Not All Went Well, But All Was Well

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 img_20180601_110045390_hdrtraffic 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.img_20180601_151515867_hdr

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.img_20180601_171059905_hdr 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.

Next Up … London


What? Big Ben is silent and there are no doubledecker buses or telephone booths? My image of London is shattered (sha doo be).

Next up for me anyway. Steven is going to miss this trip.  Aunt Susie is taking her nephew to London as a high school graduation present. (Yes, I am the world’s best aunt!!) My nephew is a joy to travel with. He laughs easily, is game to try things, and looks at the world with interest and intellect. We will miss the royal wedding (I didn’t realize you were invited); our weeklong trip starts May 29 and we’re are staying at an AirBnB in St. John’s Wood.

All suggestions are welcome! I haven’t been to London for more than 25 years. We don’t have a complete game plan, but he is a math/science guy getting ready to head off to college, so Greenwich, Stonehenge, a museum or two, and Oxford or Cambridge (which one do you recommend?) Don’t come home if you don’t get a picture of you crossing Abbey Road. I am going to be the ultimate tourist. Too bad Big Ben is silent. I guess we will have to go back.Maybe I will even wear big, white sneakers so everyone will know without me opening my mouth that we are American. We are thinking about Chunneling to Paris for the day, but there is a train strike in France and as much as I would love to be stranded in Paris, I think my sister-in-law would kill me if I didn’t bring her son home.