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England and France, August 30 - October 19, 2004
See the England/France 2004 section of my blog for the trip report.
Most of this trip was booked by February 2004. We had to change our plans based on the flights where we could get with upgrades to first class. I left it too late booking - all the upgrades were taken on flights from Paris, so we had to fly back from England.
This is a seven week trip and we only stay in four different places - Bath, Cotswolds, Provence, London.
Monday, August 30: Fly Albuquerque to London. The flight arrives at Gatwick at 7am. A Bath car service is meeting us and driving us to Bath (2 hours).
Tuesday, August 30 - Monday, September 6: We did not want to spend our first week in London, but wanted to start off in a smaller town. We also wanted to start in a town so we would not have to drive immediately. We decided on Bath because it is a place we have only visited on day trips and it is not that far from Gatwick. We booked a nice apartment right in Bath, Catherine Place. We booked the apartment for 7 nights, even though we are only staying 6 nights, so that we can check in when we arrive before noon.
Pickup our rental car on Friday and do a day trip out to Dorset on Friday and maybe on Sunday.
Monday, September 6 - Monday, October 4: Four weeks in a cottage in Winchcombe in the Cotswolds. I booked through Great Trips Unlimited. I tried to find a rent from owner place, and there are lots of them, but found I was spending days reading listings, contacting owners and not getting anywhere, so I went to an agency for help and they found us a nice cottage at a good price (we got a discount for a one month stay). We are booked in Princess Elizabeth Cottage (2bed/1bath). This is the only cottage with a phone line. I had a hard time finding cottages with phones that we can use with the computer. Most have a type of pay phone that you cannot use with the computer.
Monday, October 4: Fly from Bristol Airport to Nice, France on EasyJet. We decided it would be easier to fly from Bristol (an hour from Winchcombe) than battle the traffic to Heathrow or Gatwick. From Bristol we could not fly into Marseilles, which is closer to our France destination, but we could fly to Nice. So we end up with a shorter drive to the airport, but a longer drive (3 hours) in France. Pickup rental car at airport.
Monday, October 4 - Saturday, October 16: 12 nights in a house in Provence, booked through the owner. This is a house, owned by an American, in Goult, in the Luberon. I did not do much research on this - once we had decided we wanted to go to France instead of staying longer in England, I knew the place that I wanted to rent (it had been on my shortlist for a couple of years).
Saturday, October 16: Drop the rental car at Avignon train station. TGV to Lille, transfer to Chunnel train to London.
Note: We flew back on EasyJet, Marseilles to London, Gatwick. When I tried to book the train in France, the price was four times higher than flying on EasyJet.
Saturday, October 16 - Tuesday, October 19: 3 nights in London. Hotel Twenty Nevern Square. The price booking through Venere was half what was listed on the hotel website.
Tuesday, October 19: Fly London to Albuquerque.
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