Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sometimes Your Day Starts Out Bad and Just Goes Downhill From There!

I'm pasting this post directly from the email I sent to Butch and the girls.

This is all about Day 2 of my Downton Abbey Tour trip to England. Now remember, the main thing I wanted to do with my free time was to visit Hampton Court---home of King Henry VIII.
OMGosh! Where do I begin. This day has been terrible—and yet just being here is so much fun!!
We started our day with the vintage double-decker bus tour. It was pretty chilly to be up top and I forgot my sweater. I stayed down, but Karolyn and her sisters ended up coming down because even with jackets they were cold. The microphone didn’t work. Since most of the people were on top, the tour guide stayed up there and tried to yell over all of the city traffic. People told us that you couldn’t hear him any way. At least I’ve already been here, so knew quite a few of the attractions.

Next up was the Thames River Cruise. It was just that—a cruise—exactly what I did yesterday with my friend. Except, my friend pointed out interesting things all along the way. There was no commentary today.

We got back on the bus to head over to Buckingham for the changing of the guard. The guide let anybody that wanted to get off the bus for a 15 minute photo opportunity. I stayed on the bus since I already had these photos. By the time they got back—which was a half hour later—we got stuck in traffic and MISSED the changing of the guard!!! I cannot tell you how crowded it is here with tourists. I felt so bad for all the newcomers.

Buckingham Palace was the end of our tour for today. Karolyn’s sister had gotten us tickets to tour Buckingham. Elizabeth said since it was only noon, we had time for lunch before our ticket time. I said, “what? I was planning to leave for Hampton Court by 1 p.m.” I was planning to spend 3 hours at HC. The Buckingham Palace tour was to be an hour. Elizabeth never mentioned that our tickets were for a set time. I opted not to go on that tour since I’ve already seen it. Wasted 30 bucks---oh well. We had a very nice lunch near the tube station. I got to the tube station at 1:20 p.m. Now this was the main priority of my trip—Hampton Court—home to Henry VIII. I was only 20 minutes off my schedule, but still had plenty of time—or so I thought!

I DID NOT ARRIVE UNTIL 4 P.M. It took me 2 1/2 hours to get there! By then, I did not have time to tour it at all since I had to be at the theater (you know I love the theater and could not resist seeing a show in London) at 7 p.m. for the Beatles show Let it Be. I was so upset!!! Hampton Court is only 10 miles outside of London. According to the information that I had and confirmed with the hotel concierge—it was a 30 minute train ride. I WAS NEVER ON A TRAIN!!
I wrote down the instructions given me by the tour guide:
These direction were the most direct. Had I followed them, I think I would have been okay. Take the tube to Victoria Station from Green Park. Switch to the grey line to Waterloo and catch the train.
Instead, I asked the "information guy" at the tube station. He called someone and gave me this information. I figured they would know best. The tube instructions are on the right. The left are a few notes about the trip.
I did not make any mistakes—unless you call listening to the information people that are supposed to know—was a mistake—which it was!! It seems to me that people go to Hampton Court every day and they would know exactly what you should do. I was on 3 different tubes—transferring each time to get to Richmond where I was to get on the train. When I got there, that information guy said “oh no, you just need to hop on the bus.” Well, by this time I thought maybe I was only a couple of miles away. I was on the bus for an HOUR!!! After awhile we had a driver change who had to go through her checklist. We were on our way again for about 10 minutes when the bus driver announced that---this bus was going out of service. We were dropped off on the sidewalk and told to wait for another bus. That was only about a five minute wait. Finally, I arrived at Hampton Court. But too late to do anything.

I literally got there, took a picture of the outside and then started trying to figure out how to go back.

My friend yesterday said the boat was a really nice way to go, but that it would take 2 hours. I decided to do that. I did not want to get on that bus again! I saw an ice cream stand and bought one---I figured I deserved it! I asked where the dock was and was directed down the drive that runs along side Hampton Court—pedestrians only---second entrance. I’m thinking, “oh well, it’s a gorgeous day, I’ve seen some awesome flowers and houses, ornate  and ancient buildings and unusual birds. That’s not so bad—I’m in this wonderful country—Butch will just have to come back with me.”

As I’m walking down, I pass the first pier to "King-something." I continue on. After a bit, I’m thinking, I don’t even see another pier. Can you tell by this picture the clue I missed? Then I got distracted because I was at the back of the palace and could look through the fence at the gorgeous gardens. 

I continued to go down the road—now I’ve walked at least 15 minutes. I finally ask a couple of bikers and they tell me that the pier is on the OTHER SIDE of the main road—although I was walking in the direction that the ice cream man pointed to!! The clue I missed? There was no one else on the road. If there was a pier in that direction, most likely other people would be heading towards it! 
I walked back—another 15 minutes—now I’m panicking because it’s 4:40. I have no time to spare to get to the theater. 
I MISSED the boat!! The last one left at 4:30. OMGosh! I was about ready to start crying right then.

So now, I took a deep breath. I asked a resident—no professional information person this time—where the train station was. It wasn’t too far, so I walked there and got the information to get back to London. My plan was that once I got there, I would go straight to the theater. I got on the train at 5 p.m. I asked a guy how long it took to get to London. He said, “Well, this is the slow train.” And it was—other trains were zooming by on both sides. I about died!!! Then he said," it will take 40 minutes.” I’m like “whaattt?” That's why I should have been on the train to begin with. Now I was able to relax.

When I arrived in London---the Waterloo station where I should have started from---I decided to take a cab. I was tired of walking all over tarnation in the tubes---upstairs and downstairs! The cab only cost 4 pounds and I was at the theater at 6 p.m.!!! I went to an Italian restaurant and sat outside. I had spaghetti and meatballs, a big glass of Chianti and people watched. It was so nice. Again, I counted my blessings.

I went to the show—which was awesome! It was a concert!! I was surprised at how young the crowd was. I expected more people my age, 75% were way younger—even kids and teenagers. The problem with that?? Just like a regular concert, they stood, danced and sang nearly the whole time. They all seemed to know the words. Of course, I knew all the words too. My legs were really tired to be doing all that standing. I’ll have to count how many songs they did, but it was at least 30. It was 2 1/2 hours long.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the “guys” didn’t look anything like the Beatles. They had costume changes and they sounded exactly like the Beatles, so that was good. Better that way than the other way around—look like them but not sound like them.

So basically, I spent the whole day riding around the country side just to get to the theater.

Okay, my feet are really tired. I’ve already had my shower. It’s midnight and I’m about ready to go to bed. I half way considered skipping the tour tomorrow to try to get back to Hampton Court, but decided against it. I’ve paid for the tour—I need to do that. I’ll just walk around Bath and look at things I didn’t look at before. Plus, I am looking forward to Stonehenge.

I'm still grateful to be here---and I really am enjoying myself!


  1. I should think you must have spent your entire visit being exhausted!!!! Hope you had better luck the next day.

  2. Oh my goodness, this trip was quite the adventure!

  3. I think maybe that's what's called A Comedy of Errors! Makes a great read though

  4. Oh no - what a comedy of errors, yep if you'd done the train you'd have been o.k. But you are right - this means you will have to come back :)


Thanks for commenting. If you would like a response from me, then please leave your email address.