torrie's travels


The Bard, the Baths, and the Boulders* September 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 4:54 pm

Today was our day trip out of London.  I was very excited for this trip, but it went down differently than I had thought/planned.  First, we did the trip backwards.  It was supposed to be Stonehenge, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon, but we went in reverse due to construction at Stonehenge (they are building a new visitor’s center, which will open next year).  But ok, I said to myself, not too bad to do the trip in reverse.  We were picked up at a hotel at 7:45 am and the trip was supposed to be back in London at 6:15 pm.  One of the first things Alan, our guide, said to us on the bus is that we will return at 8:00-8:30 pm.  Um, really?  Yes, really.

So we arrived in Stratford at about 10:30 am and immediately had scones (with strawberry jam and clotted cream…NOT a fan) and champagne as we watched Shakespeare actors present a couple famous scenes.  Then we went into the Shakespeare Treasure exhibit, which houses the “First Folio”.  This is the first edition of Shakespeare’s work ever put together (though it was missing two plays).  After the Treasures, we entered his birth home.  It was quite small, but we learned that they were actually upper middle class, so it was a quite fine house in 1564!  I’m a fan of the Bard, so it was neat to see where he came from.  Literally.

We only had an hour and a half there and were shuttled back onto the bus for the 2-hour drive through the Cotswolds to Bath.  I was very much looking forward to Bath and checking out the Roman Baths.  (I’m sure the Cotswolds was lovely, but I’m not gonna lie…I slept through much of it!)  We toured the ancient baths, which were fascinating.  It takes 10,000 years for the rain in the area to seep down and come back up through the limestone, but there are still 140,000 gallons of water that spout up every day.  Fascinating.  The Main Bath is still the original Roman Bath, with the original Roman plumbing.  So you aren’t even allowed to touch the water it is so dangerous (diseases and all).

At the end of the tour you come upon the Pump Room, where you can “take the waters”, as many Brits have done over the centuries.  I took the water and it made my throat feel better (I’ve been fighting a cold/sore throat all week), but it was just that the water was quite warm.  I had been craving a tea or something hot for my throat and the waters did the trick!  Haha!

After Bath, at which we only had an hour and a half, we moved on to Stonehenge.  Again, I slept.  I slept on each leg of the journey, yet I am still kind of exhausted.  Anyway, Stonehenge was very cool.  I know it’s just a bunch of rocks, but it is still so intriguing as to how it came to be and what it means.  And hey, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime things!  It was kind of funny because it was a gray day, much as it was the day I saw the Poulnabrone Dolmen in Ireland last year.  Another pre-historic rock monument!

Although it was gray and chilly today, it only drizzled on us a bit at Bath.  Otherwise, we have really lucked out when it comes to the weather.  And the forecast for the next three days is sun and no more than a 20% chance of rain.  Can my luck really hold out!?!?  I spent 11 days in Ireland last year and it basically rained one day.  And so far a week in Paris and London it hasn’t really rained either.  Fingers crossed!

* I know Stonehenge isn’t generally referred to as “boulders”, but once I had “bard” and “baths” I needed another B to complete my alliteration.  Obviously!


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