Danny’s birthday was yesterday, and we spent the weekend in Greeley celebrating and spending time with family and friends. Now we’re back home and back to work and it’s time to get these posts finished up – they’re halfway done, after all!
On our 8th day in London, we weren’t really in London at all. We got up early and took the tube from Westminster to Victoria and walked to the Victoria Coach Station, as that’s where the bus left for our tour of Stonehenge and Bath. While we waited for the bus (which ended up being over 30 minutes late), we got muffins for breakfast at a Cafe Nero across the street, and just in case you ever think about doing the same thing, don’t – they were one of the worst things I ate on our trip!
Our double-decker bus from Premium Tours drove us to Stonehenge, which was about a two-hour journey. As we got closer, we were able to see Stonehenge from the road, which was neat.
Once the bus parked, we got our tickets and audio guides and took another bus closer to Stonehenge. We spent about 30 minutes walking on the designated paths and doing only a few bits and pieces of the audio guide since I wasn’t as interested in the whys of Stonehenge as I am in the hows (how did the stones get there? How do they stay standing up like that? And how do they not blow over in big storms?), and the audio guide seemed to be the focus on the hows. Sorry all of the pictures basically look the same, but in my defense, there’s really only one thing to see there, so…
We decided to walk back instead of taking the little safari-bus, which in hindsight was a poor choice. We should have taken the bus and spent the thirty minutes we spent walking looking around the visitor’s center. Oh well. It was a pretty and peaceful walk, and it was nice to be outside since we spent a large portion of the day on the bus.
We took our double-decker bus for another hour to Bath, where we arrived around 1pm. We made a point of trying to find somewhere for lunch right away, because otherwise it might not have happened at all. We had a tendency on this trip to get so caught up in seeing things that we’d eat breakfast at 11am, lunch at 4 in the afternoon, and dinner at 9pm, which resulted in a fair amount of hunger and, sometimes, getting frustrated with situations and with each other more easily than usual. So anytime we ate a meal at a fairly normal time was a good choice. We stumbled upon Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, and are so glad we did. It was probably the best meal of our trip. We split six ‘small plates’ – garlic broccoli, carrot and cashew pate, sautéed rosemary potatoes, hummus with bread and olives, polenta chips and seasonal ketchup, and falafel. I know that some of those things sound weird, but it was all really, really good – and all vegan, too.
After lunch, we wandered along a few of Bath’s extremely charming streets before touring the Roman Baths. Now, let me be honest about something here. When I got a postcard of the Roman Baths from my sweet friend Amanda, I came to believe that they were dreadfully boring, and any research I did online and in guidebooks while planning our trip only confirmed that. Amanda didn’t say or infer that it was boring, the guidebooks and the websites didn’t, I just somehow got that idea in my head and it stuck. Because of that, while in Bath I planned to stay away from the Roman Baths if at all possible, because they just seemed so dreadful.
However, and I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to say next, we accidentally ran into the Roman Baths in our wanderings (it’s not a very big town), and Danny really wanted to go in. Like really wanted to go in. So we did, and, like so many things on this trip, I’m so glad we did.
We both found the Roman Baths to be fascinating and really neat – the museum is large and audio guide is well done and really brings the baths and all of the artifacts to life. It was all just so interesting, and well worth the $44 it cost to get in. I think it’s obvious, but my expectations for the Roman Baths were very much exceeded.
We finished up at the Roman Baths around 3pm and walked along the river to the Pulteney Bridge, where we each picked out a treat and shared a lemon macaroon (my first one ever, and now I’m hooked!). We ate our raspberry tarts overlooking the park and the river. Isn’t Bath lovely?
At 4:30pm, we boarded our bus back to London and on the way home we both nodded off a few times but spent most of the time enjoying the beautiful English countryside. We arrived back at Westminster Bridge around 8pm and had dinner at Ned’s Noodle Bar, a place we’d walked by nearly everyday and had wanted to try when we had a chance. I didn’t really like noodles, but I think it was just the sauce I chose. Thankfully, Danny liked his, but since I was still hungry, I got some frozen yogurt from an old double-decker bus that was set up along the Thames. We also spent a while at Foyle’s bookstore, where we picked out a magnet for our fridge and enjoyed browsing the books – comics for Danny and travel guides for me (always planning!).
Day 8 was really one of my favorite days. We both enjoyed Bath very much, and sometime we’d like very much to go back and stay a couple of days. I was pleasantly surprised by Stonehenge, probably because most people we’d talked to were really disappointed with it and said they wouldn’t necessarily recommend going. Because of that, I think we had very low expectations, and ended up really enjoying it. We did spend a lot of the day on the bus – probably around six or seven hours – and we didn’t bring anything to do during the ride because I wanted to look out the window and enjoy the countryside. Well, that’s what I ended up doing, but I think I would have been just as happy to look out the window for half of that time and read a book or magazine(s) for the other three hours.
Regardless, being on a tour was pretty much as I had expected. Sometimes it was frustrating to be on someone else’s time table and not be able to decide for ourselves how much time we wanted to spend at each location, and having to wait for people who were consistently late getting back to the bus was a little annoying, but it was also really nice to be taken from place to place and not have to do as much planning. In fact, basically the only thing I planned for day 8 was how to get to the bus station and I also read a few articles on what to do in Bath in three hours, but other than that, it was a planning-free day…which was awesome for me.