London, England Days 1 and 2

July 29, 2010

Salisbury Cathedral on the inside.

Alright, here is a quick overview of yesterday:

We arrived at Heathrow International Airport at about 10 a.m. UTC and took a long bus ride to our hotel at Jury’s Inn in London. Once we got settled in, we headed out for a double decker bus tour to get an overview of the city then a boat tour on the River Thames.  Dr. Wilber and his wife, also Dr. Wilber, gave us some history as we walked back to the shopping and pub area. Eventually, we all split into groups to go eat.

Let me pause here to make a comment on the traffic in this city. It’s horrific. Our tour guide today told us that in Victorian times, the average motor speed in London was 10 mph. It is currently 8 mph. Around here, bicycles are the way to go, unless you decide to take London’s underground and overground train system, which we did frequently. The roads are narrow, vehicles drive on the left side (right side in the States, correct side in England, they say here)  and the vehicles are nerve-wrackingly close together as they are moving. Also, gas, called petrol here, is astronomical, coming out to about 1.08 pounds per litre, at about 3.8 liters per gallon. Yikes!

Stonehenge- also built by the same aliens that built the pyramids? 😉

This morning, we went down stairs to take advantage of the free breakfast buffet for our hotel then headed off in a nearly two-hour bus tour to Stonehenge, the ancient circle of stones in Southern England. The stones were  built and placed there at the same time as the Egyptian pyramids but little is known about its creators. It was built over nearly 1,000 years, completed it 1600 BC and abandoned by 1500 BC. The Druids found Stonehenge in about 700 BC and began worshiping there but by that point, it had already fallen to ruins. Now, pagans from all over the world travel there on June 21, the summer solstice, to witness the sun’s rays strike the center stone and cast light down the middle of the structure. I’ve wanted to visit my whole life and when we came up the hill and I caught my first glimpse, my heart nearly stopped beating. You can feel the energy surrounding the stones and the plains where several burial mounds dot the landscape. It’s my life’s ambition to head back during the summer solstice.

Then it was off to Salisbury. There we went to a pub for lunch and then to see Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta. It was huge and beautiful inside, with many important individuals buried in tombs beneath the floor we walked on, as well as in elaborately decorated tombs.

Daylina Miller at the Roman Bath House. Not that anyone would want to bathe in it now...

After that we headed off to Bath, home of-braces yourselves, girls- Nicolas Cage and John Depp. There, we visited the Roman baths, which were built around 43 AD when the Romans came to England and were excited by the natural hot springs in the area. Bath houses were an important part of the Roman culture but after they left and the Saxons came in, burial grounds were built over them as the Saxons had no use for bath houses. Now, the remnants of the bath house are open to the public and glasses of spring water, thought to have healing powers, can be purchased for 50 pence. It tasted like well water, honestly.

At the end of the tour, we headed back to London to meet up in Covent Garden, a shopping and pub district. Two of my newfound friends, Carol and Torie, and I headed to a little Thai restaurant to eat and discuss the rest of the week’s itinerary before splitting off for the night. I headed back to the hotel and a few others stayed behind to enjoy the night life. Now time to wind down before our last day in London tomorrow where we will visit Westminster Abbey and see Henry IV at The Globe Theatre.

Covent Garden


One Response to “London, England Days 1 and 2”

  1. Dad and Deborah said

    Day – Looks like you are having a wonderful time! Dad asks if you have yet had a “spot of tea”? Hope you had a good nights rest and enjoy today! Love you.

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