Monday, June 27, 2011
Bus Trip out of Town
Today was our bus trip out of town. We had to leave really early before breakfast, so we grabbed our snacks as breakfast. We needed to be to a location near Victoria Station by 8:30 and I didn't want to be late and miss it. Since it was rush hour on the train, we worked out a system for keeping track of everyone. Today we didn't lose anyone and we seem to be getting pretty good at navigating the Underground system. We made it about 8:10, so we had time to spare. Once our tour guide came, we loaded the bus.
Once we were underway, the tour guide informed us that the Queen had closed Windsor Castle for the day because she was using it. So that loss, actually became my gain. Because their backup site for the tours is Hampton Court Palace, where I wanted to visit, but thought I wouldn't be able to get to. It was one of Henry VIII's favorite palaces and I really wanted to see it. Built in the 15th century, the building is in remarkably good condition and had wonderful ceiling paintings, gardens, and wordwork. It has over 1,200 rooms. There is a clock tower that is amazing with a clock that not only tells the time, but also the day, month, moon phase, tide level for the Thames, and astrological sign. It also still works. We didn't get to see the ghost of Catherine Howard in the haunted hallway though. But as we were leaving Good King Hal and one of his many wives, maybe Catherine Howard went strolling through the courtyard into the castle. We learned, while looking at portraits, that often to get a full-checked impression in pictures, the person sitting for the portrait would have a fruit in their mouth.
Then we moved onto Stonehenge. It started to rain when we got there but it didn't last long. The rain was kind of funny because it rained that last time I visited Stonehenge. Last of all we visited the Roman baths in Bath. Bath is a really unique town and one that would be worth visiting again. It was neat to learn about the Roman baths there and how they functioned. We got back to town about 7:30. Most of us headed back to Pax Lodge, but a few looked for some souvenirs. Tomorrow we leave London to head to Dover. Today was pretty relaxing, even though we covered a lot of ground.