We headed out of the house at 7:00am to catch and Uber to the Victoria Coach Station and hopped on a bus for a full day of touring.
Our first stop was Windsor. The Royal Standard flag was flying over the tower, which means one thing: THE QUEEN WAS IN THE HOUSE! I was in the same complex as the queen, which is pretty much the same as being in the same building as the queen, which might as well have been in the same room as the queen. I guess I’m saying that they queen and I are like best friends now.
Since my ankle wasn’t doing too good at this point and we had limited time at Windsor, Melinda and I decided to split up. Even at my fastest pace, there is no way for me to keep up with Melinda. She’s got the speed, man! She was able to see more than me, but I actually got through more of the castle than I expected.
I started with a visit to Queen Mary’s Doll House. No, joke this thing is a dream! Evan as a full grown adult human person, I still wanted to play with those cute tiny things! Its probably smart that they have it behind glass, because I really wanted to touch it.
Next up was the State Rooms. These rooms were incredible. Everything is plush and gilded. Not really my personal home decoration style, but still lovely. Really, the rooms are impressive and should be seen!
I poked my head into St. Georges Chapel as well.
Before heading out I stopped at the gift shop, after purchasing my book I asked the workers if they knew the way back to the bus parking lot (you exit the castle at a different place than you enter). The lady working didn’t know where it was, but told me that if I headed out the gate and turned right, and then found a local they’d be delighted to tell me the way. And if I didn’t find it, I should head back to the gift shop and they would take care of me.
I did make it back to the bus, as soon as I walked out the gates I saw the statue of Queen Victoria and was able to orient myself. Also, it was freezing cold! It snowed in London and in Windsor.
Back on the bus, Melinda got into a conversation about soccer with a couple from Pittsburgh, and I fell asleep. It wasn’t the conversation that put me to sleep (although it didn’t keep me awake either), it’s just that if you put me in a moving vehicle for more than about ten minutes, I’m out!
From there we headed to Stonehenge. On our way there we drove past these burial mounds, around the area is about 200 of them.
We made our way up to what our guide referred to as “a bunch of rocks in a farmer’s field”. They are impressive, but it was kind of hard for us to really stand out there and enjoy the view… because we were freezing our faces off! It was freezing cold and windy, and we looked at the beauty of Stonehenge and then ran right back to the protection of the interpretive center.
We did venture outside again to visit the Neolithic village they had built.
After our bus driver got us a little lost, and took us down a road that was not suited for a horse and buggy, let alone a huge, double decker bus we made it our next stop, the village of Lacock for a pub lunch. What makes this pub special is that is the oldest continually licensed pub in England. It first got its license in 1361, and has had it ever since. The food was fine, but apparently the cider was delicious. My Diet Coke tasted like a Diet Coke, and that’s fine by me!
We had just a few minutes to walk around the village. We saw the real house used as Harry Potter’s Godric’s Hollow home.
And we happened upon an old barn.
But the best moment was as we were walking down a small street back to the bus and saw a little old lady in her window. She was closing her curtains, but before she did she gave us a sweet smile and a little wave. I would like to move in next door to her!
We also got to see the house that belongs to Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall. Her daughter currently lives in the house, as Camilla lives in London with her husband Prince Charles.
As we drove to our final destination of Bath I of course fell asleep, but I woke up to Melinda having a wonderful conversation with our tour guide. Our guide, by the way, was amazing. He was not only knowledgeable, but funny and engaging as well. He even had songs that he played for us that were written about the sights we were seeing, such as Sting’s Gold Fields.
As we pulled into Bath, we drove past the house that Jane Austen stayed at while living in Bath. Apparently, she did a lot of her writing here, but the books weren’t published until years later.
In Bath, Melinda and I split up again. She went with the tour guide on what ended up being a running tour, rather than a walking tour, of the town. And I headed into the Roman Baths of Bath. I got in right before it closed, literally the registers closed one minute after I walked through the doors.
It was really cool! I’ve seen Baths in Rome and Pompeii, but noting as preserved as this is. The bath built by the Romans is still here, although there isn’t a roof over it as there once would have been.
The spring that fed the baths is still running to fill the baths, and you can even taste the water that comes from the spring.
I tried to visit the chapel by the Baths, but they had services going so I wasn’t able to look around it.
I ended up strolling through town with a guy from our tour named Al. He had been working in London for the last four months, and had just found out that he was being sent back to LA. He hadn’t done much touring while living here (except when his wife came out to visit) and was now trying to cram it all into his last few days. It turns out that he is a show writer and had been working on a History Channel show called Knightfall, he’s also written for shows like Smallville and the Vampire Diaries. Pretty cool stuff!
We happened upon the oldest house in Bath, it had once been the home of Sally Lunn. Ms. Lunn invented a bun that has become famous in Bath and the world over. I will admit that I’m not familiar with it, but I’d like to offer Sally Lunn my most heartfelt congratulations on her bun!
We had our long drive back to London, and then a quick tube ride back to our Airbnb.
This morning, Melinda left for home. It was so much fun to have her here, and I’m going to miss her so much! But I know she’s excited to get home and be with her family again.
I’m now two-thirds of the way through my trips; I can’t believe it!