This was to be our last full day in the UK. We had planned on going to Bath and Stonehenge but hadn’t been able to book online so we decided to take our chances and head into Victoria Coach Station really early and see if we could get onto a bus tour that day. We headed down to Euston station and tried to find out how to get to Victoria station. It was peak hour as we had to be there well before 8.45 am. Man, it’s crazy in there at peak hour. We finally got some help from a rail worker who said we had to go downstairs to the underground. That shouldn’t be hard, we’ve done that heaps of times so far. Of course, we’ve never done it in peak hour. We stood patiently waiting for the train and when it pulled up, we got swarmed by people pushing their way onto it. Okay, we’ll just wait for the next train but stand closer to where the door is. Next train pulled up and we were confident, till we got pushed out of the way for that one too.
By this time, I was determined that I was going to stand my ground so when the next train pulled up, I forged through without an ounce of politeness and the other followed in my wake. We were on. Jampacked like a tin of sardines but we were on. We pushed our way out at Victoria station and ran in the direction of the coach station. We made it at about 8.57 and thought we had missed the boat (or the bus as it were) but we ran into the office and asked if we could get on any of the buses that went to Stonehenge or Bath and she said yes. The one we could get on also stopped at Salisbury which we weren’t interested in (or so we thought) so we said yes to that one. While we were paying, one of the bus drivers came in and she told him to wait as we were going to board. He started giving cheek immediately and I knew it would be a good trip. He was Jamaican I think and he certainly had a fair degree of mischief in his eyes.
We boarded and as all good girls do, we took the back seat of the bus. I can’t believe people had left it vacant for us. We got ourselves sorted and we were off. The guide (not our bus driver) started telling us about the parts of London we were going through. It was going to be a long day as these places are way out of London. As we got out of London, she stopped talking and lots of people dozed off. They’d obviously all got up bright and early too.
We got to Salisbury and got out for a tour of the Cathedral. What we didn’t know until that time was that Salisbury Cathedral holds the Magna Carta. Well it holds one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta but an original all the same so we were pretty excited to see it. The Salisbury Cathedral is beautiful. It’s interesting on the outside as you can see that there are statues that are missing and in some places brand new statues sit against ancient ones. It seems it has always been a work in progress and they left room for more statues to be added as time went by. Inside, like Notre Dame, people were talking quietly in hushed tones, very respectful of the cathedral. Even children were quiet and well behaved in there. I loved the architecture and being such a sucker for color, I adored the stained glass windows with the understated sunlight shining through. Magnificent. We all went and had lunch which was nice albeit expensive in my opinion. Then we had a quick look in the gift shop before heading into the room to see the Magna Carta. We raced back to the bus ready to head onto our next stop which was Stonehenge.
The English countryside really is breathtaking and even though I was enjoying being on a bus so I could take it in, rather than driving and missing so much, I was disappointed that I couldn’t stop to take photos. Photos taken through a window are just never the same. During our trip (and our previous trip to Alice Springs), Wendy was my spotter. She’d see something and say.. Oh photo opportunity, stop here. She was always right. So to not have the freedom to stop was a bit annoying but it didn’t put too much of a dent in my pleasure. We stopped in this massive car park in the middle of empty paddocks. It was quite bizarre to see all these cars parked out in the middle of nowhere. We had to get on buses to go down to the actual paddock that Stonehenge is in. We got out and there it was before us. These mystical rocks that so many stories have been built on. I honestly expected to feel the magic, but sadly I didn’t. They were quite lovely but they were just a bunch of rocks in a paddock. You can’t get close to them so you have to walk a track around them but that’s fully understandable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy to have seen Stonehenge, it just didn’t feel like I expected it to feel. A lot of other people were voicing the same opinion. I guess that has more to do with the legend built around it which builds expectations up beyond what can be delivered. Of course others who go there may feel completely different to how I felt.
After a bit of a wander around the gift shop there, we headed back to the bus where we received lessons on how to speak Jamaican from our friendly bus driver. Hopefully he wasn’t teaching us anything rude lol. We were now heading to Bath.. This was the one place I was uber excited to see. I was desperate to see where they filmed the musical Oliver. Of course, she didnt even mention that it was made there, so that went right out the window but not to worry. The Roman Baths made up for it. Wow.. what an amazing place to see. The green water, while definitely not healthy anymore, was still quite clear and gave an eerie mood to the place. It’s a very peaceful place and I imagine it always was. No wonder people used to go there. Why wouldn’t you go to such a peaceful place to relax and renew your energy. The city itself is also ancient and it was really wonderful being able to explore the beautiful old buildings. The shops are all in keeping with the feel of the city and they have definitely worked hard to keep the charm alive and well. I would have loved more time to explore Bath at length but it wasn’t to be. Once again, we had to keep moving. When I come back I will spend much more time here as it is one place I really loved.
Back on the bus, we went through more beautiful countryside before we started to hit the outskirts of London again. We had planned on taking the night tour of London but by the time we got in, we had all hit the wall and needed to rest. We decided to give it a miss and go home to pate and toast. Just what we felt like. We got back to the apartment and planned our last (half) day for the next day. We had to be at the airport by around 1pm to fly home again, though Debbie was staying on for work. We all fell into bed for an earlyish night. Oh and by the way.. Our clothes are dry.. We have clean dry clothes.. All’s right with our world.. 🙂