Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 6 in London--10/6/11

Today started out the exact same as yesterday.  Woke up a little before 9 AM, left our hotel by 9 AM.  Got on the tube to go to the Grovesnor Victoria hotel to wait for our tour...again.  We went to the exact same cafe as we did yesterday, then went to the hotel to wait.  I let the concierge know that we were there and we decided that today, I would wait by the concierge table and Mark would wait outside.  We had a strategy today!  We were trying to increase the likelihood that we would see the tour guide and not miss our bus again.

They were supposed to pick us up at 10:30 AM.  At about 10:20 AM, I met another family in the lobby that was also planning to go on this tour.  They were Canadian and taking a 32 day vacation throughout Ireland, Scotland, and London.  I hope to be able to do that one day!  In any case, it was nice to meet up with other people there so that we could have more eyes looking out for this tour bus.  Well 10:30 came and went, and still no tour bus.  This wasn't looking good.  By about 10:35, I asked the concierge to call the tour company, just to make sure they hadn't come already.  The tour company said the driver was running late and verified that we were all supposed to be on the tour today.  More waiting...  By 10:50, they still weren't there yet so I had the concierge give them another call.  The tour rep said the driver was late due to traffic.  Actually, just as he was finishing up his conversation, the tour guide came in to the hotel lobby with Mark.  I was relieved!!!   

We finally got on the bus and we went to Windsor to meet up with the tour group that already started.  We had the option of taking a full day tour to Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath, but those tours left at the butt-crack of dawn.  And I'm not a morning person and this was my vacation, so there was no way I was waking up that early.  So we opted for the "half-day" tour that just went to Stonehenge and Bath.  It's the same tour though, we just met up with the tour group after the people who opted for the full-day tour finished seeing Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle
From Windsor, we went on our way to Stonehenge.  Our tour guide was pretty good and gave us information about Stonehenge on our way down there.  No one exactly knows when Stonehenge was built, but they approximate it to be built around 2500 BC.  2500 BC people!  That is a really long time ago, over 4000 years!  Essentially, no one knows why Stonehenge was built but our guide talked about different theories, such as--aliens built it, it was built to be a hospital, a worship to the sun, etc.

We finally got to Stonehenge, got off the bus, and entered Stonehenge with an audio guide (which all tourist attractions seem to have now days).  The first thing we noticed when we got off the bus is that it was freezing and there were literally 40+ mph wind gusts!  The wind was going straight through my fleece jacket and scarf...it was SO cold!  It was so cold I couldn't even hold my audioguide to my ear to listen because my hands were too cold and I was too cold to even pay attention.  We decided to ditch our audioguides and just walk around ourselves and take some pictures.  That was going OK (though we were really cold) until about 1/3 of the way around Stonehenge it started to hail.  That's right, I said HAIL!  The hail then turned to freezing rain, on top of the strong wind gusts.  We ended up running around the other 2/3 of Stonehenge, which wasn't so easy because the air was so cold it was hurting my chest to breathe in.  Obviously, it would have been nicer to walk around it more leisurely and listen to our audioguide, but at least we saw it and I got a few good pictures also.



From Stonehenge, we went to a town called Lacock.  Don't remember exactly how you pronounce it.  I think it was either "la-cock" or "lay-cock."  Either way, I was making cock jokes on the bus.  Yes, sometimes I have the attention span and humor of a 5th grader.  This was a really quaint and cute town.  They actually filmed some scenes from the Harry Potter movies in this town.  We ate at a pub there called the George Inn that's been around since the 1300s.  Yup, that's right, 1300s.  We had Beef Wellington and it was delicious!

Front of the Inn

Dining Room We Ate In

Where Mark and I Sat
Beef Wellington
About the Filming of Harry Potter in Lacock

Close-Up of the Info of the Filming of Harry Potter in Lacock
Town of Lacock

Bus Stop--Looked like a Jail

General Store in Lacock

House in Lacock

One unique thing about this pub was that back in the day, they had a rotisserie spit--you know, the rod that slowly turns your meat as it cooks over the flame.  In any case, guess what made the spit turn...a little dog running on a wheel!!  They actually still have the wheel and the spit in the pub.
The Wheel the Dog Ran On to Turn the Spit

The Turnspit--Where They Used to Roast Meat

From Lacock, we continued on our way to Bath.  Bath was also another really cute town.  Lots of little stores and Bath Abbey was quite impressive.  Bath is known for the Roman Baths that were built there during the time of the Roman empire.  The baths are about 2000 years old.  We toured the baths and that was pretty cool.  The baths were so old and it reminded me of the things I saw on my trip to Italy about 5 years ago.  It's so neat to imagine the people that used these baths and the times that they lived in. 
Roman Bath

View of Bath Abbey from Inside the Roman Baths

Inside the Roman Baths
The Original Steps that Led to a Temple They Had at the Bath
We only had about 1.5 hours in Bath.  You could have easily spent a whole day or more there.  We had to get back on the bus at about 5:30 PM for a 2.5 hour bus ride back to London.  The bus we were riding on all day was a nice coach bus.  I don't know why, but for the life of me, I could not stay awake on that bus.  Every time we got on it, I fell asleep.  Oh well, at least I got my rest that day.

When we got back to London and were no longer with our tour group, we decided to have dinner at a pub in the city.  I had a steak and ale pie, which is a common British meal.   I thought it was delicious!  Mark had steak and eggs, well we thought it was steak but then it looked more like pork--we still don't know for sure what it was, but he liked it. 

Steak and Eggs

Steak and Ale Pie
After dinner, we still weren't ready to go back to our hotel yet, so we ended up taking the bus to the Westminster area.  We wanted to see this part of town at night.

Big Ben with the London Eye Ferris Wheel in the Background

Finally, we decided to call it a night.  We saw so many new things today and as cliche as it sounds, memories I will cherish forever!

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