The “I’m in LONDON!” giddiness had yet to wear off when I woke up on Sunday, June 12, 2011. I also slept surprisingly well.
The day would take us to Stonehenge and Bath and back to London for dinner on Brick Lane.
But first, we went on a bus tour through London.
This is a monument to the great London fire of 1666.
This is the Shard. It is supposed to be 1,017-feet-tall when completed.
Here we got to see Tower Bridge while driving over London Bridge.
Approaching the Tower Bridge.
That is London City Hall.
View from Tower Bridge looking back toward London Bridge.
The Tower of London.
The Big Ben tower in the distance.
The gate to Downing Street.
After our tour of London, we set off for Stonehenge. By the time we got there, the weather had gone from somewhat gloomy to terrible (at least if you had to be outside, which we did). It was rainy and cold.
The sheep, however, seemed quite content.
The parking lot for Stonehenge is on the right side of the road. To get to the monument (or whatever it is) site, you go through a tunnel under the road.
It’s a good thing the audio guide (which you can see hanging from my neck) spoke a lot about what is NOT known about Stonehenge because it was so cold, rainy, and windy that our hands were literally shaking as we tried to hold the devices to our ears.
To be honest, Stonehenge is a mildly underwhelming place – especially since you can’t go up to, walk amongst, and touch the stones. They used to let people do that. Wouldn’t that be a cool spot for a picnic?!? I am still so glad I went. I get to say I’ve been to Stonehenge.
After Stonehenge, we boarded the bus and headed for the beautiful city of Bath. On the way, we did an icebreaker. You had to interview your seatmate. You had to find out her (or his) name, where she was from, what she does, one celebrity she’d like to shag, and one celebrity she’d like to punch in the face. For my shag, I chose Elizabeth Hurley. For my punch in the face, I went with Sarah Palin. (Readers, please feel free to share your answers in the comments section!) After each interview the person on the aisle seat would rotate counter-clockwise to the next seat.
While in Bath, we visited the Roman Baths.
I love anything in a museum that actually wants you to touch it.
Look! A skeleton!
Look how happy and excited I am to drink the purified bath water. I assure you that was not the face I was sporting after I drank it. However, I still recommend you try it if you’re there.
After the Roman Baths, my new friends James and Sarah (brother and sister) and I got ourselves some lunch. I had my first Cornish Pasty. It was a lamb and rosemary one. It was delicious – all hot and flavorful – the perfect thing to eat in the middle of that day!
We ate in this covered mall area.
After that, we roamed a little and then checked out the Bath Abbey.
On the bus ride back to London, we played a game pitting one side of the bus against the other. The game was to name the TV theme song. Not to brag too much, but I was quite helpful in my side’s winning the game.
When we got back to London, some of us freshened up a little before heading out to get Indian food on the famed Brick Lane.
I love the train stations in England. This one is the Liverpool Street Station.
There was no way I could go without taking a photo of a bar called Dirty Dicks.
Our tour manager Steve told us that the restauranteurs would hound us and we would haggle with them over dinner, but it was still quite surprising when it actually happened. I was with Mike, Kat, and Greg. Mike did the haggling for us. We had a round of drinks, an appetizer, a main course, and side of naan or rice for £10 or £11 each. The food was yummy and we had a great time.
After dinner, we met up much of the group at a bar called The Ten Bells.
The bar is famous for its association with two of Jack the Ripper’s murdered prostitutes.
After this, we headed back to the hotel and some of us had more drinks at the hotel bar, and a wonderfully (seriously, it was wonderful) lengthy discussion of restroom etiquette.
– Evan Bindelglass