UNITED KINGDOM & IRELAND, 1985

Frames

Day 1, Friday, June 28 Houston -
Leave Houston Intercontinental Airport at 7:00 P.M. via British Caledonia Airlines direct flight to London. Dinner on the plane: shrimp cocktail with pineapple; steak and baked potato, peas, rolls, strawberries and cream, wine. Food is better on BritCal (but picnic lunches are more fun!); service is better on PeoplExpress.

1British CaledoniaHouston - London7:00 PM - 10:10 AM

Day 2, Saturday, June 29 Arrive London
Arrive London Gatwick and a very nice breakfast. After customs, check in at Tavistock Hotel, Tavistock Square (this is the hotel for all nights in London). Rest of day at "leisure". Take Thames River Launch for a round trip to Greenwich to see the Observatory and the Maritime Museum. The tour last year was so mis-done, that I want a repeat. {I still want to "keel-haul" that *&!@##)^! "Guide".} It's a good "half-day" trip on my own. Much better trip this time than last year. Pub-grub for "dinner". Evening: London Walks: "Jack-the-Ripper". To bed at 11:45 after a 39:15 day.

Day 3, Sunday, June 30 London - Dublin
Frames Tour "Irish Jaunt". Up at 5:45 (get up 5:45 - 6:05 every day of trip; usually take a walk around local area before breakfast). After a rushed breakfast, a 3 block walk to Frames for an 8:30 AM departure, delayed (approximately) 11:15 AM departure - coach to Gatwick Airport for a flight via "Dan Air" to Dublin, finally arriving 4 1/2 hours late (left London at 6:30).

2Dan AirLondon - Dublin6:30 PM - 8:45 PM

Rest of day at leisure, except that there is no longer any "rest of day". So much for seeing Dublin. Scheduled hotel: Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. Arrive at hotel at 9:15 for a late dinner. Dinner: roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Irish broth, apple tart and cream boullee. One problem: its the third day of a "Mardi-Gras" concert / festival ... til 2 AM across the street (and over much of town). Guards at doors of hotel to keep out the celebrants ... also police in rooms to keep them out of hotel via scaffolding. Papers later said over 200 arrested and jailed; several injured. Finally to bed about 12:30.

Day 4, Monday, July 1 Dublin - Westport
After a brief sightseeing tour of Dublin (so said the brochure; actually a rush out of town to beat the traffic), travel a very bumpy road through Roscommon to county Mayo and the little town of Westport at the head of Clew Bay, a gateway to the Connemara. Not sure what we saw; the microphone / PA system on the bus doesn't work -- in fact, it's out for the entire tour. Scheduled hotel: Hotel Westport, Westport. This is the best hotel of the trip. Walk around town before dinner. Dinner: seafood cocktail, cream of vegetable soup, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, strawberry souffle. At least the dinners are good. To bed at 11:45.

Day 5, Tuesday, July 2 Westport Ring
Through wild (?) mountain country to Leename on Killary Harbour, a fjord-like sea inlet, for lunch, then to Clifden, nesting on the Atlantic coast with "magnificent" (nice) mountain scenery as a background. Return to Westport through (poet) Joyce's country. (same hotel). Dinner: raviolli with cheese sauce, cream of mushroom soup, beef curry with rice, lemon flam. Evening entertainment: "Seisiun" of Irish music, dancing, etc. Nice, though the performers (semi-pro) should learn to smile. A couple of them tried to teach me how to do some of the Irish dances. To bed at 12:45.

Day 6, Wednesday, July 3 Westport - Limerick
By way of Galway, (short tour(?) -- another mis-print in the tour brochure ??), and the scenic Clare coast road to see the Cliffs of Moher (first of two actual "stops" on the tour), then through Ennis to Limerick. Unfortunately, it rained. Hotel: Glentworth Hotel (worst hotel on any Frames tour). Dinner: cream of vegetable soup, turkey and gammon, sherry triffle. A really excellent evening entertainment of Irish music and song. Finally to bed at 2:30.

Day 7, Thursday, July 4 Limerick - Kenmare Bay
Tour continues through Castleisland to Kilarney, set amid lakes, mountains, and waterfalls, and famous for its jaunting carts. Take a short ride in a cart -- though it's not really a jaunting cart, just a plain 4-wheel wagon. The trip is approximately 1/2 mile long. Then continue through the region of The Ring of Kerry (in very heavy rain - can't see anything) to reach Kenmare Bay. Hotel: Kenmare Bay Hotel. Dinner: spaghetti, consume, beef stew jardinere, baked alaska. Then light entertainment (American "golden oldies"; I thought this was Ireland). To bed at 11:30 after doing laundry instead of listening to that so-called "music".

