Thursday, October 27, 2011


Thursday, October 27th, 2011 Stratford Upon Avon

We slept until 8:15 am this morning….and just made it to breakfast by 8:30 am….our scheduled time! I was in the twin bedded room with Barbara and it’s the most hours that I’ve slept straight through since we arrived!

Breakfast was wonderful; the girls had a Continental Breakfast…bread, cheese and meats and I enjoyed the English breakfast with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. I did pass on the English Bacon. They enjoyed hot chocolate and I savored my black coffee.

By 10 am we were in the car…it’s raining steady…and after a stop at the cooking store in Broadway (I purchased some very tiny funnels for perfume bottles); we were on the road north to Stratford Upon Avon.

The towns in the Cotswolds are very close together so it was less than an hour by country roads. Arriving in Stratford Upon Avon is very confusing because of traffic mostly; it’s a very popular town for the tourists and the children are all on mid-term break right now so there are even more local people visiting. Barbara had a particular hotel in mind so we kept driving around the old center of the city until she spotted it! It’s called the White Swan Hotel. She and Nancy opened umbrellas and jumped out while I minded the car as we’d parked in a no parking zone.

Seemed like they were never coming back…but that’s a good sign and means that they probably got rooms and were checking them out. Sure enough…we’ve got parking in a lot plus two rooms (without breakfast) for 120 pounds that are close to each other; a twin bedded room and a single room. Tonight I have the single room. I have it toasty warm to dry out all my wet things this evening as I type my journal.

We were able to get into the rooms right away; unloaded our hand luggage and settled Barbara into her room so that she could elevate her legs and rest while we went to see Warwick Castle; about half an hour’s drive from our hotel. We turned on both of the cell phones and we called her when we arrived at the castle.

It was raining even harder when we arrived at Warwick Castle; but it didn’t seem to dampen the crowds. We found parking nearby with the dear cost of ten pounds; but with the weather it was worth it. Our tickets were about sixteen pounds each and they were selling special tickets to something else that we elected not to see. As we headed towards the drawbridge to enter the castle we noticed that there were extensive Halloween decorations. We soon realized that the castle was a massive Halloween Party! The State rooms were decorated and dark for the scary effects. I was able to take some flash photos in those rooms as we went through. Poor Nancy could hardly make out the interior decoration. So sad as it is normally a beautiful place to visit.

The basement was much as it always was but the upstairs was the Sceance Tour. Again, fun to do but not what we’d expected. However, we did climb up the hill at the back of the yard for the spectacular views over the river. Then Nancy said she wanted to climb the towers and walk the ramparts. Lots of steps that were very old, narrow twisting steps that went up and up. The views were great but we did three towers and the ramparts. There was an black iron railing to help in the towers; our hands were covered with orange rust when we finished!

By 3 pm we were ready to head home; the castle was not what we’d expected as I’d told her about my previous two visits and she was prepared for a totally different experience. But it was a fun day even with the rain.

We tried to call Barbara on the cell phone to let her know we were heading home but she must be asleep as she didn’t answer the phone. We need to go to a store to figure out how to increase the ringer volume. Home in about half an hour and then we had to find the car park but with two of us working together we finally found it.

Yes…Barbara was sound asleep when we opened the door to the room. We woke her up and then headed out for an early dinner. Ate at an Italian Restaurant around the corner called Bella Italia; we each enjoyed pizza. They had Margarita Pizzas and I had a vegetarian one with zucchini, artichokes, olives and lots of other good things along with goat cheese. I enjoyed every bite as it was the first food since breakfast!

During dinner my cell phone rang, I hadn’t turned it off….heard the ring and thought “oh, someone has the say ringtone as I do” and then realized it was my cell phone. Jim was calling to check on Barbara. Her husband wants her to go to the doctor and/or hospital for more tests. Jim was calling to see if we’d done it. But even though the bruises are terrible looking she seems to feel just fine except for soreness. To appease the husbands we did go to a Chemist (Pharmacist) after dinner and talk to him. He said if she had a blog clot her legs would be very hot. They’re not…he said elevation was important and to drink caffeine drinks which are a natural diuretic to reduce the swelling.

So I was a good kid and gave her my pillows for the night; actually I don’t use any pillows so it wasn’t that great a sacrifice! Tomorrow she is staying at the hotel with legs elevated while I take Nancy to see the Shakespeare House and other buildings here in town. We can easily walk to all of them.

We enjoyed our dessert in the girl’s room after we returned to the hotel; Barbara had a small toffee cake she’d purchased in Chipping Norton along with some Bailey’s Crème. A good way to end an evening on a good day! Hopefully, the weather will be clear tomorrow!

A note to travelers: the wifi system is fantastic; I haven’t had to pay for Internet Service since I arrived. All of the hotels seem to have it available if you have your own computer. I can’t believe the improvements since 2009.

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