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Report 1952: Hop Scotching England South to North to South

By Jeff H from New Hampshire, Fall 2011

Trip Description: 5-13 September, 2011 - visiting friends in England, with stops in Oxford, Farelton, Edinburgh, Petersfield, Chichester, Winchester and Stonehenge.

Destinations: Countries - United Kingdom; Regions/Cities - Cotswolds, North Country, Other United Kingdom region, Scotland

Categories: Family/Friends; Hotels/B&Bs; Shopping; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 4: Boston to Heathrow to Oxford

An uneventful and on time flight, but figuring out how to find the Rail Air bus line in Heathrow with two stops at two Information booths, each of which gave us "partial" information. Most of the confusion apparently is due to arrival at terminal 4, then getting to terminal 5. We wasted about 30 minutes figuring this out after two Rail Air buses stopped, but wouldn't let us on, as they were discharging passengers only. Anyway, we finally got to the Reading Train Station via Rail Air, took a taxi to the car rental agency, who promptly informed us they did not have the automatic transmission vehicle I had reserved: I had reserved on line, but as a Seinfeld episode illustrated, some agencies don't understand the concept of keeping a reservation, only taking a reservation. Since I had recently had neck surgery and had never driven in England, I was hoping to take one more variable out of the driving experience (left handed shifting, specifically) by using an automatic, but it was not to be.

So off we went to Oxford using the M4 and A34, both of which are good, wide and straight, allowing me to get used to this left side driving thing - it was exciting, but we had no near misses or other incidents to report and arrived safe and sound at the Tilbury Lodge in the Botley section of Oxford. Although we were somewhat exhausted/jet lagged, we bused into town, made a friend of a professor on the trip who recommended a spot to eat, and got off the bus very near the Broad. From there we took a bus tour to see some of the more important landmarks for about one hour. Now we were getting "foggy." Stopping to grab a "coupla" beers and a "coupla" wines might have been a mistake, but it allowed us to sit and plan our next move, which was to find a place to eat ... something light, easy and cheap. The recommendations I got from fellow Slow Travelers, were left at the lodge, and although I remembered two of them were down by the river, we just couldn't get up the energy to find them, so we ate quickly, bussed back to the lodge and were fast asleep by 6:30pm. Basically that was it for Oxford.

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