ESW brief review

Finally have a little free time, before starting our day. I'm currently on day 10 of the ESW tour.

tl;dr - great trip

TD Rachel is top notch. I'd place her tied for #1 with Steven Fisher, who I had on the Central Europe tour about 6 years ago. Great fund of historical knowledge.

I suggest going in August so you get to see the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh. It's a great show. The VIP military guy at the show was Mark Milley, and I actually rode down the elevator with him at the Sheraton, but didn't recognize him.

Weather - A nice break from summer, but even cooler than I expected. Temps have been in the low 60s most days. It has rained at least part of every day, except yesterday. The rain has been light and sporadic, though we did get caught in a downpour at Hadrian's Wall. ALWAYS carry an umbrella and rain jacket. If you see blue sky, it will be gone in short order.

Food has been very good. Hotels so-so (haven't been to the Savoy yet). While they are all in great locations, some of them are hundreds of years old with fairly small rooms. In my current hotel, Francis Hotel Bath, I think the mattress is OEM. :)

Beginning on day 2, there were a few people coughing, supposedly "allergies." They are still on the trip. Several more people are coughing now. Two other people left the tour yesterday when they tested positive for Covid. I have been one of 6-7 people wearing a mask on the bus and crowded indoor sites. Nobody in the UK wears masks any longer. We signed Tauck's Covid document at the start, but it is really meaningless. It's all honor system, and some people have no hono(u)r.


  • Glad you are enjoying the tour BKMD. I’m sorry, what is OEM?
    Keep healthy. When Covid was discussed recently here on the forum and I suggested most people would continue to travel and not admit they had Covid or test or where masks, I don’t think people thought intelligent Tauck travelers would do that, but they do! Covid is increasing again in the US, my friend had it and never thought to tell me even though we had been together four days before that. I’ve escaped it again.
    I would expect temps in the 60’s in late August in Scotland and everywhere in ESW, it really cools down in. The evening.
    Is it Rachel with the long Italian name? Alan S had her on his England trip years ago, he posted the famous photo with duct tape across his mouth on the bus. We had Rachel for our first K and T tour about 2007 and then on the Elegant South Africa tour. She was on a diet of only eating raw food at the time and I gave her my book about how humans changed when they invented fire and could eat meat so much more quickly when it was cooked. Forget the title of the book but it had ‘fire’ in it. She told me she ate a steak after reading the first few chapters. She was fun!

  • British
    I’m sorry, what is OEM?

    It stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. In rhis case, meaning the mattress that came with the building in the 1700s :)

    Is it Rachel with the long Italian name?

    Yes. She's working on a PhD in history (?) at the Univ of Wales in her spare time and certainly knows her history.

  • BKMD - Temps have been in the low 60s most days. It has rained at least part of every day, except yesterday.
    The rain has been light and sporadic, though we did get caught in a downpour at Hadrian's Wall.

    When I did a similar tour in 2008, with an additional week in Ireland added on, the only time we got rained on was during our visit to Stonehenge. The rest of the three plus weeks, including our time in Scotland which included seeing the Military Tatoo, were rain free.

    The temperatures were about the same as you describe, but we were, I guess, much more fortunate from a rain avoidance perspective during our August 2008 visit.

    You do the best you can picking times when you will have good weather, but you still roll the dice with the weather. You win some and you lose some.

  • Did any conscientious mask wearer pick up the "goodies"?

  • There will always be masking guests who pick up an upper respiratory infection. It happened to us during lunchtime, when we were coughed and sneezed upon. Our own darn fault, because we knew she was sick and we should have stayed far, far away. But being antisocial is not fun. I want to thank very much the folks who have the courage and sense to put on a mask where appropriate. It is no guarantee, but it HELPS. Keep it real and keep it fun.

  • And BK glad you are enjoying the tour!

  • I will be so frustrated if gosh darned COVID blocks me again. In 2019, DH and I tried to do a HA cruise. Had just finished first night dinner when we get text message "come home now". We were off the ship the next morning and my FIL died a few days later. We book again for 2020. Guess what, COVID cancelled that trip. We book for 2021, and a few months before we learn HA sold the ship for our cruise, with no replacement plans. Did not even try for 2022. So our scotland this fall trip is hopefully our first successful trip since our Tauck Tour in 2014

  • BKMD enjoy the trip. For the most part people will do as they want with little respect for others. For most Covid is a thing of the past.

  • Fortunately, we are done with the bus as of this morning. Most of the time in London is on our own. Nobody else has left the tour. There were still several coughers this morning, mostly unmasked. Walked about 6 miles today and took the subway back to the hotel, after visiting the V&A museum. Nobody on the crowded subway was masked except us. Farewell dinner is tomorrow night and we are spending an extra day, courtesy of GoT, at the Savoy.

  • Some follow-up comments, now that we've completed day 2 in London. The city is packed with mostly young people. This morning, we did Westminster Abbey as a group with a local guide who was very good, then were on own until dinner. We did 6+ miles walking in the Westminster and Chelsea areas. Just walking neighborhoods, parks, etc. All very nice. Visited the Victoria and Albert museum which has a little bit of everything (Paintings, tapestries, Chihuly glass, ancient to 1900 glassware, ceramics, etc. from all over the world, etc.) Then we took the subway back to the hotel. You can just tap your credit card at the turnstile, both entering and exiting. No tickets are needed. Tomorrow morning we have an optional walking tour to Buckingham Palace, then free time, then the farewell dinner. I still have a bunch of things on my list to see over the next few days (staying an extra day).

    We were craving salads for lunch, which are far and few between in the UK, at least with our included meals. We went to Pret a Manger, which is a chain. There are locations on east and west coasts USA, but nowhere in between I had a falafel salad, with lettuce and hummus which was very good and reasonably priced. This chain is everywhere in London. Re included meals, I noticed on this tour, many more meals include alcohol (i.e., wine) than on other tours.

    This evening was our London show eve. Having previously lived in the Phila area and doing day trips by train to NYC once or twice a month, I had previously seen just about all the show options. That left two Disney shows that didn't interest me, and Mousetrap. So we went to Mousetrap. Let me preface by saying I generally don't like British TV shows and don't appreciate the British sense of humour. That said, I found this shgw terribly boring and watching paint dry would have been more entertaining. It didn't help that the theatre was uncomfortably warm. I left at intermission.

  • Hi - BKMD -- were there any "rave" reviews foremother theater goers of particular plays? Looking for input to make our choice. THANKS!

  • There wasn't much opportunity to chat with people as the day after the show was all free time in London, followed by the farewell dinner the next evening. I did hear one person say they liked Frozen and another who enjoyed Phantom, but that was all. I saw Phantom on Broadway years ago and it was very good.

  • When we went on the trip a few years ago, we chose "Come from Away" which was quite good. If you haven't seen it and it is still open, I would recommend it highly.

  • Come From Away is up at the top of my favorite shows and I’ve seen hundreds. If it is still on in London, go, and take Kleenex. I’ve seen it three times., twice on Broadway

  • That wasn't an option.

  • I agree with "Come from Away" It's one of my all-time favorites. (I saw it the same weekend I saw "Hamilton" -- so very different -- one a spectacle, one quite simple -- but both excellent.)

  • BKMD, has already taken his tour Cathy and a review.

  • I saw it in Manhattan. Very powerful. It will restore one's faith in humanity. And yes, have tissues...lots of them.

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