Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tour Day

(Saturday March 19, 2011)

Today I was up at 6am. (Well, actually, my alarm went off at 6, I snoozed till about 6:30...) Dressed and out of the hotel before 7am. On the Underground and on my way into town as our Tour left at 8:45 SHARP!

I made it with about 20 minutes to spare.

Once we were all loaded onto the bus we were introduced to our guide, John, and driver, Gordon. We were then promptly informed that we were not on a ‘Coach’, but were actually in a Time Machine! The Time
Machine would take us back 900 years when we were at Windsor Castle, 2000 years when we were at the Roman Baths in Bath and 5000 years at Stonehenge!

Look! It's so magical that it can't be photographed!

Pretty crafty, disguising a Time Machine as our Bus!

The tour was awesome! John was very entertaining and full of local knowledge and interesting tidbits. He also told us about a group he left behind in Bath because they were late back to the Time Machine. Everyone in our group was on time, I think we were a bit scared of being left behind...

First off we stopped at Windsor Castle. It's huge!

There are areas we were not allowed in to see, the Queen lives there on weekends so the private residences are always off limits. She wasn't there today. We had access to The State Rooms, Queen Mary's Dolls House, St. George's Chapel and the Gardens.

It's so big! This is just one corner!

Hahahaha! This one is for you Mom...

Umm, So... Your Royal Highness... Do you loan out the services of your gardeners?

There was a few minutes at the end to visit the gift Shop and grab a bite to eat for on the bus. Err... Time Machine.

We learned today that in London you are not allowed to have hot food or drinks on a bus. Cold is fine, but not hot. Apparently a couple years ago a man (passenger) had a cup of HOT coffee in his hand and the driver had to stop suddenly. The coffee flew all over the 4 people sitting in front of the man and they had to call ambulances for the 4 burned people. Sooo... no hot drinks. And they don't allow hot food as the smell gets into the vents and never gets out. Also, not everyone may enjoy the smell of what is being eaten.

So, back on the road for the longest stretch of driving, to Bath. John pointed out a few landmarks on the way but for the most part is was nap time. As we were getting close to Bath there was a few things to see, particularly the steep hill you have to go down to get to the City. A steep hill and really narrow roads. A few times I wished I was asleep.

We got to wander around the Roman Baths and learn some of the history of the area. It was interesting to hear that the Baths were rediscovered when there was some excavation going on and the ground collapsed. That was the roof of the Baths falling in. Before that, they had no idea the Baths existed.

By the way, don't touch the water. It's so dirty it can make you sick. What?! Some bath...

Here is a Roman Statue from within the bath, and the Church next door behind him. Both are amazing.

This is one of the 'taps' for the bath. Water flows in from under the stone. I can just imagine sitting there with my feet dangling in the warm water... Especially considering how sore my feet are...

One of the Baths. Everything is so amazing!

I also found a chocolate shop on the way back to the Bus. I picked up a few pieces as a treat for the trip to Stonehenge. At £7.00 per 100g I only got a few pieces. Mmmmm. It was amazing chocolate. I am not a big fan, so if I am going to eat chocolate, it has to be good. And this was really, really, good.

When we arrived at Stonehenge we were told to take our jackets. It had been a beautiful warm day but we were warned that it is always cold at Stonehenge. I think it's because you are in an open field and there is no shelter from the wind.  I am glad I brought my jacket. When you get past the entrance there is a big roped off circle you get to walk around. We walked around it, then back to the bus. We were talking about Stonehenge, and John (our guide) made a good point...

It's not about the stones.
It's about the place.

If it was about the stones they could have built it where the stones came from. But the stones were moved great distances BEFORE THE INVENTION OF THE WHEEL! So there had to be a reason for it. There is something about that place.

This was even before the Romans came to England, could you imagine the Romans standing at Stonehenge saying 'Well, what the heck is this old thing?' And by then it was so old that no one knew why it had been built!

I really, really liked Stonehenge.

It's not about the stones. It's about the place.

Once we were on the bus, we headed back to London. There were a couple early stops at Underground Stations so it would be convenient for everyone to get back to their hotels. I got off at the first stop. Once I arrived at my hotel I had dinner in the restaurant, a Skype with Mom, Dad and the kids and then off to bed. It was a full day and I was done.

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