to original station, debated taking Dover to Ashford to Rye but ended up taking 6:49 to London, had McD's beef sandwich, Underground to London Bridge, walked to see Golden Hind, which looked like a metal tourist trap, then Globe, Underground and train to Iver.
Sunday June 19th - slept a little late (8am), breakfast, since Iver train station is closed on Sunday John drove me to West Drayton station, train to London, Underground and walk to Chelsea Hospital - opened at 2pm so took Underground to Mansion House then walked across bridge to Globe Theatre, toured Globe then walked long way to St. Paul's, ate at same Burger King that I ate at in Nov '03, Underground and walked to Chelsea, 30 min to opening, so re-toured National Army Museum, like last time bags were searched by not entirely friendly soldier, got to Chelsea Royal Hospital by 2:15 and found pensioners helping tourists to be very friendly - one at cash register was napping in the extreme heat - other one had said that he was in the back watching blue movies, Underground then walked past Buckingham Palace and saw that attractions were closed, walked to Guards Museum and saw that it was closed, to Underground toward Tower Hill and remembered The Monument, entered after paying two pounds - was about 15 minutes before 5 when it closed, Underground to Tower Hill with 1.40 pound + .55 for tasteless ham and cheese sandwich and coke, ate overlooking Tower, walked around Tower, Underground to Liverpool Street station but found no trains to Enfield Lock so continued to Paddington, train to West Drayton, called Maureen and had her pick me up, toured construction behind house then backyard garden and tied up Norway Spruce, iced water bottles to help dealing with expected heat
Monday June 20th - woke up at 6:30, breakfast, waited at station for delayed train 7:52, 9:30 train from Reading to Plymouth - delays so arrives 12:45, had eaten lunch of granola bars, bought town atlas in station and it proved well worth it, walked to Pryster House - should have been open (maybe not) but wasn't, man in church who had failed to completely shave his neck explained the building, walked to Elizabethan Gardens then to harbor cruise, engine on boat not working properly so walked toward Hoe planning to come back for 3pm cruise, passed another coy. which said they shoved off at 2:45, continued to Hoe, came back too late for 2:45 so continued to original company, left on boat at 3:15 and got back after 4:15 - not a 1 hr cruise, Dome closed, continued walking toward Georgian dockyard and found good views from park, continued but few decent views until reached another park near Victorian yard, walked to Devonport station and found no one there - no trains until after 9pm, walked straight to main station, got double cheese and onion sandwich with cheese and onion potato crisps and "American" Cola, boarded 7:30 train to Reading, in Reading around 11pm, 11;20 or 30 to Iver
Tuesday June 21st - woke up at 8am, breakfast, 8:55 or 9 to Reading, 9:55 toward Brighton for Fareham - arrived 11:07, train to Portsmouth Harbor delayed, took 11:18 to Portsmouth Southsea, 12 something ferry to Gosport, walked past Victualling Yard to Explosion museum of naval ordnance, found foot bridge closed for maintenance - hadn't seen signs in ferry area, walked back to tourist office, got bus info, good helpful driver who told me the stop and gave directions, went down what looked like a dead end street but got help from lady on bus and told to continue - that road became paved foot path, museum was somewhat of a disappointment with little 18th century and difficulty seeing much of the buildings and an excess of computer screen info on artifacts, walked back to bus stop, boarded wrong direction bus - found out when reached Fareham, asked bus driver if going back to Gosport and he let me ride for nothing extra, discussed where I am from, that he was of partial Irish descent, and that he has relatives in British Columbia - he was trying to move there to be with his Canadian girlfriend, 5:20 when reached Gosport but walked to Submarine Museum anyway and past Haslar Hospital - probably not worth effort, walked back to ferry and crossed, went to Gun Wharf and saw Vulcan Building and Old Infirmary, ate at restaurant near dockyard gate that Dr K and I had passed up in Nov '03 - cost more to eat in but apparently no tip - employees were immigrants from Russia, walked to station, confused about what train to take - took 8:15 to Guilford, 9:43 to Reading after 20 minute wait, arrive 10:24, search for Iver train - see 11:30 but lady tells me there is an 11:00, back a little before midnight, bed at 1am
Wednesday June 22nd - woke up late, some packing, breakfast, 9:30 train to Slough, 9:45 to Windsor, walked out wrong exit but found castle, toured castle - Heritage Pass had been dated wrong so it said that it was expired but entrance employee and I noted the problem and he let me through, ate at Pizza Express - asked about an item on pizza and was given a sample but was too salty, had four cheese pizza, train to Slough then Iver, packed, took photo of John and Maureen, they took my picture and gave me a can of Coke, Maureen drove me to the Iver station, train to Paddington, boarded a train to Heathrow but was told that another one would be better, Boarded Heathrow Express - had television with airport info, was over 2 hours early - easy check in, purchased "Watching the English" and began reading it, had asked for window seat and got emergency door with plenty of leg room, tried to sleep but couldn't, picked up by Dr. K, next day we fumbled with photo disks and I drove home - stopping at Manassas and Front Royal
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