Friday, November 13, 2015
Oh England, you have captured my heart and you won't let go. I've traveled to Europe four other times and have never felt this way. I have loved visiting all of those beautiful countries in Europe but traveling to Europe has always given me the feeling that I am far, far away from home. I can even go to California, Alaska, or Arizona and be aware that I am far away from home. Home in Virginia has always been a magnet for me. My family has lived in Virginia since 1609. Virginia is very much a part of my being. England, I don't feel far from home with you. I've felt your gentle arms wrap around me as we traveled around your beautiful countryside. Your lovely people have been so kind and helpful. Even with your small roads and driving on the wrong side of the road, it has been the most grand adventure I could have ever dreamed. Having ancestors from England surely must be a reason that my heart feels this way.
England I must bid you farewell today! We have now turned in the rental car and we are now riding in the taxi to the pier. I'm happy we are traveling back home on the Queen Mary 2! It will help take the sting away of having to leave England.
Having taken the QM2 to England, we know what wonderful service we will enjoy upon our return. I've missed my children and grandchildren. They mean the world to me. Still I feel a certain ache in the pit of my stomach. I am tired. We have seen so much and packed a lot into each day. We always do this on our travels. I'm ready to relax on this journey back to home.
We have given our bags to the porter and now have checked through security. We are now able to board the Queen Mary 2.
We are directed to our stateroom and begin to settle into our home for the next seven days. After having unpacked we decide to have a little lunch in the King's Grill. Before the sail away we participate in the mandatory Muster Drill. It's a beautiful day to enjoy the festivities before departing England. So we make our way topside to bid our last farewell to England--Oh no!
Wait a minute we can't go without recalling all the wonderful places we've seen! Grayden made a wonderful map of all the spots we visited.
As you can see we have had a packed eleven days. Thank you dear readers for coming along on our journey. It has been so exciting sharing all of our travels with you!
I must also again thank Susan Branch for her wonderful book, A Fine Romance, for the inspiration for this journey! If you ever think of going to England and want to visit the English countryside, you must read her book first!
Of course, I must thank my sweetheart for all of his work planning this trip especially for me. Grayden you have spent hours and hours working on all the places I wanted to see. The maps you plotted before leaving home, the pre- programmed GPS were lifesavers for us! You have driven us just under 2,000 miles around England. The roundabouts, the narrow roads, the driving on the wrong side of the road didn't phase you one bit! There is no one on earth I would rather have shared this trip with! I love you, my sweetheart!
I also must mention the National Trust. Bravo to you for maintaining the integrity of all the beautiful properties in your care. You are a wonderful organization that I am thrilled to be a member of through the Royal Oak Foundation (The American arm of the National Trust of Great Britain). I highly recommend joining this Foundation before traveling to Great Britain.
It's time for us to depart. We are standing at the stern of the ship ready to say goodbye. There are tears of joy and happiness at all we have enjoyed. I think I'm ready....
We stayed at the stern gazing as we went through the passage out into the ocean! Goodbye to all the beauty of the Lake District, the castles, the charming old homes, the gardens, the gorgeous cathedrals, the miles and miles of stone walls dotted with sheep. I could go on and on. I'm waving Deb! I hope you can see me! It's getting dark now and we must go inside and begin our journey back home.
I can't be sad. We have a week of relaxation to enjoy. We have programs and afternoon tea to enjoy. No, I won't be sad.
The entertainment and programs were different than our voyage over so we enjoyed ourselves immensely on our crossing home. The course home was a little bit further south, so the weather was more agreeable to long walks and relaxing days on the deck. They track the polar icebergs and they were floating south so we stayed clear of those.
I never knew the ocean would be so blue so far out! It was gorgeous! Several days we spotted dolphin and one day Grayden spotted whales! How awesome are our great oceans! The captain gave updates at noon and made us feel well taken care of.
After seven wonderful days we are greeted by the beautiful Statue of Liberty! We are back in the United States of America!