In Royal Footsteps-southern England and the long way home. | Australian Frequent Flyer
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In Royal Footsteps-southern England and the long way home.


Jul 4, 2002
After disembarking the wind we picked up a car from Avis and headed for the Isle of Wight where we spent 3 days in the Gatehouse of Osborn House where Queen Victoria died.

As befitting a Royal tour Avis played their part.On booking a Mercedes 200 series was only GBP 10 more for the whole rental than a Ford Mondeo.Good value I thought.Even more so when picking up the car they upgraded us to a 500 series Mercedes.
We spent one night at Barnett Hill hotel,3 nights at the Gatehouse,2 nights at Rhinefield house,2 nights at Oakley Hall,2 nights at the Waterside Inn at Bray with our final night at the Sofitel Heathrow.

Coming home we did a horror stretch for us with LHR-FRA-ICN-NRT in one hit but with 12 hours of layover time.
Then HND-BKK with 6 days in Bangkok.
BKK-SIN-SYD with 2 days in Sydney and finally SYD-BNE and a drive home to the Sunshine Coast.

We started with a 400 metre walk to the Avis office past the Tower and under Tower Bridge.
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Looking back at the Wind.
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The walk over cobblestones with bags wasn't easy.


Jul 4, 2002
Now the good thing about renting from Avis at Tower Bridge is it is just outside the congestion zone and according to Google maps the quickest way to Heathrow where we were going to to drop a bag at the Sofitel was straight down Tower Bridge road and past the Oval to cross the Thames-all was basically the border of the Congestion zone.The only problem was Google Maps had us going straight past the Oval except it was one way the other way.minor detour.
Mrsdrron took some shots as we set out.
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And a great living wall at the major roundabout at the end of Tower Bridge rd.
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Jul 4, 2002
Now the bad thing about getting an upgraded car was this handed had the GPS loaded.But today's drive to Barnett Hill from Heathrow was going to be easy.On to M25 south and on to A3 and turn left just past Guilford.It turned out I took one of the right roads but Google had a road number wrong-crucially the road the hotel was wrong.I finally stopped at a Premier hotel.No staff but they had a local map and I found we were less than 5 minutes from our destination.

Now the Hotel is a beautiful old building with magnificent grounds and a very comfortable room.
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But it suffered a problem still seen too often in England-pathetic service.We arrived at 1430 to be told that checkin wasn't until 3pm.No attempt at seeing if a room was ready or not.Told to go and sit in the bar which we did.Now there was a barman plus another staff member who drifted in and out but neither asked us if we wanted a drink.
The problem was there was a wedding on which was obviously a long boozy affair.The wedding was held at midday with photos from 1230.Reception wasn't until 1545.But the guests were almost certainly what Tony Hancock Esq would call chavs.A lot were drinking beer from the bottle and walking around bare footed-and that was the women.The men had ties ripped half off with shirts hanging over their pants.We were afraid for our sleep that night as the timetable had party time until midnight.

At 1455 another couple was allowed to check in so back to the desk we went.As I said the room was very comfortable.
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Jul 4, 2002
Both in Japan and England the Rhododendrons were out of kilter to normal timing.Mainly flowering later which suggests cooler winters.

But back to the TR.We had dinner at the Hotel.Nothing much close by anyway.
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Dinner washed down with.
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Mrsdrron started with a duck liver pate and then the lamb rump with a potato and onion galette with broccoli.
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Both nice though mrsdrron prefers her lamb a little more towards well done.
I had the pumpkin,honey and coconut soup and a sirloin steak.
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The soup was very nice but the steak although cooked to medium rare was very tough and chewy.We did not bother with dessert.
Breakfast was included.
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You ordered your cooked breakfast-I had the full English and quite good.No pics though.
Would not recommend this place.


Jul 4, 2002
The next morning it was off to Portsmouth.The plan was to spend some time at the Factory Outlets not far from the Isle of Wight ferry.
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Prices and sizes were not good so round to the ferry a little early.Still meant about 20 cars ahead of us for our ferry.Time to take some photos.
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Jul 4, 2002
So the last picture in the last post was this place.
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The fishing fleet accesses the sea through this narrow channel.
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The ferry in picture we thought was our ferry but as soon as unloading was done it moved into that narrow channel.
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It turned out they had put an extra ferry on because this was the friday of the last weekend of the English school holidays.When that ferry left the other returned and we were loaded.We were one of the first on but unfortunately that meant one of the last off as when the deck was full a button was pressed and deck with cars was elevated so more vehicles were loaded below us.They had to go first.

As well we had thought our plan of staying at Stately homes would keep us away from Mr Tony Hancock's chavs.They were now all around us.:( ;)
So off we sailed.The next ferry was nearly back to Portsmouth.
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You pass lots of forts.


Jul 4, 2002
Ryde on the Isle of wight.However only the fast ferry goes there now though in the past it was where the train ferry docked which is how Queen Victoria got to her Osbourne house.We will be docking in Fishbourne.
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Our first glimpse of Osbourne House.
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We were a little early for checkin so went to East Cowes,just down the road from Osbourne House.
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A nice old block of town houses.Unfortunately a lot of things in front of them as well as their community gardens.
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And the driveway to our apartment.
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Jul 4, 2002
After unpacking and having a little drink the 4 of us did a little walk over to the office and gift shop.Some interesting drinks.
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We had bought a bottle of white and a bottle of Lanson's rose from the ship,my sister had bought 2 bottles of white and of red and a bottle of Sav blanc in the hamper.We did manage to finish all that but no time for some of those libations.

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