Sunday, September 23, 2012

Castles, Bath, Stonehenge

It rained today for the first time, but no matter, the Queen has reigned for over 60 years!

Credit for the clever quip goes to our tour guide, not me.
Today we took an Evan Evans (I know, stupid name) tour. Our bus was the Japanese language one, which actually ended up being pretty neat. Our guide on the bus would speak first in British English, then in Japanese, with a strong British accent. His Japanese seems pretty good, though I know zero Japanese words so there's a slim possibility I'm not the best judge.

The tour started off with a woman approaching me and asking, in Spanish, if I spoke Spanish. If there is one thing we all know that white people love, especially American white people, its having someone from another race/culture mistake us for being non-white or non-american. Finally, someone mistakes me as someone who possesses culture! Alas, my Castilian Spanish is about as good as my Japanese, so the jig was up pretty quickly.

Windsor castle was first. It was raining so that was kind of lame but we had a huge umbrella we got from back home so we stayed pretty dry. To tour the inside of the castle its all a one way direction, you can't just wander around aimlessly. Lots of fine china, sets of armor, oil paintings, scenic tapestries, crystal chandeliers, and Jacquard-print curtains and wallpaper. A little too ornate and tacky for my taste, though it did look quite expensive. There was a room for everything:  a dressing room, waiting room, sleeping room, receiving room, guards room, a room for doll houses (way creepy). Never saw a bathroom. I guess the Queen uses this place for entertaining important people, which got both me and Doug thinking: what the fuck does the Royal family actually do? It seems like the prime minster runs the show, so all these properties and crowns and weddings are just sort of for tradition? Its a little disturbing. I mean the US president gets a pretty sweet pad but he's actually working for the people. Maybe the Queen knows this and that's why she looks so perturbed in all those photos? Oh which reminds me, you weren't allowed to take any photos on the inside of the castle, also lame. Doug theorized this was to prevent terrorists from mapping out the layout to blow up the building. Despite the multiple holes I poked in his theory (like oh I don't know, they provide you with a map of the entire grounds upon arrival?) he stuck to it. Anyway we were discouraged by that so we forgot to take camera phone pics to post on the blog. It was also ridiculously crowded.

Bath was cool. Super old hit springs, the only one in England. The Roman bath house was also super crowded. I hate tourists, they just get in the way of my great photos. I get this from my dad (the hate, not the great photo skills). Also, almost the whole town is built in limestone, got some good pics of that too on the regular camera.
Roman Bath/hot springs. You can see the steam. Old.
You can drink the water. It tasted awful.

Old coins from the fountain

Best picture from the trip so far.

The last stop of the tour was the best part. Almost a million people visit Stonehenge per year. Its about 160 stones, and we have no idea why it was built. It was constructed in about three stages, the last one around 1500 BC. It was raining, windy, and freezing cold, but still packed!


  1. I will buy you a groupon for you to convert that awesome picture of Doug to canvas. I'm thinking we go for 32"x32". Your thoughts?

  2. Thank you Suzanne :-) it has come in handy for sure!