A Travellerspoint blog

Postman Pat, Postman Pat

Decent coffee and pickled onion chips

overcast

Late checkout again this morning - the English have the rather civilised trend of making 11am the default checkout time for most hotels, which I think should be adopted throughout Australia. The girl at reception is super friendly, and I think she might be Kristie's long lost English cousin. Simon manages to find a decent coffee - first one for the trip! We have leek and potato soup (not to be confused with potato and leek soup) as an entree, do some exploring of Moreton Marsh, and then have another course at Mrs T. Pott's Tearooms. All the while we manage to solve the world's problems, shed some light on English euphemisms and sing the Postman Pat theme song repetitively with Lollop. Then it's time for farewells, and time for us to head to The North. A quick stop along the way, and we discover the Monster Munch - I'm feeling adventurous so we try both the Pickled Onion and Roast Beef flavours. Unusual... but nice, I think.
We arrive in Hurworth Place and check in to the huuuuuge hotel, which some very interesting decor. Apparently they are about to renovate, and we can see why! Bar meals there are fairly cheap, but really scrumptious. Winner! Early to bed tonight, big day tomorrow meeting Miguel and Lizzie at Edinburgh airport. Looking forward to seeing them again :)

Posted by Buccas 12:36 Archived in England Comments (0)

Grand Final day

Sydney wins and we're off to Stonehenge

sunny 15 °C

An early start this morning - up and listening to the grand final on the iPad from about half time, what a close game, I'm glad I'm not a swans or hawks supporter! But obviously the right team one, red wins every time :) and Miguel sounds fairly happy about the situation too! After that we find 'Countdown' on TV; it's certainly lacking the characters from Letters & Numbers...
Yummy breakfast this morning, featuring some particularly good hash browns that are almost more like bubble & squeak. And they are triangle shaped!
Had a stroll around the streets of Colerne, then it was my turn to drive, and Simon's turn to navigate. It didn't start well, missing a turn almost immediately, but we ended up in Lacock eventually without breaking any road rules, or hitting any other cars, horses or pedestrians! Lacock was cute and old and quaint, and we just ambled around enjoying the sunshine. Still only 15 degrees, mind you, but sunny nonetheless.
Encountered some amusing road signs on our travels today - "tanks crossing" was rather unexpected, and the "deer" warning signs were great. Watts would have appreciated them for sure :)
When we got to Stonehenge, we bought a sausage roll each. That was a mistake. There was nothing sausages about them, but I suppose they were kind of rolly. Don't even want to think about what kind of meat may or may not have been in them, and the pastry was sweet - kind of like churros! Not good. In fact, I'm going to put it out there and say they were the World's Most Disgusting Sausage Rolls. Urgh.
Anyway, then we found Lollop and Luke, who had been stuck in a traffic jam for about 3 hours. Nice to see a familiar face from home! We then checked out the bunch of rocks that everyone talks about so much, and marvelled at the English love of the audioguide. Essentially, they don't know why or how Stonehenge was built, or by who, and yet they still needed an informative audioguide to tell you that. Put it this way - aliens and Merlin were posited as equally plausible explanations. Best part was probably being told "to hear more information about the aliens, press forty four on your audio guide - press the number four, and then four again". Oh, so THAT'S what forty four means...
Then off to the Cotswolds for the dinner, where we stayed in a town ( NOT a village, Luke) and had a lovely dinner to celebrate our first completely dry day of the trip. Huzzah! Camel milk chocolate and plum wine for dessert, what more could you ask from a day?

