Contiki; Off We Go!

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End May 24, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, May 7, 2010

The madness begins! It was an early morning, meeting at the Royal National for check in and luggage weighing and all that fun stuff. My luggage was only a little bit over, which was an easy fix. Thank goodness, that stressed me out more than it probably should have!
W got on the bus, and our little gang took up the entire back of the bus, of course. Haha. Bus travel went really quick today, just because there was so many people to talk to and just so much to distract you from thinking about how many hours/minutes left until the destination.
The first stop for us was Stonehenge, which was actually way more impressive than I expected! It was really cold, so we all kind of shivered our way around it. We all gave it our best effort to listen to the handheld audio guides, but it was just too cold, so I think everyone gave up pretty quickly.
But overall, Stonehenge is actually way bigger and just pretty much cooler than I thought it would be. After our loop around that (with lots and lots of pictures that all look the same, I later realized...), we headed, of course, to the gift shop. I bought some postcards, my choice of souvenir for myself; small, cheap, easy to pack, and they look great on my wall! From there, we had a bit of time to kill before we were supposed to get back onto the bus, so we got some (rather expensive) hot chocolate in an attempt to warm up.
After that, it was back to the bus where we headed for our next stop in the town of Bath, to see the Roman Baths. The baths too, were way better than I anticipated. There's an entire museum you walk through while you get to go right up to the baths! The water was green and nasty looking, but that's to be expected! Next stop, the gift shop, of course. Got my postcards and a little keychain that looks like an ancient Roman coin. My favourite thing about this gift shop, however, was the 'Harrius Potter' I found; the first 2 Harry Potter books entirely in Latin. I wanted to buy them, but just didn't have the room to carry them around for the next two and a half weeks, and resorted to taking a picture instead!
We got quite a bit of time to wander around the town for lunch after the baths. A group of us went to this little sailors pub for lunch (this, again, became a daily occurrence for us. Pubs for lunch = awesome), and just took in the sights of the city. Bath is probably the most beautiful place I've ever been to, personally. It's just got such character, and everything was so quaint and beautiful. It's hard to explain!
From Bath, we headed to Bristol, which was our stop for the night. Here, we met Katelyn's roommate Maria, who, from this point on became my bus seat buddy! This hotel was just like any other Ibis one might find, but we just found it hilarious that the bathrooms look like they belong on a space ship or something. This hotel, unfortunately, had the best showers I remember from the trip. It was too bad they appeared so early on!
Bridget, our TM, took us into the city and we just had time to kill before meeting for our first group supper. We hunted and hunted and hunted for something interesting to do or look at in Bristol, but there was nothing. This is not a tourist town, it is very industrial. The coolest thing we came across was a big shiny ball, that apparently housed a planetarium, but it was closed before we got there. So we spent our free time first on the patio of a Shakespeare pub (the only thing it had to do with Shakespeare was its name!), then at a little cafe called Che's.
Supper tonight was at a restaurant that was, I believe, called the River Station or something of that sort. The appetizer was a soup, and the main course was chicken and potatoes. Funnily enough, this is exactly what we would eat for the rest of the trip. They were all good, don't get me wrong, it just got to be slightly tedious after awhile!
After supper, Bridget led us to this 17th century pub for the 'night out.' When we got there though, it was absolutely jam-packed with people, so Maria, Katelyn and I just decided to wander back to the hotel, which was an adventure, trying to navigate our way across bridges and along big purple walls... We did get back safely, and headed to our rooms for some sleep. And that was the end of day 1!   
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