We went to South-Africa for a family visit in March and on our way back we spent a few days in England. Our flight went well, even though we left two hours late from Calgary, we had a stop-over in England, the flight was about nine hours; we had clear skies when we landed at Heathrow, so we had a lovely view of London.
Security was a nightmare, although I had checked on the internet, we were only allowed to travel with one carry on through Heathrow, no handbags, or even fanny packs were allowed, people unpacked and just threw stuff away, as there is a liquid allowance too, we saw a lady throw her handbag away. We had two carry on cases each, I had a handbag, because we traveled with a laptop, cameras and change of clothes. We stuffed our bags emptying one bag and checked the other as luggage. Fortunately we had time, as we had a stop-over of about eight hours.
We had lots of turbulence over Africa. Our flight was about eleven hours long. South-Africa was very hot. We had temperatures of up to 35 degrees C! We got some old photos and documents form both our parents, as well as taking photos of family photos, documents, etc. We stayed at acreage for the first few days, lying on our backs; we looked at the stars in the evenings. Everybody spoiled us with Milk-tarts, Potjiekos and Braais. We went to some nice flea-markets where they had lovely curios, masks, batiks, etc.
My brother in law, sister and dad took us to a private game reserve, The Savannah, which is about 50 km north of Pretoria, where we saw Giraffes, Zebras, crocodiles, Wildebeest etc. Apparently there are Rhinos, but we didn’t see any. Afterwards we had drinks in a beautiful Lapa.
They also took us out to the “Spur” for ribs and steaks.
We had a rental car and stayed a few days in Bath, England at a lovely B & B, Hotel St. Clair.
Bath City Map.
We had to pay extra for parking. Bath is a very old and interesting city on the river. It has lovely old buildings, churches, cathedral, roman baths, pubs and is very busy with small crowded streets, little parking and many tourist, and we even met some South-Africans. One can cover most of Bath on foot, but there are buses too. I loved seeing so many old buildings.
We drove all over and walked our feet off; the countryside is lovely, with stone-walls, hedgerows, old churches, stone houses, pubs and buildings, narrow and unmarked roads. We often got lost, but found people friendly and helpful, we went to many pubs, which serve good food and have warm atmospheres.
Old Wardour Castle
We bought an English Heritage Card, which included a lovely information book and free entry to many places that we visited like Stonehenge, The old Wardour Castle, Farleigh Hungerford castle, etc.
We stayed in Windsor at lovely B &B’s; 76 Duke Street and The Ruthlands. The city is beautiful with the River Thames, Swans, Geese, Ducks, lovely old buildings, pubs and Windsor Castle. We paid extra for parking. We took the train to London with a ticket that included all day bus and tube rides.
The tube stations are huge, with many platforms, shops and people. We saw Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Buckingham palace, horse guards, river Thames, the National Gallery, St Paul’s, Parliament, Kensington Gardens, Trafalgar square, the West end, China Town, Piccadilly circus, Covent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square, etc. We had showers which didn’t last long. I loved being up close to these famous landmarks, the detail is amazing.
We went to Oxford, which is a beautiful old city with lovely cathedrals, churches, pubs, Gargoyles, buildings and a lovely market with butchers, fishmongers, bakeries etc. We parked outside the city and took a bus into down-town (Park & Ride). There are small pedestrian streets filled with tourists and Morris dancers. Many “Harry Potter” scenes were filmed in Oxford.
We found England friendly and cosmopolitan.
Our flight home left an hour late, Calgary greeted us with snow and cold weather and we are recovering from Jet Lag.