Day trip to Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick Castle
London Travel Blog› entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
August 28th, 2005 – by: Vikram
I booked a trip with Astral Travels. The tour we picked was called "Bards and Battles Tour", locations are those mentioned above. The bus arrived as promised by 7:30a to the hotel. The bus was comfortable, mini coach as promised and very very comfortable seats. We only had about 8 people in a 20 seat coach, nice AC and all.
Coming to the driver - some 50+ yr old codger who kept hitting on a Japanese girl (who was travelling alone) in front of everyone. It was actually very embarassing for all of us, including me as I had to bear all that in front of my parents. I am thinking of sending a written complaint to them and asking for better etiquette from their staff. I've heard of such things happening on backpackers' tours, but not on a tour company like Astral Travels that looks so "respectable" and "upper class".
Anyways, I can't comment much on the ride from London to Oxford as I slept! We spent about 1.5 hrs in Oxford, we had a walking guide who was brilliant. I guess my disappointment was that I didn't feel I saw Oxford. This was what one would expect out of a 1 day tour that takes you to 3 places, but the tour guide could've taken us more around Trinity College, and a feel of the University buildings as opposed to spending all the time in the Church.
Stratford-Upon-Avon was sadly a disappointment for me.Surprisingly, what I liked more than the actual Shakespeare house was the beautiful city centre outside it. Very colourful, and I had the BEST cheese and spinach crepes ever! I couldn't help thinking of Britfan while writing this report as my dad was in an almost-near situation to her sis-in-law. He has this habit of wandering away from the rest of the team, and on so many occasions had to be called by the driver/guide. It was annoying at that time even for us, but quite hilarious looking back at it, all the other tourists travelling with us going "where did the Indian gentleman go?".
Back to Stratford, it's way way too much of a touristy spot. Much more than what that poor house can handle. To make things worse, we went on a Sunday. It was very crowded and it was like moving in a queue @ the supermarket. I just felt happy being there. Shakespeare is probably the greatest playwright in the world, and every kid around the world has been brought up on Shakespeare literature, so I just felt honoured to be able to see his birthplace.
Our final stop was Warwick Castle. Nice place, very airy and open. But again, way way overcrowded. Every attraction inside had a big queue. Towers, the palace display inside, etc. But we had a lot of time, around 3 hrs which was very relaxing and nice. It was the weather that ruined it. It was really hot, and stuffy. But overall a good time was had. It was fun seeing those joustlers (did I spell that right?). The views of the houses were magnificent, another photo opp for me.
On our journey back, again all 3 of us slept throughout. We were dead tired. We got back to our hotel around 5:30pm, relaxed for a lil bit, had coffee and went for a nice walk in Hyde Park. The walk was EXCELLENT.We walked for about 1 hr or so, fed the ducks and I was surprised at how many spots I could recognise thanks to movies. It really is a beautiful park.
The thing about London that I notice more and more each time is how much the presence of people adds to the beauty of a city. Everywhere you go, you have PEOPLE. Parks, museums, roads, tubes, Thortons' chocolate shops, etc etc... It makes such a difference. I felt that during our Hyde park too. It's not just about the people, but their VARIETY. All sorts of people going at their own pace, living their own life, different cultures, mannerisms, it just feels magical.
Dinner was at a Bangladeshi rsnt near Paddington called "Taste of India". Food was decent, at least it was hot which is ALL we wanted. We retired rather early. Well mum and dad did, I spent some time on the Internet before I retired. Getting ready for the next day - Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens .
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