Birmingham Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
I arrived in Birmingham to Samâs smiling face and torrential rain. It was great to have someone here to meet me (a rarity) but the rain was something to see. We werenât going to let that stop us though and off we headed to see the sights of Birmingham. High on Samâs âto seeâ list was THE BEACH. Photos attached and self explanatory, but I have to say â unlike any beach Iâd seen before. And, being land-locked, quite unexpected for Birmingham.
The next day we set off on our roadtrip, Bohemian Rhapsody blaring, as planned. We hit Worcester first off and this was one of my favourite towns.
Our exit from Worcester was not so grand, our car displaying a parking ticket. As the responsible party for feeding the parking machine, I felt I was to blame. Clearly, I have no grasp of the English language and how to load a parking meter. Talk about steep â GBP25. Not a great start to the day. But onwards and upwards, we wont be defeated. Off to Bristol we head to find the place where Dad used to live, but we go via a small town called Stroud for a lovely pub lunch.
Off to Clifton to see about the place where Deb was born but the same sort of luck there. We set our sights on a large landmark this time â Clifton suspension bridge. As a whopping bridge in Clifton it was an easy target and un-missable, youâd think.
On to Bath.
Our trip was turning into a true connoisseurs tour. With pub lunches and dinners daily my clothes are getting tighter and tighter. But the food has been incredible, and from emails received, a bit of a highlight for you guys as well, so I plan on keeping the photos coming of my dining pleasures â by popular demand.
Spent the night in Bath and it was the best hostel Iâve stayed in to date. It had a gym and pool table which arenât the norm with the hostels Iâve been to. Also, the rooms and public areas were quite modern. The guy at reception was really helpful and it was in the dead centre of town. They donât come much better than this. Breaky included in the morning and we were set. Off to see more of Bath before heading off again.
The next place was a mystery inclusion on the trip. The research that Sam did for this trip made me want to offer him a job. There were 3 pages of information on sights, accommodation, etc. I was duly impressed. But the next stop was one he kept close to his chest. It was between him and the satnav and I was to be kept guessing. Only 5 seconds away, I got it â Stonehenge. What a treat to just throw in there. I hadnât anticipated seeing Stonehenge so was pretty blown away â literally too as it gets very windy on that hill. True English weather provided the rain that stayed long enough to just get you wet enough to get your brolly out, then it would disappear.
After Stonehenge, it was on to Oxford. The town of scholars. What another beautiful city as well. Again, the rain, but we soldiered on.
After Oxford, it was off to Stratford-upon-avon, home of Shakespeare. Here, the weather turned it on for us. There were blue skies at last. We went straight to the theatre to book our tickets for A Midsummerâs Night Dream which was playing at 7pm. Being one Shakespeare play that neither Sam nor I had read in school, we were worried it may be a bit on the boring side and hard to understand. I pictured some high-brow performance of pompous actors. To be told that it was sold out bar 2 seats that werenât near each other (how could we nudge each other awake through this 3 hour performance if we werenât near one another?) or standing in the stalls. Standing it was â this was going to be a long 3 hours. Off to see the sights and, yep â another pub meal complete with a quick beer in the outside garden. Back to the show and up to the stalls we went. Let the performance begin. It was fantastic from the opening scene. Not pretentious at all but easily understandable (for us simple folk) and very funny. The first half flew by but there was a bit of shifting the weight (which has grown with the pub meals) from foot to foot. We asked to sit in one of the empty seats where ticket payers hadnât shown up and â yay, they let us. So, we sat through the 2nd half and it was a great show. Best 5-er Iâd spent all trip.
Home to Birmingham after this. Our road trip was over 300 miles of driving, included 7 towns of interest and provided 5 pub meals. I think that alone shows the success. But in seriousness, hats off to you, Sam. You are a true friend who showed me a side of England that Iâd never seen before and one that I could never see on my own. The effort that you put into the planning here â incredible. Thanks for giving me a magnificent few days in the Cotswolds!!!
Well, itâs another train for me today out of Birmingham and up to Manchester. Meeting up with Dim again and we fly out to Prague tonight to meet up with Billy from Belfast.