European Vistas, Day 13, 14

Today I went on a day-long excursion with the <a href=”http://www.walks.com”>London Walks company</a> to Bath. My brochure said to meet at Paddington Station by 9:15 am. I got there 1/2 hour early. The trip to Bath cost 40 pounds. That included my train tickets and the guided tour (by Richard). There were about 20 people there for the tour. He took our money, bought the tickets, and we boarded the train at 9:30 am. A woman from New Zealand named Sue sat next to me and we chatted on the way there. Her husband was back at the hotel. By the end of the day, she’d given me her address and said to call her if I’m ever in Auckland. New Zealanders are the nicest people in the world!

The weather in Bath was very blustery. It began to rain a few times but never rained for more than a few minutes. I think my pictures are a bit dark though. We had a guided walk that gave us an overview of the town, then we split up for lunch. I had a traditional English pasty for lunch (sort of like a hand-held shepherd’s pie with steak, potato and onion). 1.80 for a handful of warm, delicious, flaky crust numminess. I sat in front of the Abbey on a bench and listened to two vibraphone players. They were good. After lunch we went into the Abbey, and then we went to the Bath museum, which is where people used to go and bathe in the hot mineral waters. Then we went to the Assembly rooms and the rotunda, then we went back to the station. There were several delays on the way back to London, and I didn’t get to the hotel until 7ish. I ate the Thai smoked salmon pasty that I’d bought earlier and watched “The Wedding Singer” with two Aussie girls and one American girl in the TV room. Then I went to bed. Tomorrow I’m going on another excursion to The Cotswolds and Oxford.

The town of Bath.
The town of Bath.
Xylophone players.
Xylophone players.
The Bath "baths."
The Bath “baths.”
Another view of the baths.
Another view of the baths.
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Venetian glass chandelier.
Venetian glass chandelier.
Detail of Abbey exterior.
Detail of Abbey exterior.
Interior of Abbey.
Interior of Abbey.
Lovely stained glass windows.
Lovely stained glass windows.
These cream-colored stones make up most of the buildings in Bath
These cream-colored stones make up most of the buildings in Bath
Abbey Exterior
Abbey Exterior
Abbey Exterior
Abbey Exterior
Pretty facade.
Pretty facade.
Pretty "bridge of sighs."
Pretty “bridge of sighs.”
Bath buildings.
Bath buildings.
The "theater."
The “theater.”

September 23, 2004.

Today I took the tube back to Paddington station for the day’s excursion. The group was about the same size as yesterday, maybe a little smaller. Richard was the guide again. We took a train and then a bus into the Cotswolds. It began pouring down rain on the bus and I was terribly worried we’d be spending the entire day walking in such horrid weather. But it stopped raining by the time we got there and the day turned out to be quite beautiful. The Cotswolds were lovely; the scenery on the bus was amazing. We went to the town of Minster Lovell and then walked through the ruins of the Lovell family manor house. Richard told us the creepiest story while we were there, about a bride who got locked in a chest and died whilst playing hide and seek the night before her wedding. Then we went to the town of Burford for lunch. I had a chicken dijonaise pot pie for lunch, for 2.50. It was delicious.

The most picturesque little Cotswoldian Cottage!
The most picturesque little Cotswoldian Cottage!
Another adorable little cottage.
Another adorable little cottage.
Village church.
Village church.
Views of the countryside.
Views of the countryside.
Town church
Town church
Interior of church.
Interior of church.
A Cotsolds Pub.
A Cotsolds Pub.

After lunch we took the bus back to the train station, then took a train to Oxford. By then the sun had come out and it was a glorious day. Almost too bright, it was difficult to take pictures because of the position of the sun. The Oxford tour was good, but I had the feeling that there was a lot that we would be missing. And we saw so much and I didn’t write down the names of places of what we did see… I can’t even remember which college we went to. We saw the Sheldonian theater and Exeter college and the Bodleian (though we didn’t go inside). Also we saw where Bill Clinton was when he didn’t inhale. Also we went to Radcliffe Square and the Eagle and Child pub where Tolkien drank his pints when he went here. During my free time, I went to Blackwell’s bookshop and ended up buying the first three books in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, signed by the author.

Town of Oxford.
Town of Oxford.
Detail of interior.
Detail of interior.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Oxford buildings.
Another "bridge of sighs."
Another “bridge of sighs.”

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Breakfast room!
Breakfast room!

On the way back to London, I sat next to a girl named Cecelia. She is from Mexi-Cal. She told me about the mini apartment she is staying in while in London. It has its own kitchen and a BATHTUB. I was extremely envious, and not looking forward to going back to the hostel. I got some chicken curry at a restaurant nearby. It was not very good, but cheap at only 3.30 pounds. I also got some hummus and pita for 0.99p at a mini-mart, and a piece of fruit. I took my food down to the TV room and ate there with the same group of girls from the previous night. They were going out clubbing that night and asked me if I wanted to go, but I declined. Tomorrow I’m getting up early to go to Canterbury and Leeds Castle.
Go on the last part of the journey!

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