Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Travelogue: UK Tour

Category: Travel and Places
I know I promised to blog more. Believe it or not, I have written two splendid blogs, both of which have been lost to the evil PC laptop. I am a diehard macophile, so it is easy to blame this black shiny thing that constantly wants us to update Adobe acrobat or our Norton Anti-Virus software. I shouldn't knock it. It's doing its best. But it did destroy two of my blogs, so I remain mildly bitter.

We are in London now, staying with a friend of Peter's. Yesterday, we met her boyfriend, who when I introduced myself as "brigid," asked "brigid kaelin?" And right as he said that, I recognized him as a friend from 1st-grade. How absurd is that?

It reminds me of the time I went to Ireland, pulled into a parking space in the Dingle Harbor, and almost ran straight into my neighbor from the Highlands.

Is the world really that small or do I just know too many people?

We took two days to get from Manchester to London, although it's only a 3-4 hour drive. Peter had never seen a castle before, so we stopped at the dramatic red sandstone Kenilworth Castle, which was the cheapest castle to visit on our route. I've been to castles before. I love them. I love driving down the countryside, turning a curve, and suddenly seeing a 1000-year-old ruined castle. Kenilworth was in the middle of a quaint town, but equally impressive, especially when viewed from the main entrance.

Another historical obsession of mine is the Tudor regime. Elizabeth has always fascinated me -- her lovers, her rivals, her father, her religion, her pirates, etc -- so this castle was particularly interesting to me. It was her favorite place to visit, and she gave it as a gift to her favourite lover, Lord Robert Dudley. I think since dating is far too complicated, that I will instead choose to be married to my constituents/fans, and take on "favourites" as I see fit. And maybe someday I'll give one of them a castle, as Elizabeth gave Kenilworth to Dudley.

I love knowing that I'm walking on the same hills that these massive historical figures walked and looking at the horizon through the same castle windows. It is really a bone-chilling feeling.

Peter also showed off his joust-miming skills, and we engaged in a little mime-joust-match. He definitely knocked me off my horse, as I forgot my lance and instead tried to cut off his head with my imaginary sword. Oops. And yes, there is video, for a later date. We meandered around the castle so long that we almost got locked in. Seriously.

After Kenilworth, we hit Stratford-upon-Avon, at my request. It was already past 5:00 though, so Shakespeare's birthplace and gardens and Anne Hathaway's cottage (Shakespeare's wife, not the actress) were already closed. But it was still nice to pull up in the village (even though we parked in front of a Starbucks) and walk past the Tudor buildings that were marked "1485" in the woodwork and walk past the lot where Shakespeare lived. We had a pint at The Dirty Duck, and pirated the Starbucks wireless connection to Expedia a hotel to our south.

We woke up around 10:00, just in time for our 10:00 check-out, and thus confused the staff. It's funny how slow everyone around here does things -- except checkout time. They are serious about their checkout time.

We headed towards Stonehenge, being that I have always wanted to see Stonehenge. My friend Meredith used to subscribe to those Time-Life Reader series on Unknown Mysteries, and I always loved the one on Stonehenge.
Despite being only an hour away, we took another detour. This time, for two reasons. One, we were nearby Bath, a city I've been told to visit. Two, and probably more importantly, Peter and I were both hungry. We get on really well together, obviously, and are perfect traveling companions for many reasons. But when either one of us is hungry, we are irritable and unpleasant. In a pre-emptive strike, we stopped for breakfast in Bath.

Bath was absolutely beautiful, but certainly not the quintissential English town. It looks Roman, with it's white buildings curving up seven hills and shops running through the center of town. Most amazingly, the ancient Roman baths are still functioning, an amazing feat of 2,000-year-old engineering. After breakfast, we paid the 10.50-pound entry fee to see them, and it was worth the $20.

The audio tours over here are generally quite dull, but the Bill Bryson commentary on this one was particularly amusing. He doesn't really teach you anything, but he's funny.

Peter was the first to spy Stonehenge. It juts out of the countryside, just past a hill. Even though you know it's nearby, you're still never quite ready for the sight. It is amazing.

Ok, more about that later. Peter needs the computer, and we need to eat breakfast before anything dangerous happens.

Tonight, we play London. Tell your friends over here to come say hi at The Halo 317 Battersea Park Road,
SW11 4LT

New video of our day in Manchester:

Read more: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=19356498&blogId=439080271#ixzz0tamvWFNT

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