England Part 2

Sunday, Sept 4, 2011:

We wake up and enjoy breakfast at Brasserie Joel, the restaurant at the hotel.  It’s a breakfast buffet, yay and I drink English Breakfast Tea since I’m in England.  Once more we must get the glass water bottles if we want to drink water.  I love their roast bacon and Josh devours their turkey and cheese like he’s a starving man.

bottled still water

oh he’s good and full

ready to tackle another England day!  it’s cooler out and they say it’ll rain

the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

no traffic?  because it’s sunday? hmmm

Actually we found out they were doing this Sunday Biking day in the area…so a bunch of people busted out their bicycles like they were Dutch and took over the roads.  I love London when it’s empty, I have it all to myself 🙂

this equals to about $2.18

oh yeah, London Underground baby!

“To Let” means “For Rent”

We ventured to Windsor Castle to meet the coach that was going to Stonehenge and because it was full, Josh and I had to sit separately, which was totally fine, except it was a long ride and I kept falling asleep.  I was afraid I’d fall asleep on the person to the right of me.  😛   David, our guide who had a wonderful british accent, bright blue eyes and a cheery disposition had some very interesting things to say but his voice was so soothing I fell asleep, many times!  We were also caught in a large downpour on our way to have lunch before getting to Stonehenge.  Weather like this makes me want a hot bowl of soup, my blanket and a bed to snooze in.

We had lunch at The Bell.  Back in the day these were Inns where actual coaches(with horses) would stop.

And into the English countryside we finally come to Stonehenge which is surrounded by farm land.

Surreal moment, standing in front of Stonehenge

lol…I’m squinting because it was a bit windy and cold!

My attempt to take a photo as if I were holding Stonehenge in the palm of my hand.  Didn’t work, thanks Josh.  LOL

Farm land all around

We only had about 45 minutes to take a look at Stonehenge because the next leg of the journey would take us to the city of Bath.  Oh Bath is just lovely…the drive into the city gives you a fantastic view of the lushness of the city.  And why is it that in the places I love, the guides always mention that Johnny Depp has a house or apartment there (it’s why I love him, he has such good taste! lol).  Bath is beautiful.  And because the Roman empire reached so far, here in England you find roman baths.

Roman baths, basically it’s a hot springs spa

And why did I get excited about the Roman baths?  Have you seen the series Spartacus?  A friend of mine got me hooked on it…and of course Josh got hooked on it too.  But I could imagine, just like in the series, the baths and the decadence of that time of course.  I also watched the series Rome, but talk about decadent (I had to stop watching when the whole incest thing was going on…yuck…)

What did they find here in Bath?  Many roman statues, burials and artifacts.

You can’t see it, but the water is steamy as it runs.

doesn’t this look like the night full of stars?  so pretty
Bath Abbey

I agree!

I need to return to Bath, just to really explore it.  Jane Austen lived here and they have a whole tour based on her.  And they have a train from London that you can take to Bath!  After a wonderful day of exploring and a very long ride home (plus we had to wait as the coach had to drop off the various people at their hotels) and a baby crying for about 30 minutes in the back seat, I was exhausted.

Just a tidbit on traveling and families….how do they do it?!  There was an Australian family, parents and 3 toddlers, that went to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath…it’s a 12 hour day and that one baby was crying her heart out at the end…I bet she was so tired.  But how do the parents keep sane?  I don’t think I’d have brought the children to Stonehenge and Bath because there was nothing for kids there but wow…the parents had patience of STEEL.

We decided to get dinner at the hotel at Brasserie Joel, same place we ate breakfast.

Lobster Risotto…delicious!! 

Josh had duck.

And this dessert has to be my favorite of all time.  Semi Freddo.  It’s a layered dessert with whip cream, coffee granita, and vanilla bean ice cream.  I went back the next night just to eat this.

 A long day…but in retrospect, these beginning days were nothing compared to the rest of the weeks to follow!  So much to do, so little time.

And just an FYI…our tour was through a hawaii travel agency, Royal Hawaiian Adventure that hooks up with Globus Tours.  Since Josh and I got our own plane tickets, we didn’t leave with our Hawaii group.  We got to London earlier as the Hawaii group made a pit stop in Seattle.  Josh and I decided if we were going to Europe, we wanted to be there straight away and not stop in Seattle.  So we did have 2 extra days in London before we met up with our tour group, which was really, really nice!!  Our Hawaii tour group had only 2 days to explore London which was like…no time at all.

Plus it was so easy to add different tours because Park Plaza has Globus Reps on hand in the lobby and they are very helpful and accommodating.  If we wanted to add an excursion, they check if there is room and book us.  So easy!  If it’s simpler to go to a site on our own, they let us know that as well, which is great.

Also, England is easy to navigate because they have busses and trains and subways and you can walk also.  Plus everything is in English and people are very helpful in England.

London is quite multi cultural and that’s why I told Josh I didn’t feel out of my element yet.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  It’s when we went to places that English is hardly spoken is when I felt like an alien. LOL…but it’s not an awful feeling, it can get uncomfortable because the communication barriers are harder to surpass but there are many things that are universal like “toilet”!

But if you love to travel, like I do…that’s part of the experience!  You will feel frustrated but you try to come up with a solution and learn to communicate with others that don’t speak the same language as you do.  Something beautiful happens in the exchange of differences coming together…either you get uncomfortable and get frustrated but you survive it…or you learn something and an “a-ha!” moment occurs.

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