Monday: London

20190922_075321

The next leg of my travel adventure begins today. My rowing is finished, I said goodbye to my rowing friends, and spent the night at Heathrow airport where my traveling companion will arrive in a few hours.

We will visit friends in the city later on today and tomorrow before heading to Scotland. For now, some coffee after a workout.

20190922_232423Got to keep on keeping on now that I’m not rowing eight hours a day.

Day 7: Weybridge

20190921_05055820190921_123253

Today was the last day of our Thames River row and we ended our trip in Weybridge. This is where the River Wey joins the Thames.

It was an unseasonably warm day with lots of wind and many boats out enjoying the weather. It seemed as though everyone was outdoors, swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and rowing. We spent two hours total, we calculated, waiting to get into and through the 3 locks. Boats were lined up in both directions. When we finally arrived at the boathouse to wash the boats and put them away, it was close to 6pm.

We finished with a farewell dinner at a restaurant in Windsor, and agreed that our week was just about perfect.

On to London tomorrow as my trip continues.

[photos: above – packed up boats, Windsor Castle

below- black and white cows]

 

20190921_104352

Day 6: Windsor

20190920_061935Today was the longest row of our trip and it was especially fun. I rowed all day with the two women from my club I’m traveling with. We were on the coxed double, switching the coxing job every three hours or so.

We passed under ancient bridges and went through eight or nine locks. Locks take time since we have to wait for a space to row our boat in and then wait for the water flow to be complete before we row out. It’s a little like threading a needle, since there can be big power boats hogging most of the lock. The cox has to negotiate the paddle in, and often there is barely room to move.

With all those locks and strong wind, it took all day to get from Henley to Windsor.

We stopped for lunch at about 2, then continued to endure wind gusts for the second part of our day. We were glad to get to our hotel, after pulling the boats out at the Excelsior Rowing Club, where we will get them in the morning. Tomorrow is our last day on the Thames.

[photos: swan on the dock; lawn party we rowed past; ancient church]

20190920_04101920190920_055106

Day 5: Leander Rowing Club

20190919_124947Thursday was another excellent day. We rowed half the day, to Henley-on-Thames, known around the world for its focus on rowing. I walked around the city and enjoyed checking out the shops and the Thursday market.
Cameron Buchan, who is training for a spot on the 2020 Olympic Rowing team, gave us a tour of the Leander Rowing Club training facility. The club has been training almost all of GB’s Olympic rowers for over 100 years so was filled with interesting rowing memorabilia. We had dinner with Cameron and Anne Buckingham from the club. Tomorrow will be our longest row yet, 33 km to Eton. 20190919_12015720190919_122225Rowing shells at Leander Club. .

Days 3 and 4: Henley

20190916_101745-1

We had two fabulous days of rowing the Thames.

Tuesday we traveled from Abington to Wallingford. I rowed in the double for the morning row and it was fantastic – cows wading in the water, beautiful birds, lush green trees.

We stopped at a pub for lunch and I was in stroke seat in the quad for the afternoon row. Dinner was at Brown’s Restaurant in Oxford. It was a long day and late night, but wonderful.

Wednesday we moved from our rooms at Wadham College in Oxford, after three perfect nights on the old Oxford campus. I lived it and was sad to leave. But leave we did, and we put our boats back in the water at the Brooke’s University Oxford boathouse where we had pulled them out last night. I had a nice morning row in the double, in bow seat. We passed by some collegiate rowers, miscellaneous other boats, some beautiful homes, and of course wonderful scenery. We pulled the boats out at Henley and checked into our hotel, where we will be for two nights.

20190917_060625

20190917_052905

 

Day 2: Oxford

20190915_122359-1We checked out Blenheim Palace today. Maurizio Cattelan’s contemporary art was displayed at random places around the place where Winston Churchill was born.

I didn’t like it. A taxidermied horse hung from a ceiling, a boy sat up high and banged a drum, other odd displays were around the historical building. We weren’t able to see the $4.5million 18-carat gold toilet bowl because it was stolen yesterday – yanked out of the wall, causing massive flooding, and tossed in the back of a van.

I tried punting later in the day. This old English sport is difficult – pushing a flat-bottomed boat along with a long steel stick.

Tomorrow we start our row on the Thames.

20190915_11430520190915_051804-1

Day 1: Oxford

20190914_073849We arrived in London this morning and almost immediately jumped on a bus to Oxford, where our week begins. The ride was about 1.5 hours and the cab ride to our bnb was another 10 minutes. We had too much luggage to walk.

We checked in at the Marlborough House, then left right away to walk into the center of the city. It was about a 45- minute walk, but we stopped along the way.  The university was having an Open Doors day to begin their semester, so we lucked into that and saw some old, old buildings.

We checked out the Thames River, where we will be rowing this week, although we aren’t sure where we will start.

We had dinner (paella👍) at a food festival, where there were at least 25 vendors.

We ended our day on the back deck of the Red Lion, where we enjoyed a cocktail before walking back to our hotel.

20190914_082356Thames River20190914_084827Learning to open the lock so a boat can pass through