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March 7 to March 15, 1998
Day Four: Tuesday, March 10
"London is a splendid place to live for those who
can get out of it."
- Lord Balfour-- 1 Oct. 1944
We left Scala House at 7:20am for the Grafton Hotel in order to be picked up by Golden Tours for our daytrip to Salisbury, Stonehenge and Bath. Our tour guide, David, was a budding comedian but not a very knowledgeable tour guide. Our first stop was Salisbury, a small town known for its production of wool. En route, we viewed some houses with thatched roofs. Very English looking, and apparently, very strong, too. Salisbury Cathedral, a gorgeous cathedral with the tallest spire in England, was fascinating and is home to the oldest working clock in the world. The cathedral was built in only 38 years and is a perfect example of early English Gothic architecture. The Chapter House houses one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta. Flora enjoyed a short chat with one of the priests while waiting for the others to finish in the gift shop. Lunch was in a nearby pub called The Cloisters--chicken, potatoes, vegetables and tea.
By the time we reached Stonehenge, the weather was bitterly cold, the wind was very strong and it was raining, but neither this nor our limited amount of time there discouraged Flora and Martin from walking around the entire perimeter to get a perspective from all sides. It is smaller than Flora imagined.
Bath was the high point of the day. It is a beautiful Georgian town with a lot of charm. In the eighteenth century, it was second only to London as England's social center. We saw Bath Abbey and toured the Roman Baths and Pump Room. The museum has been built on top of and around the old Roman ruins, which were built in AD43 and discovered in 1880 while sewer work was being done. They are a wonderful example of advanced Roman engineering. The sacred springs flow at a constant temperature of 116 degrees Fahrenheit. We all enjoyed this interesting tour.
The trip back to London was extended by one hour because of
heavy traffic (worse than Dallas), and we didn't arrive in central
London until 6:45pm. We got off the bus early to avoid more traffic
and took the tube home. Dinner was salad, soup, fish and chicken
from Tesco. Bedtime was early. We all felt that the extensive
amount of time spent on the bus and the limited amount of time
spent at the various attractions was enough incentive for us to
cancel our plans for Thursday to daytrip to Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon
and Warwick Castle.