Day 35 -39 March 20-24, 2017
Breakfasts were good, toast, muffins, cereals, porridge, fruit and cheese along with beverages. At 9:00 a.m. there was flag raising, rain or shine, with the World Song, a thought for the day and announcements. Then we were off on a journey somewhere most mornings. The first morning a huge bus came to pick us up for a tour of London. Our Tour Guide was a lovely man named Andrew who is also an author. I will have to research his book. We had a flight on the London Eye, oh my has the city view changed since I was last here in 2005! Skyscrapers of all shapes have now crept up, but it was still great to see the old landmarks visible from this 135 meter height. Later we had a visit to the British Girl Guide store and walk to Buckingham Palace then back to Pax on the tube. It was pouring rain and I left my rain poncho in the room. GRRRRRR! Silly me. Another woman who had lived in London several times on school and business wanted to visit other places and I thankfully tagged along with her for a couple of days. People were very nice and we were able to find our way easily through the streets using the tube, busses and many kilometres on foot.
A few evenings after either a meal at Pax or on our own, a program started at 7:30. Quizzes where you would learn more about Pax or the World Association of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, one evening we attended a theatre production of Wicked after a Traditional fish and chip pub meal at an old establishment near Westminster. This was the night of the attack at the Parliament, Wednesday March 22. It was a terrible mood, I felt anxious and sitting in this upstairs floor at this pub, The Albert, with so much history, I didn’t have much enjoyment of the meal while the big screen TV was replaying video of people running and emergency vehicles lights flashing and sirens blaring, low volume, but it still bothered me. Those same lights were flashing outside the pub window, reflecting blue lights near where my seat was. I had a Guinness and I didn’t stop at one. I had 2. I felt like I needed to relax. The waitress said that the whole top floor has been reserved for a couple of other local office parties. They didn’t show likely due to the terror attack…… Later we walked to the theatre and settled in to forget the outside world and be entertained. And I was. It was a great show!!!
We could do challenges about London city, there was a geocaching challenge which a couple of women took advantage of and a Natural History museum challenge. A fun way to spend time while learning. Any group could create this type of thing anywhere you go in the world to learn more about the area you are visiting or even the home town you live in. Fun stuff!
I was able to enjoy a lunch hour performance at St. Martins in the Fields church (donations were welcome) by a Latvian pianist and I was introduced to interesting information about Bach and other artists music that she played. Good stuff! Goosebumps! Following the performance, it was announced that there was a full service restaurant below the church, called, “the Crypt”. Very interesting and what a way to make use of a basement of a church! The hours are daily from morning to 10:30 or so in the evening. Hot meals, cold salads, soups, sandwiches, beer and wine are available for purchase at a reasonable price. A great experience!!
We walked through Trafalgar Square seeing buskers, performers and even Pikachoo, which my grandkids liked when I sent them a picture of myself and Pikachoo 🙂 We walked over to Westminster Abbey and were seated for a 5:00 p.m. “Evensong” service. The choir wasn’t their usual choir, however the singing was beautiful and the sound echoed happily throughout this building. I imagined how the choir sounded during Coronations and Weddings and Funerals.
Taking a London bus is an experience! We managed to sit in the very front seats of the second level, top deck and it took a little getting inused to at first. It looked like we were going to hit posts and cars and people but the driver expertly managed his machine. People People People everywhere!
We had a visit to the British museum where I saw several items from Egypt, Greece and English history. The building is beautiful in itself. One could spend hours here but I had to go as I wanted to visit Camden market before arriving at an appointment for a massage.
Camden Market, Camden lock is a really unique place to visit. I must say I’ve been to many markets in this world but this one is one I would love to go back to and just browse and take in the smells of the food, peruse the items for display and or maybe take a canal ride on a boat. There were sections I just couldn’t get to in the short time I had.
The massage was amazing! A Thai massage.
Friday was a free day for us, so I had purchased a ticket through Evan Evans Tours for a trip to Stonehenge and Bath. The rest of the group did what they had to do on this last full day in London.
Leaving Pax early before breakfast, I stopped at Bugeons grocery and picked up a hot raisin bun and an ‘immunity’ freshly made juice. Oh my was it good! I will be juicing again when I get home.
Taking the Northern line to Euston, changing to the Victoria line, I found myself outside on the street but it wasn’t familiar to me. I had done a dry run a couple of days before to make sure I would get to the pick up point in time for the bus. After asking a couple of people I found my way to Victoria Coach Station.
The station was filled with people with tickets in hand and I felt a little claustrophobic again, but somehow I ended up sitting in the very front seat of the coach next to a man from Dallas Texas. A happy, kind person, we hit it off and talked all the way to Stonehenge. His compact Sony camera was around his neck and it had an incredible zoom that could bring images up close, like my heavy SLR that I left at home this trip.
Stonehenge was amazing! I’ve wanted to see it for years and years. I didn’t ‘feel’ the stones, but I did experience deep calm and relaxation being here. The damp bitter cold wind blew across the empty fields as I listened to the audio tour through an earphone. What a great way to have a tour! Emily was our tour guide and Thomas was our driver. We left Stonehenge and headed for Bath and enjoyed the countryside all the way. In Bath, Emily did a 20 minute walking tour with us and I loved it that she could be halfway down the block and I could still hear her talking! Afterwards we were left to our own and visited the Roman Baths (Incredible!!) and the Abbey then went to the Huntsman Tavern for fish and Chips and beer. If I were to go back here I would spend more time at both places, private car would be the way to do it.
After a 3 hour or so drive back into London, I reversed my tube trip and entered Pax after the doors were locked so had to use the secret code to enter through the brown door.
The task of checking in to our West Jet flight and packing awaited me, the check in went smoothly and I packed as much as I could, the rest had to wait until after getting ready in the morning. I said goodbye to a couple people I wouldn’t see in the morning and crawled in my firm mattressed twin bed and slept restlessly, another travel day ahead, one of the most exciting!