I had the luck recently to have seen a deal on Groupon for a day trip to Bath and Stonehenge. I bought two tickets at very reduced prices and planned on going with Janice. As it worked out, Janice and I have very conflicting schedules and couldn’t get the same time off before the deal expired. Luckily Kelsey was heading back to the UK and she agreed to accompany on this adventure!
Our morning started out super early. We stopped at McDonald’s for coffee and then meet our tour bus. We got on the bus and were met by our very grouchy driver (Tom) and our hyper and crazy tour guide, Mary. Mary started off giving us a tour of London as we drove past. We learned about arts and crafts studios, major sites of London (including St Paul’s which was a surprising focus considering we didn’t pass it!) We also learned about Tesco – the everyday supermarket of Britons! On the way out of London we hit some traffic and a car cut us off as Mary’s mike drifted near Tom just in time him swear profusely at the other driver! Mary then proceeded to give a history lesson on the English monarchy before telling us about her desire to go to Glastonbury festival that was continually thwarted by her fear of using the toilets there. Finally, blessedly, Mary stopped talking and let us sleep!
We arrived at Stonehenge and got marched into the site. It wasn’t all that busy there despite what I’d heard about the lineups and crowds! The weather was cold and wet and grey, but it did set off the stones rather well. It’s an impressive site – towering and ancient. It’s hard to capture it in photos. What I was struck by mostly was what life might have been like for those who built the henge and used it. It’s so foreign and distant from the life that we know. I couldn’t help the melancholy that strikes as you realize that these are secrets and knowledge and lives that you’ll never be able to touch, even if you tried. The landscape around Stonehenge is beautiful and its easy to imagine the wonder and awe past people would have felt walking the processional road towards the monument towering on the hill. After a slight delay (due to some mislaid passengers) we got on our way and drove through the gorgeous rolling hills to Bath.
We arrived in Bath around noon, but after the winding roads and jolty driving I felt incredibly sick. To calm my stomach we stopped at a lovely teahouse for lunch. A pot of tea and a selection of local cheeses down, I felt much better! We decided to wander through the town and see some of the classic sites. Bath is a slightly creepy city in that every building is made of the same type of stone in the same style. Thus while it is a very pretty town, part of you can’t help but wonder if you’ve suddenly driven into some strange Soviet commune where they actually believed in pretty architecture.
We visited the Abbey first with its lovely rose window and magnificent lighting, it was a lovely example what the town had to offer. After looking at the terribly long line into the Roman baths, we peered into the Pump Room and then we strolled through the streets and found the Circus (where we peered in the windows and imagined the lives of the rich and famous!) Afterwards, we found the Royal Crescent, where we visited Number One Royal Crescent – a restored town house that showcases life in Georgian Bath at the height of its heyday.
We then set out to find the Botanical Gardens but were thwarted by misleading signs. Either the Botanical garden is tiny, or we missed it, or it was stolen. I’m going to go with stolen. Watch those botanical gardens people! Instead we headed for a park by the river and saw the lovely cherry trees in bloom as well as the romantic Pulteney Bridge, which is said to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world!
Thus our adventure ended and back to London-town we went!