Tower of London, Bath, Private Tour of Stonehenge

Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
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62
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Trip End Dec 31, 2009


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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Today, Jacqui and I went on a tour with Golden Tours (Tour 241, Tower of London, Bath, and Private Viewing of Stonehenge, if you're on their website). We had to get up fairly early again because we needed to catch an 8am bus to get to the main tourbus terminal.  Luckily, it was a beautiful day all day.  But apparently because it was such a nice day, everyone was out driving in it so traffic was horrendous.  The tour guide to the Tower of London said that it never takes as long as it did today to get to the Tower from the terminal.

Oh yeah, so when we got to the bus terminal, there was only 2 other people at the sign for our tour, American girls from Boston.  There was another group of people who were going to Bath and Stonehenge with us, but we were the only ones doing the Tower of London that day.  So we had the tour guide to ourselves for a while which was really nice.  I did think it was kind of a waste when we took a big, luxury, 53-person tour bus for just the four of us a the guide.  I was a little disappointed that the guide didn't actually guide us around the Tower of London or Bath.  She said that they aren't allowed to do organized guiding through those places...

So Tower of London....I had thought it was the towers on Tower Bridge, so I was surprised when I found out it is actually a castle/fort in London (that's what I get for not Googling it beforehand). It was a very short visit though because we needed to pick up the other group of people to head out to Bath. We got to see the Crown Jewels and video of Queen Elizabeth's coronation (she was a hottie back in the day).  And we did a tour through the White Tower and saw the King Henry VIII exhibit with his weapons of war and armoury.  That was pretty cool.  And we walked into the dungeon/prison exhibition, which was much smaller than I thought it'd be.  I guess the Brits don't want to make too big a deal of it.

Then we drove out to Bath.  It was a long drive, but Jacqui and I made the most of it by catching up on some sleep.  The Roman Baths were really pretty too, and as an engineer, I can appreciate what the builders had to go through.  There was an audio guide to the Baths, but it was much better when one of the curators gave a little bit of a guided tour and explained the process of bathing for the Romans.  I had learned most of it in my Latin classes back in high school but it was much better seeing it up close.  Then at the end of the tour, we got to try a glass of the "special Roman Baths water"....and you know what, it tastes exactly like the water that we get at our house in Glens Falls before the water filtration system.  So apparently I need to stop filtering the water at my house and install Roman-esque Baths.  That's what I get for installing a huge water filtration system...

We at dinner/lunch at the Stonehenge Inn.  Was 10GBP for dinner, dessert, coffee, and tea.  The beer was extra.

The highlight for me was going out to Stonehenge.  Jacqui had warned me when we were planning the trip that you aren't allowed to touch or get close to the stones...so I found a way that I could.  Apparently the National Registry allows a limited number of people to actually go into the Stonehenge circle in the morning before they open to the general public and at night after they close to the public.  I had called the National Registry up to try to buy tickets (you have to pay extra) to go inside the stones but they told me that all the tickets had been sold to Golden Tours for that day...which is why we picked this tour!  So we have to wait until about 19:30 to go inside after security has made sure that everyone from the general public is out.  Then they only allow half of our group to go in at a time.  We were in the first half, and I have to say, I am thoroughly awed at the ability of man to build a structure like that so many thousands of years ago.  We weren't there quite at sunset, but it was close enough to get some impressive pictures.  Then it was back on the bus and back to London.  We didn't get back to the hotel until a little after 22:00
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