Posted by Buccas 00:25 Archived in England Comments (0)

The best and worst of beverages

You can make a church, but can you make a milkshake?

overcast

Met a very articulate and softly spoken primary school teacher at breakfast this morning. He rather approved of our travel plans, which I take as a good sign. In fact, I think he said they sounded "ever so good". I'm also giving myself a pat on the back for saying Llangollen to a Welsh person and having them respond by nodding understandingly, rather than looking at me with a puzzled expression on their face. After breakfast we hit the road again. Just for the record, I have totally mastered the art of navigating through difficult terrain using only screenshots of maps, and a GPS aided blue dot that sometimes shows only what country are in... Simon has mastered the art of driving with sometimes hazy guidance!
As we were driving along, we came to Tintern and just had to pull over and look at the abbey. Absolutely beautiful. Hopefully I managed to take some photos to do it justice. It was completed in the 14th century, and didn't those monks know a thing or two about building stuff back then? Unfortunately I had the World's Most Disgusting Milkshake there, and had to discreetly pour it down a drain. At least Simon's ice cream was nice.
We got to the Lansdown Park and Ride and it was packed! They nearly need a park and ride for the park and ride...
Anyway, into Bath, and food was the first thing on the agenda. Simon experienced the phenomenon of the breakfast pasty - sausage, eggs and baked beans in a pasty. Why ever not?!
Outside the beautiful Bath Abbey was a nervous groom getting photos taken before his bride turned up. We left him to it, and checked out the Roman Baths. The Romans really made bathing quite an art. I didn't taste the spa water - I didn't need to, the facial expressions of the people drinking it gave me a fair idea how it tasted! Life's too short to spend it drinking manky water. Plus I'd already had one unpleasant beverage experience for the day. Oh and we managed to spot some Swan Hillians in there as well - Mr and Mrs Box - but they didn't see us...
We checked some of the streets of Bath - Cheap Street (Simon!), Green Street (Jackie) and Gay Street (...). Plus we saw the Theatre Royal, which looked a tad different to Camperdown's version. Bath seemed to be a bit of a bizarre contrast of really old and beautiful buildings with lots of commercial, brand name shops. You could go from bathing with the Romans, to eating at Pizza Hut. We wandered round and did a spot of shopping, even managed to find a couple of opshops! We also found a place that made FANTABULOUS milkshakes, which made up for my earlier dairy experience. When we'd had enough bathing, we caught the bus back to our car and then had a rather unusual journey to our next destination, Colerne. Very, very, very, VERY narrow roads!
The owner of Trimnells House lacked enthusiasm for life - wearing things with socks is never a good sign. Out room, however is very comfortable - there are even towels folded like hearts, and hot chocolate sachets - Huzzah!
Dinner is a short walk away, at the Six Bells, and the woman behind the bar seems unconvinced in her ability to provide meals. A dog the size of a horse emerges from behind the bar, which doesn't exactly fill us with confidence in regard to the food hygiene standards of this place. Eventually though, all the locals start filtering in, and Simon gets a really good plate of chilli con carne. My pizza is average, and it's lucky that I'm a competitive whale-boater, otherwise I wouldn't have the upper body strength to cut through the base.
A short walk home, confirm our date with Lollop at Stonehenge tomorrow, and it's off to bed.

Posted by Buccas 03:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

All Welsh speakers have a speech impediment.

