Back to lovely England again. You can’t get enough of this country!
Thursday 9 November 2017
Airline: Finnair From: Helsinki, Finland To: London, England Price: 541,34 / 2 adults Duration: 3 hours 10 minutes
Our journey started with large Finnair Airbus A350-900 plane at 8 o’clock from Helsinki airport. A350-900 has a nice entertainment system and you can watch movies, listen to music, play games etc. during the flight. And the flying altitude was more than 13 000 meters, really steady and comfortable.
Finnair Airbus A350-900
Guess which movie we chose to watch 😉
Flying high 🙂
Preparing for landing
We landed at the Heathrow airport on schedule, but there was still another plane at that gate where we were supposed to arrive, so it took some fifteen more minutes waiting time until we were able to get out of the plane.
We got our luggage and went to find a bus, which would take us to Oxford. Our timing was perfect and we bought tickets to the bus, and duration to Oxford was about one hour and 40 minutes. We enjoyed the scenery and when in Oxford, immediately changed bus which continued towards Woodstock. Again, the waiting time was just a couple of minutes and we were in another bus. This journey took only about half an hour and we were in Woodstock.
Woodstock is a market town and civil parish 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 3,100.
Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is next to Woodstock, in the parish of Blenheim. Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in 1874 and is buried in the nearby village of Bladon. (Wikipedia)
See some of Winston Churchill’s most memorable quotes here
(All quotes in this day’s travel story day are from John Gardner’s “Win, Lose or Die“)
” A couple of days later he received a postcard picturing the Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford. He did not recognize the writing, but presumed it had been done by one of the cleared secretaries back at the Regent’s Park office. It was neat, short and to the point.
“Completed twenty-two pages of notes on bear-baiting in the sixteenth century; visited Blenheim Palace to take a look at the archives which kept me busy over the weekend. Hope to see you soon. Love as ever. Judith.”
Anyone with common sense could have deciphered it. Judith was the code for crash meeting. The text told Bond exactly when and where: The Bear hotel, Woodstock, near Oxford. Room twenty-two at eight o’clock Sunday night – the room number was exact, the time was 16.00 hours plus four. Either something was up, or – as the course was nearing completion – plans had been altered.
The Bear Hotel, Woodstock, lies in the main square of that crowded little town which stands a few minutes’ walk from the grounds leading to Blenheim Palace, that gorgeous gift to the first Duke of Marlborough from a grateful sovereign.”
We had pre-booked the room number 22 where Bond meets M and it was great to have it. Cost for one night was £107.
“He completed his walk and returned to the Feathers where he put his feet up for a few hours before taking the short stroll to The Bear.
He dodged into the front entrance of the Bear, neatly keeping clear of the reception area at the rear of the narrow passage leading through from the entrance hall, and squeezing into the small elevator that would take him to Room twenty-two.”
We didn’t notice any elevator in Hotel Bear…
Pirita / 007 Travelers
We got room 22 where Bond meets M in “Win, Lose or Die” book
A view from our room
There was also one “pet” that came to see us when it was dark outside (fortunately outside of the window…)¨
The breakfast room of Macdonald Bear Hotel was decorated nicely.
Our breakfast table
Winston the bear
There were some preparations on-going in the hotel and we were not able to eat warm lunch there, but we found an Italian Brothertons Brasserie restaurant nearby, where we ate pizzas.
“And finally, here we are!” (Just had to write that 🙂 )
007 Travelers reported on 9 February 2015 that “SPECTRE” filming took place at the Blenheim Palace and that was noticed also on BBC News.
“Matt Lawley added a photo of a “007 crew minibus” sign, while Finnish 007 location bloggers Pirita and Mika also claimed the site had been used for filming”.
The Palace is really beautiful inside also. Later when we were in London a couple days later, we met the actor Gjevat “Kel” Kelmendi, who also had a part in this Bond film and he told us about the filming in Blenheim Palace and Pinewood. See more about Gjevat Kelmendi here.
The gardens of Blenheim Palace was also so nice. Bond also visited the palace in John Gardner’s book “Win, Lose or Die“.
“The Palace was designed by Vanbrugh and the magnificent grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. The main Palace doors contain a replica of the intricate locks which once graced the main gates of the city of Warsaw, and these days people travel to see it in its historic context; for one of the great leaders of the twentieth century, Winston Churchill, was not only born in the Palace, but also lies buried in nearby Bladon. Bond had often come here, driving on London from Saturday, spending the day walking in the grounds, simply enjoying the breathtaking views. He remembered one Saturday in October, some years before, standing on the bridge which spans the main lake, and watching the autumn sun draw a golden spear in the water. The spear often returned to him in a dream, as though it was some kind of omen.
Blenheim and Woodstock are magnets for tourists all over the world, and though the Palace is closed in November, the inordinately beautiful grounds and parkland remain open for part of the day, and now, on the Sunday, with wood-smoke in the air and the paths sprinkled with the gold and red leaves of autumn, Bond once more stood on that same bridge, watching the same red sun, low in the sky, produce a similar effect – a spear of light pointing directly at him. Now, he wondered, if that spear reflected on water was indeed an omen.”
Souvenirs from Blenheim Palace:
The sky was already getting dark when we walked back to our hotel and after resting a while (our day had started really early due to early flight and we were a bit tired) we went for a dinner to other Bond restaurant, which was in “Win, Lose or Die” book and also some of the cast and crew of “SPECTRE” stayed in the hotel while the filming was ongoing: Hotel Feathers. We had a table reservation at 7 PM and we waited to see receptionist Nik, to whom we had some present from Finland 🙂 Nik had relations to Finland and he had visited in our country often.
“He had taken a room for the night at the nearby Feathers Hotel, partly for security, and partly because he preferred it to the more famous Bear.”
We went to Feather’s Gin Bar and Nik introduced us to the main waiter Mr. Octavian Onisoru who made perfect Vespers for us and showed us hotel’s amazing collection of different Gin brands. There are over 400 gin’s there and that’s why the bar is in the Guinness Book of Records! You can find the list of gins here.
After enjoying Vespers we moved to “Kitchen by Dominic Chapman” and Pirita ordered chicken terrine and Mika had partridge. Creme brulees for dessert. What a wonderful dinner!
A perfect Vesper by Octavian Onisoru
Mika / 007 Travelers
Pirita / 007 Travelers
A Partridge meal
Our stomachs full we walked back to our hotel and were ready to sleep after a long but very enjoyable day. Now we could say “tomorrow never dies“, since we were about to travel to Oxford next day and take a look where 007 was learning Danish in his 1997 adventure.