We will spend about one month exploring England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Perhaps we will discover our roots.
  • Day26

    Windsor to Heathrow to Home

    September 13, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 50 °F

    The sun rose beautifully behind Windsor Castle this morning as we placed our packed luggage in the hallway of the Harte and Garter Hotel in preparation for the bus ride to Heathrow. From there we will take a flight back home. What a wonderful trip this has been! We have seen the places from which our known ancestors came. We have seen the places that cradled the world in which we live. We are forever changed.Read more

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  • Day25

    Arrival in Windsor

    September 12, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    5:00 pm Arrive at the Harte and Garter Hotel in Windsor, stow our bags and immediately begin the tour of Windsor Castle. Overwhelmingly magnificent. We stay for Evensong in St. George Chapel, where we are seated right above the graves of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII, Edward and George III. A lovely buffet dinner back at the hotel was the tastiest dinner we have had on this whole trip. I chose not to eat a potato. I enjoyed it with a Cabernet made in Argentina. Our room is magnificent. It has a huge canopy bed, a lovely carved armoire, and a spacious bathroom. After supper we took a walking tour of Windsor with guide Amanda. She was voted the best city guide for Windsor last year, and it is clear why she won this award. She was cheerful and enthusiastic. First we saw the Public Records Office where Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles, and where Elton John married his male partner. We go Down Park Lane to see the formal entrance to Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth can often be seen driving her Jaguar with one bodyguard down the lane to the family cemetery, the home of her son William, or to the Royal Ascot horse track. Amanda says the Queen drives "like a bat out of hell." This week she became the longest reigning British monarch, passing Queen Victoria's record at about 5:00 pm on Tuesday. The wealthiest neighbor of the Queen is now the rock singer Sir Elton John, who owns a 75-acre tract adjacent to the Castle grounds. She mentioned that, unlike the formal rooms of state, the Queen's private residence is rather modest, but quite comfortable. Windsor Castle belongs to the state. The Queen has two private residences which she owns in her own right: Balmoral in Scotland and Sanderingham. For the last two years the Irish regiment has provided the military guard for the Queen. They erected a statue of a modern soldier made of bronze from the statue of Saddam Hussein, which was pulled down when the allies took Baghdad in the Iraq War. The large boulder on which the Irish statue sits came from Helman Province in Afghanistan. We saw the stables. Prince Phillip emerges every day driving a carriage with at least two horses, driving down Park Lane to the Royal road. We saw the King's Head Tavern. Over the door is a facsimile of the warrant for the arrest and execution of King Charles I. The fourth signature on it is that of Oliver Cromwell. We saw a building, formerly a tea house but now up for sale, that was made of unseasoned oak. The wood bent and warped, and now the house leans precariously, and there is not a square corner in it. We came back to the room, got our luggage ready, and prepared for an early departure tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.

    11:45 pm There is a celebration for an Indian wedding going on in the dining room adjacent to our quarters. Two Indian children, little girls, are running up and down the hall, making a racket that woke up both Glenda and me. She stood outside the door and gave her English-teacher routine. Then things got noisy again, and I stood outside the room glaring at the girls until a hotel employee came by and asked what was the matter. I told him that the children were running and making too much noise. I don't know if he said anything to the partners, but the revelry broke up shortly afterwards.
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  • Day25


    September 12, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    At breakfast this morning at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth we ordered coffee for the six people at our table. In thirty minutes the waitress brought one small coffee pot containing two cups of coffee. Shortly afterwards, she brought a larger coffee pot. It seems that they wait until coffee is ordered to brew it. We never got our breakfast, so we finally left. We are heading for Stonehenge and Windsor Castle today, so we will arrange our luggage so that we will be ready for the tight security at Windsor. We already getting ready for our flight out tomorrow morning.

    9:15 am We pass through Otter Valley, where there is an otter nursery for the propagation and protection of the animals.

    9:40 am We are on road 303, the old Roman road west to Exeter. Fairly straight.