Day 8, Friday, July 5 Kenmare Boredom
(The tour driver gets a day off.) A day of leisure here at Kenmare Bay. Basically, its a day to walk around the area: walk to port, falls, castle/fort, Druid stones (pile of rocks in a field). Light rain in the afternoon. Dull day. Dinner: Pork ribs, onion soup, gammon, apple pie. More of the same evening "entertainment". Sat around griping about the tour. To bed about 11:45.

Day 9, Saturday, July 6 Kenmare Bay - Kilkenny
To Blarney Castle (second actual stop on the tour - rest of the sights were "on the right .... Except that with the sound system 'out', we never heard anything) where there is a chance to kiss the Blarney Stone, before continuing via Cork, Waterford, to Kilkenny (arriving too late to see the castle). Hotel: New Park Hotel. Best food of the entire trip: Vegetable chowder, turkey and gammon, sherry triffle, ice water!. Wish we had 2 nights here. Too far out of town to walk around. To bed at 11:15.

Day 10, Sunday, July 7 Kilkenny - Dublin - London
Through Kildare to Dublin for the return flight to London.

3Dan AirDublin - London1:30 PM - 4 PM

Evening to rest and do the laundry - also check where to go for the train tomorrow. To the hotel about 8:30 after a long (slow) coach ride from Gatwick, then that quick run to Kings Cross. Pub grub for dinner. To bed 11:30 after laundry. Back in England!!! Hooray!!!

See IRELAND 1985 for an"in - fun" description.

Day 11, Monday, July 8 London - York Day Trip
Depart 7:40 AM from Kings Cross station for BritShrinkers (British Rail) tour to York and Harewood House. This is a repeat area from last year (York), but the visit to Harewood House is new. Its the home of the Queen's cousin, the Earl of Harewood. Return to London from Leeds, late arrival (8:30). Lunch provided, dinner on the train optional. Excellent visit to York and a nice lunch; Harewood House is a bit disappointing (beautiful, but "just another castle/palace"). Chose pub-grub for dinner. Met a real nice family from Atlanta - shared the tour day with them. Back just barely in time to get to Wigmore Hall for the evening concert. To bed about 12:45.

Day 12, Tuesday, July 9 London
A day in London on my own (first full day). Repeat visits to Tower of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, and "The City". Only thing scheduled is evening: Date with yesterday's tour guide to see "Noises Off" at the Savoy Theatre -- "the 1982 best comedy of the year and still the funniest show in London. ... Don't Miss this one." Dinner after the (super!) play. To bed about 1:00.

Day 13, Wednesday, July 10 London - Isle of Wight day trip
Depart 8:30 AM from Wilton Road Coach Station, near Victoria Station, for National Express tour to Winchester, Isle of Wight and the H.M.S. Victory. One day tour via bus, hovercraft, and ferry. Winchester and the Cathedral are nice. The limited part of the Isle of Wight we saw is a tourist trap. Got to see not only the HMS Victory, but also the Mary Rose. Evening: Date for the "Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music" at the St. James Church, Piccadilly, London (festival July 1 - 12). Tonight: English Dance - music and dance. Had to get off the coach early and take the tube straight to Piccadilly to meet my date, and "Dinner" later. To bed about 12:30.

Day 14, Thursday, July 11 London - Brighton day trip
Depart 8:40 AM from Victoria Station for BritShrinkers tour to Brighton to see the sea-side resort area, then to Arundel Castle, home of the Dukes of Norfolk. Then back to London from Arundel. Brighton -- I'm glad I saw it after hearing so much about it, but Arundel is the real highlight of the day. Neat!!! The B E S T of the old "castles." Evening: "Cats" repeat. I was lucky to get a ticket. Finally to bed 12:15.

Day 15, Friday, July 12 London - Dover day trip
Third BritShrinkers tour. This time to Canterbury and Dover. Depart 8:30 AM from Victoria Station. In Canterbury, visit the Cathedral and see the site where Thomas a`Becket was murdered in 1170. Then time to explore the city before traveling by bus through the "Garden of England" to Dover. Lunch in a pub, then to see the White Cliffs and the Norman Castle. Dover Castle is a "real" castle -- nothing fancy. We only had a poor view of the Cliffs, but did get to see a cross-channel hovercraft coming in. Evening: again a date for the festival: music of Handel and Bach, including a harp concerto. After dinner, to bed at 12:20.

Day 16, Saturday, July 13 London - Leeds day trip
Another free day in London. Frames tour in the afternoon out to Leeds Castle southeast of London. Leeds Castle deserves its title of having the most beautiful setting in England. The castle itself is also special. It's the B E S T of the "modern" castles/palaces. We also had "tea" served in the banquet hall - included in the tour. Special this evening: the 300th birthday of George Frederick Handel - a free ("cheap date") concert at the Serpentine in Hyde Park, which will start at 10 PM and combine the "Royal Fireworks" and the "Water Music" with a fireworks display launched from rafts. Music by Andre Previn and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Concert over at 11:15; took til 1:30 to have dinner and then get back to the hotel. Fortunately we took rain gear; the rain ran off many of the people before the concert, but mostly stopped by the time it started. To bed at 2:15.

