Friday, August 8, 2008

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Today was a high-powered sightseeing day. The girls and I signed up for a bus tour with destinations of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford, all in a single day. We got up very early and were on a train out of Uxbridge at 7:15 a.m. We had to meet our bus in central London by 8:45. We got there and settled in on the comfy bus with about 50 other folks from all over the world. Our nearest bus neighbors were from Dubai, and we met others from Spain, Australia, Canada, and all over the U.S.

Our first stop was Windsor Castle, which is Queen Elizabeth's favorite home. The castle is about an hour outside of London. Funny thing is, it's only about 15 minutes from Uxbridge. So we got up early, rode the train for an hour and the bus for another hour to get there! It's the journey, I tell you. We toured the State Apartments, which are amazing. The rooms are huge, opulent, and beautiful, which is quite a thing for me to say, as opulent rarely equals beautiful, in my opinion. No photos were allowed indoors, which seems to be the case with all of the castles here. But outside was another matter. This is the approach to the castle. Can you even imagine living someplace like this?

We caught a glimpse of the Moat Garden over a wall. Pretty! What we didn't know was that you can go into the garden. A little while later, we found the entrance, and the price of admission was a very small donation. So in we went.

I'm getting more and more pleased with the things that my camera will do. These roses were in the Moat Garden.

Here's a view of the castle grounds from higher up in the garden. I don't think I'd like having tourists traipsing all over my yard day after day!

We all piled back on the bus for the drive to Stonehenge, about an hour and a half away. The stones are in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere. But they're an amazing sight. They're well cordoned off so that you can't get too close, but the walkway is laid out in such a way that you can walk around all sides of it and see it very well. I'm sure that the crowds are much worse on the weekends, but I really didn't have much trouble getting photos without a ton of other people in them. This was one of the major sights that the girls had listed on their "must see" list earlier in the summer, and it was definitely worth a visit. It's way far out in the boondocks, though, so I do recommend taking a tour and letting someone else drive!

Next we were off to Oxford, another hour and a half away. We took a walking tour around the campus. The architecture was fabulous. Some of the buildings were almost 1000 years old. It was very hard to get photos without many other people and their cameras, but I did my best. The atmosphere of the town is very nice.

After leaving Oxford, we rode another hour and a half on the bus to get back to central London. We passed right by Uxbridge, which was unfortunately not a stop for the bus! We could even see our building from the bus. But we had to ride an hour further, then take a train back an hour the other way. By the time we got home, about 14 hours after we left, we were beat. But it was a great day.


NV said...

OMG, this is AWESOME! Thanks for the tour. I so want to the Isles someday and this just makes me want it more. :-)

Gracie and Fred's Grandma said...

These pictures are fantastic and your descriptions are great. What a fun trip. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Lynn said...

WOW! GREAT photos!!! I feel like I was along on the tour with you! It must have been amazing to see all these sites in person.