Steve's brother, Rick, asked if he'd like to join the Santa Cruz Rowing Club on a two-week rowing trip to England and Germany. The group planned to row 4-person skulls on the Thames river in England and Moselle river in Germany, four days in each country and over 100+ miles.

Sure! Sure? Rick was an experienced rower from his college days and founder of the Monterey Rowing Club. But Steve? Not so much. Actually, not at all. But he was game to try. Colleen, my sister-in-law, and I went along to cheer on the troops (and do a bit of touring ourselves).

The lovely mansions along the Thames, complete with a passing rental barge.

A Day Tour of Oxford, home of Oxford University. 

The famous (or so they say) "Oxford Heads."

Inside the Eagle and Child pub, where J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. hung out.

A section of Einstein's blackboard when he lectured at Oxford.

Oxford student in traditional academic garb. Note the white flower in his lapel. That signifies he's passed the first of three year end exams. White, pink, then red. Graduates get roundly trashed by whipping cream, silly string, and confetti, then jump in the Thames!

Enjoying the after graduation festivities. They get "trashed" and then jump in the Thames River.

Henley Regatta

The Henley Royal Regatta is the best-known regatta in the world, or so they say. It's the only one I'd ever heard of, much less attended. Think Kentucky Derby on the water. Crazy dress code as the guys wore their traditional rowing club jackets and the women HAD to wear a knee-length dress. I got busted twice as my dress hit the middle of my knee. "Can you walk around with it pulled down?" Uh... ok. Really?

Visiting Windsor

The Long Walk, where Harry and Meagan rode their horse drawn carriage after their wedding.

Look closely, there's a guard in the left guard house at the entrance.

Glorious English Windows and Doors

Stratford Upon Avon, home of the Bard

Not sure I'd want to stay here!

Main street through Stratford

Bank of Bard. LOL

Darling thatched home. The roof line details indicate the designer.

The Rowers on the Thames River. Impressive Group!

sometimes our car just wasn't quite big enough!

While they were working hard, Colleen and I visited Stonehenge.

Very very cool.

We finish this leg of the trip with an unexpected Find - Downtown Abbey (AKA Highclere Castle). and they even have their own wine!

Onto Germany to row the Moselle!