Day 17, Sunday, July 14 London - Plymouth
Check half my luggage at the Tavistock before starting a 3-day Frames tour to the west end of England: Devon and Cornwall. Today via coach through the Berkshires to Exeter with its Cathedral. Visit the Cathedral, then continue across the Dartmoors to Plymouth. An excellent evening walking tour of Plymouth. Hotel: Astor Hotel on The Hoe. Walk around town again after dinner. It's a great place to go for a walk. To bed about 11:15.

Day 18, Monday, July 15 Cornwall - Lands End loop
Circular tour to Lands End. Drive the length of Cornwall stopping at Land's End and St. Ives. Return to Plymouth. Lands End is a tourist rip-off, but with the newspaper headlines about the recent drowning of several school children, an "interesting" stop. St. Ives is nice -- and super Cornish Cream ice cream. Route back is across the Moors. Dinner over at 9:20 then to bed early (10:30) even though it's still light - but raining. Just about the only evening without something happening.

Day 19, Tuesday, July 16 Plymouth - London
Travel to Buckfastleigh for a brief visit to the Abbey, then to Exeter for a tour of the Maritime Museum, then to Dorchester for a great lunch - from a street vendor, then through New Forest and back to London. It was a very nice, though crowded, 3 day trip; would have been better as four days and including 1 or 2 more stops - Tintagel, etc. Evening: BritShrinkers "PubAround" visiting 4 different pubs, and including dinner. Hotel at 12; to bed at 1:15

. Day 20, Wednesday, July 17 London
Second full free day in London on my own. Visit the Cabinet War Rooms, Westminster, and the British Museum. Also London Walks: Sherlock Holmes. Evening: "42nd Street" at the Drury Lane, Theatre Royal. (It's a 3-star musical - a hit in London and New York, but particularly chosen for the Druary Theatre as well.) I liked "Noises Off" and "Cats" better. To bed at 12:30.

Day 21, Thursday, July 18 London - Cambridge day trip
Fourth and last BritShrinkers tour. Depart 8:10 AM from Liverpool Station for Cambridge (a repeat visit to make up for a rainy Sunday last year), and Ely for the Cathedral. Kings' College was closed. Rats!!!! At least we have decent weather, though a very dis-organised tour guide. The Cambridge repeat was definitely worth it. At Ely Cathedral, lucked into an exhibit by John Isaacs, Lauthier. Evening: repeat of "Noises Off", then dinner. To bed at 1:55 ... tired.

Day 22, Friday, July 19 London
Third and last full day in London, a day on my own ... but its raining (8:15 til 7:00). Considering the weather the rest of the trip, can't complain. Went to the British museum for most of the day, then catch a BritRail train to Stratford for one last look at Shakespeare. Thanks to having to catch the train and subway back, not to bed until well after midnight. But a nice end to a trip... British Museum and Shakespeare.

Day 23, Saturday, July 20 London - Williamsburg
Time to leave. To Gatwick Airport for 1:55 PM departure via Northwest Airlines to Boston (horrible airport - inter-terminal connections). Time to clear Customs, then via Piedmont Airlines to Norfolk.

4Northwest AirGatwick - Boston1:55 PM - 4:05 PM
5Piedmont AirBoston - Norfolk6:00 PM - 7:23 PM

Then drive through a real traffic jam to Williamsburg; arrive 10:00. Motel: Motel 6, Williamsburg.

Day 24, Sunday, July 21 Williamsburg
Several new buildings in Colonial Williamsburg: new "Hospital" and "Wallace Gallery" (V-e-r-r-y nice), plus a variety of new exhibits. Also visit with friends; dinner with them (and deliver some of the Irish ale I "smuggled" back.

Day 25, Monday, July 22 Williamsburg
Carter's Grove has new exhibits/buildings also: new orientation building, and Wolstenholme Overlook (I really like what they have done at Wolstenholme and the exhibit center at Carter's Grove). The "River Road" and the "Country Road" are always nice to drive. Musical events tonight with Susan.

Day 26, Tuesday, July 23 Williamsburg - Houston
Time to go home. Departure from Norfolk via Delta Airlines (the airlines that doesn't know what 'non-smoking section' means) with stopover in Atlanta for arrival Houston.

6DeltaNorfolk - Atlanta12:50 PM -
7DeltaAtlanta - Houston- 4:20 PM

Day 27, Wednesday, July 24 Recover
Day off to recover. Back to work tomorrow.