A whirlwind bus tour of central England

Trip Start Mar 31, 2011
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, July 1, 2011

First of all, happy birthday America! A bit strange to celebrate in England, but we had a lovely day. Drank some beers, enjoyed Parliament and Big Ben at night, sat around... you know, American things. I'll talk more about our day in the next blog.
We wanted to see more of England than just London, but our Eurail passes had expired so we couldn't just gallivant around on the trains like we did for the rest of the trip.  SO, we decided to go on a ridiculous bus tour that lasted 12 hours and covered Bath, Salisbury, and Stonehenge. We knew full well that we were going to be ridiculously rushes at all three places, but it was so much cheaper and easier than doing it by ourselves. Especially since Ann Marie's flat is so glorious-- we didn't want to leave!
Our tour left at 8 AM, and it was definitely a struggle to get there on time. First of all, we were really tired from the night before and did not want to wake up.   Second, we luckily left the flat with plenty of time to get to Victoria Coach station, because all of the metros were delayed due to a "person under the train." Not sure exactly what that meant, but it didn't sound good. We thankfully arrived at Victoria with just enough time to print our tickets and hop on the bus! Our tour guide was pretty ridiculous-- her name was Sheila and she was SO LOUD! Plus she had a ridiculous laugh that I tried to catch on video but failed. And the tour was in both English and Spanish, so she repeated everything in terrible Spanish after paining us with her screaming English. But it was okay-- she was totally hilarious. She is the one in the green shirt.
The ride from London to Bath took about 2 hours and we slept most of the time. Bath was really cool and we wish we had more time there, but we were able to run around and see all the sights we wanted to see in the time allotted. We skipped the Roman bath museum because we had already visited the baths in Hungary, but we checked out the Bath Abbey instead. Then we headed to the Royal Crescent, which is a terrace of houses built in the late 1700s. Then we went to the Circus, which is an even bigger semicircle of nice old houses. We grabbed some food at another Pret, then headed back to the cathedral to take some more pictures. Then we hopped back on the bus to head to Salisbury.
Salisbury was not very far away from Bath, and consisted of a giant cathedral (among other things, I'm sure, but mainly the cathedral). I think we were supposed to pay for the cathedral, but once again, no one was there to take our money so we just cruised around. There was a nice fountain in the center of it and it was totally gigantic. Plus, we were allowed to take pictures with flash, so I actually got some clear shots! We spent nearly the entire time wandering around the cathedral, then sped really quickly along the streets. To be honest, Salisbury looked quite a bit like many other places we have been, so we didn't feel too let down by our limited time there. I am sure if we had more time to explore, it would have turned out to be quite different. 
After Salisbury, the tour took us to Stonehenge. The ride was only about 30 minutes, but our tour guide Sheila managed to make it feel like an eternity by screaming the history of Stonehenge in both English and broken Spanish.  Oh well, it was sort of funny. Still never really figured out the history because she was so hard to listen to, but we got the gist. The rocks themselves were really neat-- many of the stones came all the way from Wales before the wheel was invented. Not sure how they pulled that off. Also, the rocks are totally gigantic and piled on top of one another, which is also hard to imagine without modern machinery. We took about a hundred pictures from various angles. There were also some fun weirdos visiting the site, so I took pictures of them as well! 
We left Stonehenge and hopped back on the tour to drive to London. The ride home was a little less than 2 hours, and we got back slightly ahead of schedule. We took the tube back to Ann Marie's place and picked up some Indian food near her flat. Once again, we made fools of ourselves trying to eat in Europe. Apparently, it is mandatory that you order pappadum with an arrangement of sauces to start off your meal. We were informed by the English guys sitting next to us, who proceeded to force their food upon us so we could try it.  Then, the waiter brought us some for free to help us figure out the English routine! We ended up talking to the English guys for most of the meal-- they were pretty hilarious. Now we will be friends forever on Facebook. Facebook is really changing the world-- at first we resisted but we are fully converted. Our international friends would be impossible to maintain without Facebook, but with the social network we can talk to them literally every day. Crazy business. Will post about the rest of our time in London tomorrow-- Bye bye!
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Mom on

Wonderful shots of Stonehenge, Bath and all the architecture and churches. I really like the shot of you and Adrienne in front of Stonehenge. Thanks for your interesting journaling. Great to read your thoughts and interpretations.

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