Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to implement my new life plan to travel to a different country every year for the rest of my life. It was even better when my BFF Jenni decided to join me! So after a long, hard day at work, I headed out to National Airport for the first leg of my adventure.
Jenni and I met up in Detroit and caught the same red eye to Heathrow. Clearly it was my lucky day, since the seat beside me was vacant. After a couple of Bloody Mary’s and some Tylenol PM I slept like a baby!
Once we arrived, we zipped right through passport control, retrieved our bags, exchanged some cash, and caught the bus to the Hertz lot. Although Rashan worked hard to convince us to upgrade to the Mercedes S Class, we stuck with our Skoda and while Jenni fired up the GPS machine, I practiced left handed shifting. Thankfully, there was not a lot of traffic, so the occasional “oh shit they’re coming right at us” didn’t cause any actual problems.
We decided to go off route and head into Circenster for lunch. I found a car park and we dropped random coins into the slot. Our ticket said we could stay until 14:59. Not having any sort of wifi or Internet connection, and having forgotten to change our watches at the airport, we felt pretty good about our assumption that we’d have plenty of time to grab a quick lunch. Sadly, we never anticipated the adorable rain hats they were selling at The Witches Knickers. Or how long it would take to visit a local church, do some window shopping, visit an ATM, grab a cup of tea and make our way back to the car. Apparently the parking ticked arrived only 30 minutes before we did.
I was concerned about reaching our hotel before dark, so we shoved the ticket in the glove box and moved on. As we hopped back on the motorway, we turned on the local radio just in time to hear the M5 was flooded at Junction 12 (our exit) and traffic was being cut from three lanes to one. That’s also about the time that traffic came to a complete stop. After that, we inched along and I got plenty of practice with the left handed shifting for well over an hour.
When we finally turned off of that road and onto another, we were so relieved, we blew right by the “road closed ahead signs”. In our defense, all the other cars were driving around the makeshift barricade too, which was why we were so surprised when we actually drove through the river. Luckily, the wake from the car in front of us pushed a bit of the water out of our way and we were able to make it to the other side where a bunch of other poor fools were driving around their barricade too. I’m guessing the police barricade signs are optional here.
Our hotel was the Hilton in Tewkesbury. It’s a stately old manor home with a modern wing built onto the back. My diamond status scored me a palatial room with a spacious tub and detached shower in the marble bathroom. I also really enjoyed the fruit basket and small bottles of wine and sparkling water. Jenni had a room on the slum side, which was down a really long poltergeist looking hallway and lacked my fluffy robe and slippers and stuff. We popped into the bar for a quick dinner and to plot out our next day! Stay tuned for an update from Stratford On Avon!