Simona & Martin European trip 2012-13 travel blog

Dover Castle

Dover

Simona in the Castle Kitchen

Dover Castle tower

Ghost in background

Canterbury detail

Canterbury river

Some snacks for the tunnel trip

Train trip

on the train


Well, it has been a while since I made any notes documenting our travels since Petersfield so I will try and record a few of the highlights and activities. Some recaps of previous areas as I din't bother to check what I had previously posted.

Our German driving experience was at it’s end and we were to have the Pug back again so I had to get used to driving on the other side of the car again. All seems to be working at the moment. The Peugoet dealer did say he can't guarantee it won't fail again before we finish our trip. He did Also say he wouldn't be able to say any different for any British made car, rover, jag, Aston etc..... He suggested I should stay with the Audi. (no mention of Lotus Mike!)

To make you all feel better it rained almost every day while we were in the UK. Well at least a shower or two with a couple of days a heavier rain when we were leaving Plymouth and Cheltenham.

We were off to the Cotswolds and Oxford on the 8th, staying around there for the 3 days before heading to Folkestone to catch the train across to France on Monday. We stayed in Southampton the night before, not much to see here, much of the buildings are post war and fairly unattractive. The GFC is very visible there in the UK more than anywhere else we had been. A bit like hanging out in Charnwood with lots of skin heads on steroids. Many of the tenancies are closing or closed with people just hanging around.

Oxford was a day trip from Cheltenham, quite a pretty town and what we expected in part. Typically like every church, site, and structure in the UK you have to pay to enter an there is some additional tariff (at least the churches are free in the rest of Europe!) We went into one of the oldest colleges “Trinity College” which was somewhat underwhelming as a university but you can see the history.

On the way back from Oxford we detoured to “Lodge Park” which was essentially an ostentatious gazebo and grandstand for dear races and daytime parties. On the way back to our hotel we came across the “Chedworth Roman Villa” which was a ruin of a roman village which had some great mosaics and detail of the bathhouses and heated floors in some of the rooms. Quite an informative visitors centre and some wonderful countryside to get there.

Cheltenham was quite present staying for 3 nights at the Georges hotel which included a restaurant named Monty’s. (the reason we picked it, truly) also had good reviews on trip advisor. We booked a small double room but once we looked at it we asked if they had a room with a larger bed available as you could not fit all our luggage in the room. They were really good and gave us a complementary upgrade to a suite which was great. The breakfast service was exceptional as was the dinner service We ended up having most of our meals there over the 3 days as we wanted to give a number of items on the menu a try. The hotel also had a great gym facility including a 25m pool so after all the eating I could at least feel somewhat righteous.

We ended up doing a bit of shopping in Cheltenham, including a couple of golf umbrellas as the little travel ones were not doing the job.

Sunday the 12th August was a long day of driving from Cheltenham to Canterbury or at least to a little village just outside where we had a total faulty towers experience in England. We booked a room for one night in a old estate Manor house which is also trying to incorporate a fancy French style restaurant.

We were met at reception by a Romanian “lawyer” as the bus boy, when he came out to get our bags it was a scene out of the rocky horror picture show. The Lithuanian “accountant” reception clerk had a little apron on with a pink tongue ring she liked to show off.

Our room is one decorated 30 years ago in an English floral county style that only someone’s blind grandmother would love. After walking around and noting we were the only people there we thought we better go somewhere else quick.

After some sightseeing at Dover including the Dover Castle and the Cliffs

we came back to find we were still the only people about. We went for a walk to the library and bar area to see if anyone else was there, there must have been about a hundred candles lit throughout the lounge area in this historic house. We started joking about vampires from Romania but it wasn't all that funny anymore.

As we had booked in for dinner so a there was no one around we went to see the reception clerk about moving our reservation forward. Next thing we knew she was opening the door from behind us without seeming to leave the counter which was in front of us. We are escorted to the dining room with another 1000 candles burning, after seating us she disappears again. Then there is this guy that keeps walking almost running in the room, past us, goes into the empty lounge room adjacent and then back trough to reception. This is the guy that looks like Tom, Marks brother about but about 20 years younger. He appears to be the manager (aka faulty). Apparently another Romanian.

It was a total experience way funnier than you can imagine. Simona and I kept cracking up whenever one of the people came in the room, which was often. Asking if every mouth full of food was ok or if we needed something. Given they were attempting to provide silver service they thought we were nuts.

Hilarious!

(If you don't hear from us again just say we were last at http://www.howfieldcanterbury.co.uk/

Simona the & Martin)

Anyway after our first course another couple arrived for dinner which then changed the whole experience and normalising it. Anyway we would probably stay again if we were in the area.

The next day only allowed us an hour or so in Canterbury itself before we had to make our way to the Eurotunnel. We really need much more time, it looks like a town we could spend a few days in. The tunnel experience was quite good, a very well coordinated setup and very quick to et through from the UK to France, not bad especially if you buy your ticket early on line which we didn’t, the ticket can vary from 25 pounds to 120.

But still not bad considering you can have your car full of stuff and up to 9 passengers, not that they would fit in our Peugeot.



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