Thursday, September 25, 2008

Okay...Stonehenge, Finally

Getting back to last year's European adventure, day four was spent at Stonehenge. I was really excited for this day. We used a tour company called MadMax for this portion of the trip, and were very impressed. They crammed a lot into the day but we never felt rushed at any of the sites. They also do small tours, so you're not being herded around with 100 other people--just about a dozen or so. Nice.

Stonehenge was our first stop on the tour, and this was the first time on the trip where it really hit me that I’m in England! Stonehenge was the reason we went to England in the first place, and it did not disappoint. It is roped off, but at one point, you can get fairly close to it—close enough where you feel very, very small next to the stones.

Next stop was Avebury, which is another ancient stone formation, but it is huge. It is about a mile long, and you are still allowed to walk amongst the stones. The tour guide gave us a little background information, then we were free to roam for a little while. There were sheep roaming amongst the stones too, which I thought was cool in a random sort of way.

After Avebury, we went to visit two Cotswold Villages. The first was Lacock. (Ladies, you will probably recognize this town from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Lacock was transformed into the town of Merryton.) We went to the King George pub in Lacock for lunch. It has the longest standing liquor license in the country. I loved Lacock. I kept walking up and down the streets (all four of them) marveling that these cottages had existed for so long.

Our final stop was Castle Combe, which was also really cute. It made me want a cottage in the Cotswolds. It had one main street, and some of the cottages had been there for hundreds of years.

The tour had left from Bath, which is about an hour and a half west of London by train, and a tourist destination in and of itself. We were lucky to get back in time to see the Roman Baths--literally a spa dating to Roman times, with the infrastructure still largely intact. It was fascinating.

As we got to the train station to head back to London, we discovered it was rush hour. We used rail passes for our long train trips in England for the flexibility, but while the rail passes allow you onto any train, they do not guarantee you a seat. We managed to find one empty seat, which Hubby gallantly let me have, but he got stuck standing for a couple of stops.

I had really hoped to be able to sleep a little on the train, but unfortunately the seats directly across from me were taken by two girls in their early 20’s who were very excited about their trip to London and were quite passionate in their discussions of how big their bums were and the fact that with their bosses getting Myspace accounts, their bosses can now see when they have been active on their own pages. Every time I started to fall asleep, one of them would shriek something and I’d be jolted awake again, sigh.

We stopped by Parliament and Big Ben when we got back so Hubby could get some nighttime shots. Our first order of business however is dinner. We started heading in the same direction we had gotten lost in the day before on our way to Buckingham Palace, when Hubby said something that completely caught me off guard: “There was a McDonald’s in this direction.”

What? McDonald’s? Hubby never wants to eat at McDonald’s. Plus, I did not come all the way to London to eat at McDonald’s. Then Hubby said that he had seen a hamburger place the night before, but I had been so eager to try another place that he didn’t mention he wanted to try it. Oh. For Hubby to suggest McDonald’s, Hubby must really, really really want a hamburger. We eat at McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is just as crappy in the UK as it is in the US.

But at least we got some great pictures for our efforts.


Jeff said...

Cool trip and great pics. I'm jealous because I've always wanted to go there. But now that I've accumulated a few friends from England I might have to consider it!

Posh Totty said...

Wow that sounds like a fantastic trip :o) Xx

:corinne: said...

Awesome pics! Makes me wanna get on a plain to Europe! the pic of the ferris wheel was beautiful. :) Hope you're doing well.

Mrs. R said...

Jeff: You definitely have to go. There are a ton of awesome sights, the public transportation is fantastic so you don't have to worry about cab fares or renting a car, and from reading about your kids, I think if it was a family vacation, you'd easily be able to find many things there that they would be interested in.

Posh: It was. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Corinne: We are doing better, thanks for asking. You and your Hubby should definitely consider a trip if it's something you are truly interested in. You won't regret the experience.