Weekend Walkabout continued

Trip Start Aug 05, 2005
1
23
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Trip End Dec 29, 2005


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Sunday, September 25, 2005

Next morning I wake up bright and early to the sound of someone's cell phone going off. Or is it the late-night revelers coming in and slamming the door at who-knows-what in the morning? I am not entirely sure. I had forgotten what backpacker culture was all about! Either way, I am up with plenty of time to wander down to Victoria Station and find the Thistle Hotel which is where my tour bus is picking me up.

I check out, take care of business and head outside only to find that it has been raining. Ugh! I have confidence that it will clear up and the sun will shine today! The rain has already stopped, so there is a good chance it will get better.

I find the hotel, confirm that the bus is picking up at 11AM and then I find myself a nice coffee shop to chill in while I wait. I feel a bit guilty sitting in a Starbucks, but it's the only place near enough to the Hotel so that I can keep an eye on things. I would hate for the bus to come early and I miss it. As luck would have it, I end up walking over there early and the bus actually does arrive at quarter to 11.

The coach fills up quickly and it looks like I am one of two people taking this tour solo. Eventually this woman from Louisiana asks if I will switch seats with her so she can sit with her husband. I refuse on the grounds that I'd rather not give up my window seat. So she gets the other single person to switch. He doesn't seem to mind losing his window seat, so I try not to feel too guilty about refusing.

Barry, our tour guide, checks us all in and then we are off on our journey to Bath. This is out longest leg of the coach ride and I find myself dozing as we head west down the M4 out of London. Barry is a rather audacious guide and has lots of little facts and trivia to share with us about the surrounding area. I make a mental note that I must visit Harrod's at some point and go to the chocolate shop. It sounds amazing.

We approach bath from Solsbury Hill, which is the namesake of that Peter Gabriel song. The city lights of which he croons are, in fact, the lights of Bath and it is a lovely city. I can see why he would sing about it. The city is built on several hills and it seems to be nestled into this valley quite nicely.

We enter Bath and the coach takes us around to see some of the sights before stopping at the back of Bath Abbey to disembark and enter the temple of the Roman baths, for which the town is named. The tour provides us with entrance to the baths and an audio guide to help us sort out that which we are seeing. The baths themselves were at one time the centre of a temple to Minerva Sulis, Roman goddess of wisdom. There are archaeological finds that show that the sun and the moon were represented in decor on the temple. There is so much to see and learn, that I feel terribly rushed to get through the exhibit in an hour. I must return to do it again some time.

Barry suggested we "pop our nose" in the Abbey afterwards because it is just stunning, but it is closed to the public when I try to do so. Rats. I really will have to come back. I scurry over to the coach, thinking I am late and holding everyone up, and I turn out to be one of the first people back. Figures.

We leave Bath and head to Lacock, which is a tiny little village at a higher elevation where we will be visiting the St. George Pub for supper. Like many pubs in England, this one is about twice as old as the United States, its inception dating back to the fourteenth century. It is very quaint and the food is good, although it takes a while to feed 52 people, even with pre-ordering, and I find myself having to rush through my apple rasberry crumble at the end. I hurriedly pay and return to the coach.
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