Traveling: Castles, Stones, and Baths

The morning after our day tour of London, our legs were mad at us. They felt insulted that we had the audacity to try to climb that many steps without their permission. So they decided to get back at us by being extremely sore. We were prepared though. Excedrin was called in to rescue us from our misery. The mixture of aspirin and caffeine is a perfect cocktail for the out of shape traveler. Seriously, if you plan on going to go to Europe use the stair master for about a month or two before embarking.

The next tour Cristina planned for us was a trip to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath. This is when Cristina lost her jacket. Also, we learned tube escalator etiquette at this time. Let’s face it, we are almost all lazy Americans. When we ride an escalator, at least in my part of the world, we just relax and talk. It doesn’t matter where you stand. Well, don’t do that in Europe. If you just want to enjoy the ride, ride single file on the right hand side. Do not go over into the left hand side. You will be trampled. People who are in a hurry will climb up the escalator on the left to get through it faster. By the way, everyone that did that was very skinny.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle: Fit for a Queen

Fortune smiled on us again and we had the same tour guide as the day before. It didn’t take long to get to Windsor and was aided by the necessary background knowledge. Usually, I get bored in touring homes, but this one was different. First of all, Windsor is a castle. Second of hall, the rooms had a good flow to them. We also toured the grounds and the St. George’s Chapel. Henry VIII is buried underneath the chapel. Cristina had to have a picture but photography was forbidden. I’m not proud of this, but I distracted the kindly docent, so Cristina got her picture.

No you can't pull a car right up to StonehengeNext was a lovely drive through some of the English country side. Then we arrived at Stonehenge. My first thought: oh great, rocks, yay. Then you notice how they are put together and wonder how did they do that. There is an excellent free audio tour that goes with the walk around Stonehenge. Yet, I found myself just putting the audio device down and just letting my mind form it’s own conclusions.

We then at lunch in the small, well preserved touristy town of Lacock. We ate at the George Inn which we were told was the second oldest pub in England that sells alcohol. The steak pie was very tasty and filling. Cristina ordered the fish and chips but was suffering from a little motion sickness. We explored the town for a couple of minutes after we finished eating seeing a medieval (?) abbey where apparently scenes from Harry Potter were filmed.

Roman Baths

A Lovely Day at the Roman Baths

Finally, we arrived in Bath. We headed straight for the Roman Baths. I really enjoyed this museum. The water, which you can put your hands or feet into, felt really nice. Again, this tour had very good audio guides. On the way out, you can try some water from the spring. There are legends of it having mystical and medicinal properties. Cristina did claim she felt better after drinking it. After the museum we went to a local ice cream parlor. I, being lactose boy, opted for just a PowerAde. On the way out of Bath, Cristina saw the dairy farm from that was used to make her ice cream. When traveling, it’s those little moments that just make your day.

We didn’t do any more all day tours after this day. We chose these two tours to basically not have to work so hard the first two days at least from a planning aspect. I know some people say tours are waste of money, but it was one of the best decisions we made. We learned how to tour quickly, and when you want to see a lot of things you need to learn that. Now, we did get lucky making by having a very good tour guide. We now had the confidence that we could handle this on our own. We knew we could wing it if we needed to which is exactly what we did for the rest of the trip. And that might have been our best decision.

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