This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.
London to Plymouth
It is another fine and warm day. The weather over here is a whole lot better than we were led to believe.
Ian set off for Hammersmith to collect the hire car after breakfast. This trip started with the 220 bus to Hammersmith then a brisk walk. The trip took about 40 minutes. Upon arrival he was advised he needed 3 contact telephone numbers to leave with the company. His phone was back at Bronwyn’s flat topping up the charge ahead of departure. He had no choice but to return to the flat to get the phone. This time he hailed a taxi and had it wait outside the flat for a quick return. He took advantage of the cab and had it wait while he exchanged some more currency in Hammersmith. He picked up the car and returned to the flat. After loading up the car with the cases we were on our way.
The next hiccup was that we put in our end destination in the sat nav unit and of course it wanted to direct us along the most efficient path. However, we wanted to take a scenic route and we battled with it for a while but alas the sat nav unit won. Navigation is not Darlene’s strong suit so we followed the voice. The unexpected bonus from that was that it took us right past Stonehenge, which is clearly visible from the road.
We thought we would call in at Exeter and see some sights but all we saw was bumper to bumper traffic. We abandoned that and headed for Plymouth. We heard on the radio that traffic was at a standstill up ahead due to a lorry being on fire. Sure enough we caught up to the traffic and spent about 40 minutes crawling along till we passed the then extinguished but charred logging truck.
We arrived at St Elizabeths house around 6pm and the place is amazing. A country mansion converted into a luxury private hotel. Our room is the “Longbrook” room and it is spacious and luxurious. The ensuite is larger than our bedroom at home and has side by side his and hers free-standing baths as well as a walk in shower as big as our bathroom at home.
Posted by IanDarleneUK
Devon & Cornwall
Sorry Melbourne. It is still fine and in the low 20s here in UK.
We started our day with Breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. An impressive continental spread was on offer and hot breakfasts were cooked to order. After eating our fill we headed off in the car.
Today we visited attractions in the Cornwall County. Unfortunately, due to navigation difficulties we didn’t arrive there till lunch. Our first stop was St Austell where Darlene had a Cornish Pastie and Ian had a Sausage Roll. From there we went to see the Eden project. With so much else to see we just visited the cafeteria for a coffee and the souvenir shop. We did purchase the DVD so we can see what it is like inside.
Our next stop was at Mont St Michel, just near Penzance. We took a few photos and continued on to Lands End. On the way we passed a church dating back to 587 AD. At Lands End it was considerably cooler than our other locations. In our T Shirts with a stiff wind and just 15 degrees we weren’t going to be hanging around outside too long. Ian walked the perimeter getting some photos whilst Darlene checked out the shops in the village there.
By then it was after 4pm so we headed back as we had over 2 hours on the road ahead to get back to Plymouth.
We found a Salad & Grill restaurant around 6.30 pm and had a quiet drink at the bar whilst we waited for a table. After eating our fill we headed back to our luxurious private hotel for our second and final night.
Posted by IanDarleneUK
Plymouth to Cardiff
Our weather was fine (again) and in the low 20s.
We set off around 9am and headed for Bath. Traffic was heavy but moving reasonably well. We were able to do the legal limit (70 miles per hour) for significant portions of the trip. When we left the M5 we encountered narrow (and in some cases single lane) roads.
Upon arrival in Bath we drove around a short while and quickly realised we didn’t know where to start to find the attractions. We found a car park and a helpful person pointed out the nearest hop on hop off bus stop. We boarded the bus and travelled most of the circuit. We got a few good snaps as the bus travelled around. We got off at the nearest point to the Roman bath house and Bath Abbey. We found an outdoor café just metres from and overlooking the Roman Baths.
After lunch we paid the admission and entered the Roman Bath house. They give you a portable device that tells you about the various displays. Each display has a number. You key in the number and it tells you all about it. There was enough remaining to make it an impressive sight and the audio commentary allowed you to get the most out of it.
We spent around 2 hours in there then headed back to the car to continue our journey to Cardiff. We encountered heavy traffic on the motorway for long periods. The trip should have taken around an hour but it took over 2 hours.
It took 3 attempts at the Novotel to get the room we ordered but we got there in the finish and ended up with bonus free internet & movies. More tomorrow :-).
Posted by IanDarleneUK
Cardiff to Waterford
We woke to overcast conditions with intermittent light misty rain and a temperature in the mid-teens. We had a room with a queen bed and a folding sofa bed. Our room was full with Bronwyn & David joining us around 1am after driving from London.
After checking out we drove into the city and past Cardiff Castle. We parked in a small underground car park next to the Rugby stadium. A game was scheduled for later in the day and Welsh fans adorned in red and white were already in the area in preparation for their game against the Barbarians. We walked to a local café and ate breakfast. We then drove back to the hotel, said goodbye to David and headed for Fishguard to catch the ferry to Rosslare in Ireland.
Traffic was a major problem with several areas where traffic was barely moving. At one point we had all but given up being able to make the ferry ahead of its departure. When opportunities presented themselves we tested the performance capabilities of the Vauxhall Insignia. We travelled at hoon like speeds where possible in what appeared to be a futile attempt to reach the ferry before it departed. Check in time for the ferry was 1.30pm. We arrived about 1.57pm and there were just 4 or 5 cars left to be checked in. Fortunately they let us on and we breathed a huge sigh of relief. If we missed it we would have forfeited our accommodation for that night and had to re-book for the 2am ferry that night.
The weather had improved on the journey to Fishguard and with occasional sunny breaks the temperature reached 23 degrees. Seas were slight on the ferry and the boat had just the occasional slow movement although nothing much to worry about. We booked the premium service on the boat. That entitled us to a lounge area with complimentary wine, tea and coffee and snacks. It also gave us priority disembarkation.
The weather changed on the 3.5 hour trip to Rosslare and it was drizzling by the time we got off the boat. The intensity of the rain increased as time passed. We stopped en route to Waterford for dinner at a pub called the Horse and Hound. We arrived at our hotel in a downpour. The hotel car park was full. We all got wet getting the cases into the hotel and Ian got very wet as he parked the car about 3 blocks away and had to walk back. The room was warm and dry and although basic it was comfortable enough.
Posted by IanDarleneUK
Waterford to Killarney
We woke up to light rain. Ian went for a walk to the car park to check on the car and look for a breakfast venue. It turned out that no breakfast cafes are open on a Sunday morning in Waterford. Even McDonalds was closed so we ate at the hotel. After breakfast and checking out we went to Waterford Crystal retail outlet and browsed for a while. We bought a few things and then headed for Cork to visit the Blarney Castle. On the way we stopped at an Irish pub for lunch in Youghal.
The weather improved through the day. The Blarney Castle as it currently stands was built in 1460. Earlier buildings on the site date back to around 1000. Bronwyn & Ian climbed the Blarney castle up to the top and kissed the Blarney stone. To do so you lay on your back and lean over backwards holding on to two poles and kiss the stone behind your head.
Darlene had a cup of tea on terra firma while she waited. We then continued on to Killarney, stopping at a supermarket on the way to get a few groceries. The 2 bedroom apartment is modern, well equipped and centrally located. After unloading the car Ian parked it in the underground car park. When we were ready for dinner we walked up High St past 20 or more busy restaurants. We eventually got a table at one and ate dinner around 8pm.
Posted by IanDarleneUK