A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 41

LOCH LOMOND

We were away fairly early today as we had quite a journey to get to Loch Lomond. We retraced our steps back to Inverness and then down p sat Loch Ness on our way south. It's amazing how much tourism has been generated out of the Loch Ness Monster story, every second hotel and B&B had a Nessie reference and there were lookouts every few minutes. We eventually grabbed one for a spot of lunch, but no sign of Nessie!

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The journey South was lovely, full of majestic views of Loch Ness, Lochaber, and many beautiful little villages along the shores. We stopped briefly at Glencoe, a more sobering place, still majestic but not as beautiful and definitely dominated by the story of the Massacre. The hills were covered in an eerie mist which just added to the mood.

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Around teatime we arrived at our very modern hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond. The loch is all it is supposed to be, calm, beautiful and slightly mystical. It was a lovely place to spend the night a relief to get a good night's sleep for a change.

Posted by Ian.jenny 13:05 Comments (0)

Day 42

DUMFRIES

After a good sleep in our Loch Lomond hotel we were early to try to get to Dumfries by lunchtime. It was a good trip south, passing Glasgow a highlight though we said we would have to come back there to see what it was really like. We arrived at Anne and Jock's in plenty of time to a great reception and settled in immediately. They are such a lovely couple and treated us like royalty. Anne and I got to reminiscing about the Watlington Intermediate days and it was so good to get back to where we left off last year when they visited Dunedin.

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After lunch they took us on a guided tour of Dumfries. It was special as they both knew quite a lot about the history, especially the story about Robbie Burns. He is a favourite of Anne's so it was a special tour. We visited his house, the pub he drank in and met his friends, and his burial site in the village cemetery. So much of the man is still visible in Dumfries and it was great to see it all first hand.

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It was fascinating to spend some time in the old pub. We could see where Burns drank, slept and everything was still as it was, a really unusual feature in a working pub.
We also ventured into the outskirts of Dumfries to see the site of the old University, the new hospital, and the ancient Kirkpatrick castle near the Solway Firth. This was all very interesting and well preserved and we spent a great time wandering around together while Anne and Jock gave us a commentary.

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Once back home we were treated to a wonderful home cooked meal and then enjoyed a wine or three while watching a recording of the ABs game against Argentina. We got to bed in the wee hours and slept well.

Posted by Ian.jenny 12:08 Comments (0)

Day 43

MARKET BOSWORTH

After a good sleep in and a hearty breakfast we set off again with Anne and Jock, we set off on some more sightseeing around Dumfries. We visited the old 12th century abbey at New Abbey. This was in remarkably good condition and was worth a good look. Anne had been principal at the local school so had some knowledge of the area to share.

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We had a good look around the city centre and Jenny purchased her usual magnets and souvenirs. We found another house that Robbie Burns had lived in and wandered around the market square and along the river. By now it was getting towards lunch time so we headed back to the house, said our sad goodbyes to our dear friends, and hit the road again for Market Bosworth. It was sad to leave Scotland but we promised to return some time. This was the hardest drive of the trip so far. It rained for much of the journey so driving was treacherous and the closer to Birmingham we got the more the traffic built up. At last we made it to a quaint wee village called Congerstone. Our picturesque B&B was called the Old Ivy Cottage and we dined that night in the Horse & Jockey. It was all very rural and friendly.

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Posted by Ian.jenny 12:33 Comments (0)

Day 44

LONDON

We left a very pleasant Market Bosworth and had time for a tour around the village before we had to head off to London. It is a very quaint little rural town, focused around agriculture but with a distinct homely feel outside the old city centre. We saw squirrels darting around in a beautiful park and some lovely old and not so small houses in the suburbs. We didn't have time to visit the battlefield so maybe that's a plan for next time.

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It was a very different trip back to the 'Big Smoke'. Our GPS friend led us a merry dance around the lanes and back roads south of Market Bosworth. We did fine until we met another car coming the other way. Trucks were able to engender a sense of panic in the VW. Once she had delivered us back onto the M1 we were just another of the thousands of cars surging south. We are constantly amazed at the amount of traffic on the motorways around the UK. We delivered VW and made our way back to the hotel via the Heathrow tube. On the way we found a rather large ball advertising the RWC and couldn't resist a photo opportunity.

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We had plenty to do at our hotel this night because in the morning we were to fly back to Venice to start our cruise.

Posted by Ian.jenny 11:25 Comments (0)

Day 45

VENICE

It was up at a crazy time to get ourselves on the journey to Venice. It was a day of logistics, we had to get the tube to Victoria Station so that we could get an Easybus to Luton Airport to get our flight to Venice. We struggled at times as the signposting is not designed for strangers but at last we were in Luton and waiting for our flight. We were unimpressed with the airport, it was old, poorly organised, and we spent a long time in queues waiting for Easyjet to get organised. We couldn't criticise the service because there wasn't any!
At last we were back in Venice and with a little bit of local knowledge we thought we were OK. But no, we found a taxi and then a watertaxi and experienced the tourists hordes once again.

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Our hotel was somewhere in the middle of the canal system in the old town, a mistake in hindsight because we had to find it on foot. Anyone who has been in this part of the world will know that it is very simple to get lost in this labyrinth. We did it many times, despite the locals pointing us in the 'right' direction. We were hot and tired by the time we reached the hotel but after a rest we had a lovely meal in the courtyard of the hotel and retired exhausted but happy that tomorrow we would board Zuiderdam.

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Posted by Ian.jenny 11:39 Comments (0)

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