And thus London heatwave 2K17 has ended. Today was a perfect day for it to cool down because I took a tour outside of London. Going into the day I fully expected to be spending the day with a much older crowd, but I was pleasantly surprised to see many families in the tour group. As we were in line to board our bus, I heard some American accents behind me and decided to ask where they were from. It ended up being a nice young couple from Detroit (actually the burbs but everyone always says Detroit) who were in the midst of a one-year-later honeymoon. I was wearing an MSU shirt so we quickly struck up a conversation about Michigan and our travels.
Soon we boarded the bus and headed to Windsor Castle. As it turned out the Queen was visiting Windsor to see the Royal Ascot Horseraces. I enjoyed the staterooms at Windsor, but I think my favorite part was seeing the old Norman castle that is still standing. We had strict orders to be back on our bus by 11:00 and the young couple from Detroit – by this time I had learned their names were Joel and Courtney – made it back to the bus just in time. Although the bus spent time waiting for another family so I don’t think they would have left us.
After Windsor we headed to Stonehenge (there was a bit of traffic because we had to pass the Royal Ascot Races on the way). Now if I had a dollar for every person who told me that Stonehenge would not be worth it I’d probably have like five dollars by now! But I have wanted to see Stonehenge for so long and I wanted to make the judgement for myself. I actually ended up loving it! If anything it was bigger and more impressive in person. At first I was pretty peeved because there were Druids in all of my pictures. You read that right, Druids – well wannabes anyway. They were celebrating the summer solstice a day late and were in the stone circle. It is important to note that Druids did NOT build Stonehenge. Eventually they left and took off their robes and drove away in their Enterprise van and I got some better pictures.
After Stonehenge we traveled to see the Salisbury Cathedral which has the tallest church spire in England and houses a copy of Magna Carta. As a History major I have had the good fortune to take classes on Magna Carta and the Norman Conquest that were taught by one of my favorite professors. This made the experience even more exciting and meaningful (there may have been a tear or two when I saw Magna Carta). Our stop at Salisbury was quick, and we headed on to Bath. We didn’t have much time in Bath either and most things were closed by the time we got there, but I am so glad I got to see it. It was originally a Roman city and you can still see traces of their influence, including the famous Roman Baths. I was able to grab some ice cream and walk around. It’s no surprise that Bath is one of the most expensive cities to live in in England. It is gorgeous and has a great atmosphere.
I slept for most of the two hour bus ride back to London and when we got there Joel and Courtney invited me to go to dinner with them at a local pub that our tour guide had recommended. It really was a great pub. I had a gouda-bacon burger with chips (fries) and we stayed in the pub for almost two hours. We were surprised to learn that pubs close at 11:00 but bars stay open until 2:00. Courtney and Joel were nice enough to pay for my meal and I invited them to visit East Lansing. We said our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch because they’re headed to Paris and I’m off to Oslo.
- Zig zag lines on the street mean no parking
- Don’t read google reviews of your tour right before you go on it.