Day 3: London to Bristol
I'm 'Enry the 'Eigth I am, I am...
We left London on the third day of my trip. It still is incredibly warm for the season,
but the air-conditioned bus helps. Our first stop was Hampton Court (shown at right in a
painting) where Henry VIII lived at one point. It's sort of a large castle/estate, with
several inner courtyards and a huge estate behind. There was a very interesting fireplace
in the kitchen, with a gravity-driven mechanical spit for rotating the meat while it was
In one room of the castle are some enormous tapestries that contain much gold leaf. No
photographs are allowed, however, to prevent the tapestries from deteriorating further.
Our next stop was the town of Salsbury, where the Salsbury Cathedral is located (an old
Gothic church). Quite beautiful, with a well-kept garden around. They are doing renovation
on the Cathedral. By the way, most churches in England have a small collection basket
outside, where tourists are asked to contribute to the upkeep. I usually left a pound or
After Salsbury was a stop at Stonehenge. They don't
allow you to walk among the stones anymore (too many tourists taking samples, I suppose),
but there is a walking path around the ruins and you can get hand-held recordings on
information and stories about the monuments. Stonehenge is HUGE, by the
way: MUCH bigger than I thought it would be. It takes a good hour or so to walk around and
listen to the tapes. Some of the stories about the building of Stonehenge include the
Romans, Druids, and Ice Giants.
The weather was fantastic for picture taking: I got some great shots. One nice
thing about the ropes being so far from the monument is that you have no people walking in
front of you and getting caught in your picture!
Having a Bath
The town of Bath is the site of some old Roman bath houses, that were buried and
rediscovered in the 19th century. Because they were lost for so long, parts were
relatively intact and you can still see how the various rooms were built out of the
natural hot springs in the area. The springs are several stories below the current
street level, and there was a little museum inside showing the various Roman artifacts
that were discovered. The water is green now from algae and exposure to sunlight,
but in their original glory they would have been crystal clear.
Bath also has the famous Bath Abbey, made of the local stone that gives it a striking
yellow-orange color. It has a fantastic large pipe organ inside.
I'll say one thing: Bath was crowded! We were in a big tourist
season and there was quite a wait getting into the ruins. Fortunately our tour has
some precedence over the average Joe Citizen (probably because of the $dough$ that is
brought in!), so we got to skip ahead in the line.
There were several interesting shops in Bath, and several people doing musical things:
one guy was using a pair of spoons to clatter out various tunes! He was the best of
the bunch, I thought.
Our final stop for the day was in Bristol, which is just south of Wales. Off to
bed: I'm pooped!