July 10, Oxford to Stonehenge and Bath
We got up this morning and dined in the grand hall of Keble College. It is very much like the Great Hall in which Harry Potter and the other wizards from Hogwarts School dined in. After breakfast, we were off again to walk to the car rental place. Today is once again cloudy, misty, and occasional rain showers. We picked up the car and found that the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car!! It was on the passenger side!!! It sure feels strange driving from the passenger side, reaching for the gear shifter, putting on seatbelt, looking in the rear-view mirror, everything that feels natural when driving is now backwards. We made it out of Oxford with nobody honking at us!! Out onto the motorway we went, zipping along at 65-75MPH. The road signage in Britain is terrible but we made it to our next destination Stonehenge without getting lost. I was not really interested about going to see a pile of rocks but Brenna wanted to see them. We parked in an overflow area in a field of sheep and headed up to the ticket area being careful not to step in the sheep poop. You can see the stones in a field behind a chain-link fence for free or pay $12CDN each to go inside the fence and get a couple hundred feet closer. I was ok with looking at it through the fence. It started raining, again. Walking back towards the ticket area I was pretty sure Brenna still wanted to go inside the fence to see the rocks up close so we lined up to get tickets. Hmmm... Where's my credit card? Crap. It's back in the car. By this time the rain started coming down harder. We went back through the field, got the credit card, Brenna grabbed the umbrella and we paid the $12 CDN each to go in and take an audio tour. It turns out there was actually some interesting facts about the stones, where they came from, the possible meaning and the orientation which allows you to tell the time of year by where the midday sun shines. We had no clue if it was July or December today - it was too cloudy!!! Actually the rain had stopped by now and the sun was breaking out. I guess I learned more than I thought I would. After the tour we went back to the car and we were off to the town of Bath next. We made it to Bath then made some wrong turns in town. We got directions and eventually made it to our Bed and Breakfast but the owner was not home, he was out picking up other guests from the train station. We parked and went for another walk. Yes, more walking. We went back to the B&B, met the owner, brought in our bags and then about 3:30pm he drove us into the old town area. We were planning on a free walking tour but had missed the afternoon walk so we had to wait until 7pm for the next one. This meant another day full of walking. We wandered around looking at the buildings, the river, and a bookstore. We found a Subway and got sandwiches for supper. After eating we went on our 2 hour walking tour of Bath and learned a lot of history of the city. There is hot springs here in Bath and the Romans came and established a spa around the year 60 AD. The whole old city is heavily influenced by Roman architecture. The Bath Abbey (which is actually named The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul)is the site where the first King of England, King Edward, was crowned. The architect of the Abbey had a dream one night of angels ascending to heaven and this was incorporated into the carvings on the towers. There are also statues of St Paul and St Peter beside the doorway and Jesus above the doorway looking down. One of the statues, (I'm not sure if it was Peter or Paul) had his head knocked off at some point and he had a new head carved from his beard so he is about a foot shorter now. You'll have to see the pictures. There are many other neat buildings like The Circus which is round to mimic the Colosseum in Rome and if you stand in a specific spot there is a really neat echo, it's quite interesting. And then there is the Royal Crescent, built in 1767, it is a very prestigious Georgian architecture building of about 30 connected houses stretching in an arc. It is probably one of the nicest looking apartment/condo buildings in the world. After seeing all the stone buildings, it is not surprising that the owner of the local stone mine was the richest person in town. After the tour we headed back to the B&B, about a 30 minute walk. Uphill L.