'll' = /sl/

sunny

Today starts with another lazy breakfast (anyone would think we were on holidays or something) and it's about ten thirty before we leads the restaurant because we get talking to our American friends again, and meet 'the son who went to Uni in Perth'. Then we end up talking to an English couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They're into horse racing, and are glad to share the news with us that Black Caviar will race again. And finally it's time to check out! Actually a late check out seems to be the norm here - which is fabulous for holiday-makers...
We wander the streets of Llangollen, and check out the card shop which is called Ysiopfachgardiauwrthybontdrosyrafonddyfrdwyynllangollen - imagine trying to ask for directions to that place!
The next adventure is a narrow boat cruise along the canals and over the aqueduct, which is the tallest navigable aqueduct in Wales and is 126feet high. The boat is full of ... *ahem* youth challenged passengers. We are the youngest by about fifty years. Spectacular view from the boat, but more interesting is talking to the young lad who is driving the boat. He gives us an insight into the Welsh language - it's all phonetic, and therefore much more logical than English (although I don't think there's anything logical about a card shop having a name with over fifty letters). He can also pronounce the name of the station we went to yesterday, and teaches us to say it too - one syllable at a time. This is possibly my greatest achievement, but unfortunately I don't think I'll ever be able to replicate it. For any speechies out there - 'll' is pronounced like /sl/, except that the /s/ is made with lateral air escape. My life's work is to cure people of their ability to speak Welsh! Also, 'f' is pronounced /v/, 'ff' is pronounced /f/, 'dd' is eth... etc. non-speechies can tune back in now!
Anyway, after the boat ride, we get a double decker bus back into town, and have a lamb oggie for lunch while walking towards Plas Newydd. This is a bizarre gothic old house with mishmashed carvings and stained glass window mosaics. It was owned by the 'Ladies of Llangollen' who were two old spinsters who ran away together from Ireland so that they didn't have to get married and have babies... They slept in the same bed, 'loved' each other and yet vehemently denied being lesbians. Interesting.
I should note at this point that while there was some drizzle earlier in the morning, today has been a practically dry day! Mostly sunshine, at worst overcast and a bit of wind.
We have now made it to Berriew where we are staying the night, and we'll get some dinner and prepare for tomorrow's adventure to Bath. On the way we passed through a small town and I happened to see a sign that read 'Welcome to Pant Playing Area'... It made a bit more sense once we realised that Pant was the name of the town. Ah Wales, you crazy country...

Posted by Buccas 14:30 Archived in Wales Comments (1)

Liverpool to Llangollen

You can never have too many /l/s in your life.

overcast

Good morning Liverpool! Started the day with a relaxing breakfast, looking out over the Mersey and planning for the day ahead. Since it was only drizzling rain, we decided to walk into town and checked out the waterfront area. Albert Dock had lots of monuments and maritimey themed thingies, and it was also there that we discovered the phenomenon that is Superlambananas. These lovely constructions are a warning against the perils of genetically modified foods, while also acknowledging Liverpool's main exports of wool and bananas. And no, I did not make any of that up.
After the excitement of Superlambananas, the Fab4D experience was a little underwhelming. It gave a Beatles-esque perspective on what it must be like to experience hallucinations, and was mildly entertaining. The Beatles Hidden Gallery was more my cup of tea, with some interesting photos. Keeping with the Beatles theme, we went into town and had a pint (between us!) at the Cavern Club. I then ate a Penguin in the main street of Liverpool, and that was the beginning of the end - the bad accent impersonations had begun. Poor Simon. To be fair, he's been saying "g'day" to absolutely everyone we meet so I was just trying to balance out his Australian-ness...
Next stop - the museum with maritime exhibits, slavery exhibits and customs exhibits. Interesting, and free! Always a bonus. And like every other place we have visited so far, there was a customer satisfaction survey at the end of it all. Just for the record: Liverpool gets a gold star from me :)
We hit the road, but got a bit confused by the distinct lack of speed signs, and prevalence of speed camera warning signs. Simon just tried to drive about as fast as the other cars, and hope for the best. Will keep you posted on any speeding fines...
Made it to Llanfairpwg....gogogoch. What a name for such a tiny little town! They really milk the tourism aspect; there's a shop that lures you in with Llanfair... souvenirs and then turns out to be a big shop of everything - kind of like Clark's in Swan Hill.
Our final destination for today is Llangollen - easier to spell, not much easier to say. We got chatting to an American couple - Larry and Patti - whose son went to uni in Perth for a semester, five years ago. So we're practically related, yeah?
Our accommodation (Gales - go there) is amazing - the room is huuuuuuuge, comfy and clean. AND there are hot chocolate sachets in the room! You tea and coffee drinkers always just assume that you will be given provisions for your beverages, but to find hot chocolate sachets standing proudly alongside the teabags - why, it brought a tear to my eye! Just marvellous.
Dinner at the hotel restaurant was equally amazing - Pip, the host with a splendid beard was very passionate about food and wine, and it made for a most delightful evening. On the downside though, Simon hasn't been brave enough for a rematch of Monopoly Deal again yet... Maybe tomorrow.

Posted by Buccas 14:27 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

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