Today (that’s yesterday, oops! left this as a draft) was our big day to take the double-decker tour bus–or “The Beast” as our guide John called it, to check some touristy places off the list. First was Windsor Castle. We would get in and out and have plenty of time for Bath and Stonehenge. Except … London morning traffic happened followed by an unusually large crowd. One John said he had only seen once before. After leaving London at 8:30, we barely got onto the grounds on time to see the changing of the guard and a rare bit of sunshine.
From there we wandered through St. George’s Chapel, which looked so familiar. Hmmmm, where have I seen it recently? We spent a while gawking at the grandeur and then took a quick spin through the State Apartments. Very ornate, very dark, very stuff, very English. Then we raced back to the bus for the two-hour drive to Bath. We have been having technological difficulties all trip and today was no different: promised WiFi on the buss didn’t materialize and Jake’s international phone plan was not working. We were forced to watch the countryside go by. What a shame.
Bath also had to be quick since we were behind schedule and had hit a bit more traffic. Eighty minutes was just enough time to wander the Roman Baths and eat a Cornish pasty. Jake asked me if mine was seasoned. I said: “It’s English food. Of course not!” Hours later, the pasties were still sitting in our bellies. That’s a lot of dough. Otherwise, Bath looked beautiful and I wish we had had more time to wander, but Stonehenge last visitor call is 5 p.m., so off we went.
Our last mishap was something we thought we’d see more of: rain. It poured through the Salisbury Plains right outside Stonehenge. As the bus splashed through puddles and sprayed pebbles, we crossed our fingers and hoped for clearing weather. Luck was with us. It wasn’t sunny (was there English sun back in 3,000 BCE? How did those ancient astromoners know where to put the stones when there’s never any sun?) When we got to Stonehenge–which last time I visited was just a bunch of rocks but now has a visitor center and a bus to take you from there to the site–it was barely sprinkling. About 5 minutes into our audio tour, it got windy, and then the skies opened up. I had a little rain jacket and hiking pants, so I got soaked, but not nearly as soaked as Jake, who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. I used it as an excuse to buy him a fabulous souvenir shirt. It was a wet bus ride back, but all in all another great day.