My son took me on my dream vacation to England last October. He knew I had wanted to travel there since I was a child. My mother's side of the family had British roots and I had been looking at photos and reading about England as long as I can remember. Although I've traveled a lot in the US, it was always by car or bus. I had never flown anywhere let alone overseas. My son was doubtful I'd actually get on the plane, but I did and it was much better than I expected. We traveled Virgin Atlantic and it was no problem for me at all. I just kept telling myself I was on a bus. We landed at Heathrow and a car was waiting to take us to Burford in the Cotswolds. We spent five days at the Lamb Inn on Sheep Street. It was exactly how I imagined a country town in England to be. Two ladies traveled with us who go every year so they helped us get around. The Lamb Inn staff was so friendly and the inn itself is lovely. The gardens were beautiful with flowers and greenery. I spent every morning and evening there. My room, the Violet, was perfect. Each night we sat by the fire in the lounge and had a Guiness. I don't ever drink alcohol so that was unusual for me. I had to have the half pint. Couldn't handle a pint. Each morning we had breakfast in town at Huffkin's. The staff there was so accommodating as well. We explored all the shops on High Street. What I found so appealing was the kindness of everyone we came in contact with. Even in the bank the tellers were a pleasure to speak to. I love history and antiques so I especially enjoyed the age of the buildings and antique shops. I walked into one of the stores and felt like I was on the set of the British comedy "Are you Being Served" that I always loved watching. A very nice lady who worked there engaged me in conversation about the difference between British and American washing machines. She felt American ones agitated less and were easier on clothes. I don't know if that's the case or not. She went on to tell me about a mishap her mum had with a pressure cooker and a beet root. She was just so charming to talk to.
As much as I hated to leave Burford, we were to spend the next five days in London. We stayed at the Egerton in Knightsbridge. A very nice hotel with an extremely helpful staff. I think my favorite time in London was riding in the top of a bus just getting on and off wherever we decided to. We, of course, saw all the usual sites. Absolutely stunning architecture everywhere you looked. One night was Phantom of the Opera which I had seen in New York, but wanted to see in London. I was unfortunately hit with a cold bug that day and couldn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Whatever I bought at the chemist's really worked, though, and I was better for the rest of the trip. I had always wanted to stand on Westminister Bridge where William Wordsworth wrote his poem, 'Ode to Westminister Bridge." I was able to do that and my son took my photo there. It was wonderful.
I cannot say enough about the people of England. In London as well as Burford, everyone was so courteous and just a joy to talk to. No one became impatient with me if I was slow to get out the right coins or had to ask what something was on the menu. I wish I could say the same about people in America, but somehow I don't see the same hospitality here. I hope I'm wrong.
My son and I are planning to return to England in Fall of 2012. We're hoping to stay at the Lamb again and possibly take a trip to Wales for a day or so. My son gave me a gift that I will cherish forever and I am so grateful to him and to the people of England for making it all that I expected it to be.