Day 2 – Stones, Baths, & Castles

Today was a day I was really looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint. It was late afternoon yesterday when I thought I should have ventured over to Windsor Castle but looking at the time I realised that wasn’t going to happen.

I managed to find a day tour that included both Stonehenge & Bath but also Windsor Castle. So I booked it and the proceeded to find a way to print out my e-tifcket.

I arrived at Victoria Coach Station this morning all ready to set off to see some of the sights I’ve been waiting to see my whole life. First stop was Windsor Castle. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the whole time I was there. From the moment of driving past it and realising how big it actually is to walking into the Grand Staircase and just being floored by the scope and grandeur of this place. I’m not exactly what you would call a monarchist but I definitely admire their taste in property.

Its hard to believe this place was badly damaged by fire almost 20 years ago but when you own a number of castles and palaces I suppose you’re also able to afford to fix them as well. Room after room of gold plated everything, painted ceilings, funky pineapple shaped porcelain dinnerware (yeah you’d have to see it), cabinets full of guns, muskets, swords, treasures, and armor. They even have a doll house with fully functioning plumbing and electricity.

Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the interior so I made up for that by taking a million pictures outside.

After seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace yesterday we were also in time to see the changing of the guard out at Windsor. Not quite as spectacular but still more than you need to announce the taking over of someones shift.

We were then back on the road on our way to Bath. I really didn’t know what to expect from this city. What a surprise. All I really thought this place was going to have were the Roman Baths but its one of the most beautiful picturesque cities I’ve ever seen and a total contrast to London. Terrace style houses scale the hillside and sandstone buildings line the narrow streets. There even seemed to be some organisation to the buskers performing in the square outside of the Baths. An Opera singer with her luggage parked next to her on the way in and a guy with a guitar singing American Pie on the way out.

The Roman Baths were really interesting. You can see the steam coming off the water and bubbles rising from the gases beneath. Its hard to believe it remained hidden for nearly 200o years. Those Romans sure knew how to live.

Finally we arrived at Stonehenge. It was freezing cold, drizzling rain and the battery on my camera was about ready to run out. Stonehenge is awesome. I’d read so much about how over rated it was and how people complain that you can’t get very close it. You can’t walk through it but you can get pretty damn close so I’m not exactly sure what everyone is so worried about. The battery on my camera died after a few snaps, luckily I still had my phone as a backup although it was about ready to give in too as I’d been using it all day to entertain myself on the bus.

The stones are absolutely huge. You really have to stand next to them to see how big they are. They’re huge. I did a lap around the walkway. Then went back for some more even though  I was becoming snap frozen. I quipped to the tour guide that we were just coming into Winter in Australia. Unfortunately he was having trouble understanding what I meant by ‘Winta’ to truly appreciate my discomfort. :/

I’d only managed about 4 hours sleep the night before thanks to some very loud night breathers at the hostel so by the time we got back to London I was pretty wrecked. A great day though and glad I took the time.

I’ve changed the itinerary a little (well a lot). The next stop is now Paris. I’m boarding an overnight bus tomorrow night because I’m a cheap bastard and all the flights jumped substantially in price. Apparently its a bank holiday. So when they’re not screwing you out of your money they’re flying to Europe spending it. 😉

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