    11:00 - 1:00 at Stonehenge. Last week a henge of 90 subterranean stones was found by radar to encircle the adjacent town of Durrington. Subterranean radar shows nearly 400 dwellings in Durrington and a wooden henge. One theory is that the wooden henge at Durrington was a symbol for life, while the stone henges, made of an eternal medium, were associated with death.
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  • Day24


    September 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    We planned a rest stop in the charming little fishing village of Mevagissy. Beautiful fishing boats filled the harbor. It was interesting that the small public toilets were filled, so I suggested that I stand guard and allow the women to use the men's restroom as long as no other men needed it. They found this idea shocking, but a few women finally relented, their line was so long. I saw a sign reading "Mevagissy Wet Fish." I asked the woman at the kiosk about "wet fish." Aren't all fish wet? She told me that this is a common phrase in the British Isles to distinguish fresh fish from dried fish.Read more

  • Day24


    September 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    It is strange that I had never heard of this place before, but Marazion has all of the charm of Mont St. Michel in France. Marazion is another fortress built out on a spit of land that is an island at high tide. In fact, several tourists walked out onto the peninsula and were caught by the high tide. Operators manned small boats to go rescue the stranded tourists. Of course, it looked as though this was a rescue operation they were required to repeat daily.Read more

  • Day24

    Land's End

    September 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    We arrived at Land's End late in the morning. It is lovely, but no more so than other spots along the coast. I suppose their is some mystical attraction in knowing that one is as close as one can be to America while still on British soil.Read more

  • Day23


    September 10, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    4:15 pm Arrived in Plymouth. Bus tour of Plymouth Hoe. Lance Boeppel and I had our pictures taken on the pier from which the Mayflower left for the new world. There is now a tablet set up by Ambassador Walter Annenberg at the spot. We saw monuments to Sir Francis Drake, the Defeat of Spanish Armada, WW2 Airmen. Drake's Island is the place where he moored after his circumnavigation of the world. Arrived at Duke of Cornwall Hotel about 5:00 pm. I walked back over to Plymouth Hoe to take photos. I got an especially good one of a little girl cutting cartwheels on the quay. This hotel is the one in which Scott stayed the night before he left on his Antarctic exploration. The dining room at the hotel is lovely, and supper was good. I had spanocopita, which came in a tomato sauce and a rich chocolate brownie. However, the next morning we ordered breakfast and it never arrived. If much of Britain's history took place on the high seas, then Plymouth is the place where the sea meets Britain.Read more

  • Day23


    September 10, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    2:45 pm Glastonbury Abbey. Lady's Chapel is oldest part, legendary site of small wooden church supposedly built by Joseph of Arimathea. Thorn bush grew where he stuck his thorn staff into the ground, according to legend. Blooming cutting sent every year to the Queen. Glastonbury now center of Wicca and alternative culture devotees.Read more

  • Day23


    September 10, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌫 54 °F

    On to Bath and Plymouth today. We are all still enjoying ourselves, but we're getting tired. At 8:45 am we pass Newport. At 8:55 am cross the Severn Estuary. At 9:10 am we pass close to Bristol. David tells us about S.S. Great Britain, first iron screw propeller ocean going ship. Found in the Falkland Islands in 1970 being used as a coal hopper. Cary Grant, whose real name was Archibald Leish discovered by Mae West, was from Bristol. P\We pass Laycock, owned by national Trust, Harry Potter scenes and Pride and Prejudice filmed there. Camilla lives in Raybridge. She used to turn off at Junction 17 to get to Charles. She had an accident. Pressed panic button, Charles saw it and pressed his panic button, Royal Navy helicopters and gunships appear. Camilla's code name became Junction 17. We pass through little village of Pennsylvania. We do a bus overview of Bath. We tour the Roman Baths, then stop at a little shop for Cornish pasties. We sat at a public plaza adjacent to the abbey while we listened to a street musician sing "American Pie," and ate our lunch. I popped into the Pump Room to take a photo and use the toilet. We took some quick photos of the abbey and then caught the bus. At 1:00 pm we pass through the town of High Littlteton.Read more