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ReportsSunday, 10 June 2001
Paignton --> Dartmouth (UK) About finally leaving Paignton and stay in a house once General Eisenhower looked out of the same window. Again, what a nice story to tell you!
Pauline and James would take me up the twenty minutes distance to the Southern little town Dartmouth, only it took up to 45 minutes to get there, because James did not want to go with the ferry. So we had to drive all around the bay and got into hills of Dartmouth.
When we arrived in Dartmouth (visit impressive Dartmouth Online) on this sunny Sunday, Pauline suggested to have a final beer in the local pub.
Inside we had some nice talks with the barman about running your own business, licenses and the time you don't have to go on a holiday.
After two beers, P+J dropped me off on top of Mount Boone, actually just a little hill, where the Barrington House is located.
At the front door I said goodbye to my Paignton hosts and met my new hosts Simon and Lizzie Baldwin with two young kids, who were really glad to see me in real life.
Today the kids got this supersoaker water guns which of course was much more fun than an old student from the Netherlands who was travelling the world and visiting their parents. I wish I had a water gun too! Just kiddin'.
Simon and Lizzie bought Barrington House some eighteen months ago and restyled the complete house into a colonial style quality Bed & Breakfast, which is refreshingly different than anything I have seen 'till now. It almost comes close to the memories of the French 'castle' I stayed at in Paris...
And the little bit of history:
The house dates back to the 1860's; and I am told it was originally built for a member of the Peake-Frean families (established biscuit makers). More recentlyGeneral Eisenhower - former 34st President of the United States - used it as his billet in June 1944 prior to the Normandy Landings!
Eisenhower actually was the principal architect of the successful allied invasion of Europe during World War II and of the subsequent defeat of Nazi Germany.
So there I was, given the 'superior double room' on the second floor, where once General Eisenhower must have looked out of the window, predicting the weather conditions for his 160,000 soldiers, with a big cigar (just imagining this), thinking about when, how and where to land his men at the French West-coast.
With the sun on the other side of the house and the port and the sea at my window side, I had a great view to sailors coming in, boats leaving the port and the ferry going up en down the little passage.
In the middle of the Dartmouth port lays a big yacht, called Le Grand Blue. Thinking this was originally one of the working titles of the Microsoft Company, this must be Bill Gates' boat!
I just thought about swimming up there and ask him if I can wash his windows....
After relaxing a bit (just because I like relaxing, not that I am tired after three days in a hotel in Paignton) and looking out of my window for a long while, I met some other guests in the lounge on the first floor.
It's nice to be in a Bed & Breakfast Hotel, instead of a commercial hotel where almost nobody knows you. In a Bed & Breakfasts the hosts really talk with their guests and enjoy the conversations with anybody.
So there I sat in this beautiful lounge with the whole family, and some English hotel guests, talking about travelling and about Dartmouth, while drinking some delicious white wine. On the background I hear some jazz music.
After the wine, I was invited to the dinner party in the dining room. Normally Simon & Paul only do breakfasts, but because some guests requested a dinner with everybody, Simon got into the kitchen and was a chef-cook again!
Before getting into business with the Barrington House, Simon had worked himself up as a cook in the kitchen (he even worked in restaurants in Paris!) to the management of six hotels in southeast England.
But that life was just too exhausting. All the traffic jams in that part of England don't really make a human being happy and when he met Lizzie, they sought a nice and peaceful place to raise their kids and run their own business.
And they found a great place in Dartmouth, I must agree! In England Dartmouth is primarily known because of its Naval College. Almost every English marine
After dinner Simon took me out into the little town, to show me around at the most interesting things. Walking down the hill was easy, but after the tour around the port, a beer in a pub, another little tour, the walk up the hill was really difficult.
I understand why the Dutch are known for having so many bicycles. In England you just can't ride a bike! Everything just goes up and down all the time. You must hate yourself pretty much, if you decide to go cycling in this part of the country!
But eventually, totally out of breath, I got back to my room and enjoyed Dartmouth by night. While watching some Kurt Russel-movie on English television, I filled the bath and around midnight I had my first real hot bath in almost 40 days. Wonderful...
Tomorrow I'll be on the road again, hitchhiking again and not visiting hotels that have invited me, for a while.
Heading up to the upper North of England, I still hope the weather stays like this.
Follow my tracks on Ludo's map of my travelling so far!
It's in Dutch, but you'll see a lot!
>> Click here <<