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We left early Saturday (3/19) morning to make our way to Stonehenge which was about an hour and half west of London. It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sheep pastures. Here is a cut-n-paste excerpt from another website about Stonehenge:

Stonehenge is a prehistoric, mysterious circle of upright stones in southern England. Construction on the great monument began 5,000 years ago; the famous stones that still stand today were put in place about 4,000 years ago.

The great age, massive scale and mysterious purpose of Stonehenge draw over 800,000 visitors per year, and several thousand gather on the summer solstice to watch the sunrise at this ancient and mystical site.

The stones are aligned almost perfectly with the sunrise on the summer solstice, and it is almost unquestioned that Stonehenge was built as a spectacular place of worship.

Although the faith of the Stonehenge builders predates any known religion, the site has become a place of pilgrimage and worship for Neopagans who identify themselves with the Druids or other forms of Celtic paganism. It is also popular with New Age devotees, who report powerful energies at the site.

It was truly a spectacular view…..

And the stones weren’t the only thing we saw from another era……

The Roman Baths are the heart of Bath which was begun around 45 AD as a spa for Roman conquerors. They found that the hot springs cured a number of ailments – not surprising, since the mineral content in the springs/baths contain over 40 different minerals. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s it was THE destination point for Kings and Queens.

Beautiful green algae water (wonder what made them think this would be great to swim in?)

Bath was one of those quaint towns out in the English countryside… took us about an hour and half to get there by bus but definitely worth the trip. Many shops and awesome architecture….

(Note the angels climbing the “ladders” on the Abbey….such interesting detail everywhere ;-)

As I underwent the monumental task of downloading the kazillion pictures that Cait and I took on our trip, I noticed that about 20% of the 976 pictures that Caitlin shot were of bicycles…..I don’t understand it, but thought I’d share some of her pictures……

What does one find to eat in the UK? Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you asked Caitlin), most of our meals were already planned for us…..breakfast at the hotels consisted of scrambled eggs, bangers (sausage looking things), broiled tomatoes and pork n beans (along with the usual cereal, bagels and fruit). Our evening meals were set up by our tour guide and we never knew what to expect. Well, except for peas – they were served with every meal.

This is a banger…..picture was taken by Caitlin before she shoved the plate away and wished for pizza. Not sure if it was the bangers that made her lose her appetite, or maybe it was the fish pie the night before or the promise of meat pies the next evening…..perhaps it was one of the following sights….

(Yes, those are whole cooked ducks – heads, beaks and all)

(Note the sign to the right…”Goat meat now on sale”…good thing because I just hate paying full price…)

Desserts were scrumptious though….

We did get a chance to try out different restaurants for lunch – we usually ate at Italian places (read: pizza for Cait).

Here are a few of the out-of-the-way quirky places we got to eat at……

Woke up to a very rainy morning and headed to Windsor Castle. One of the most intimidating fortresses we’ve seen so far. Wasn’t a good day for outdoor pictures (hated getting my camera wet) and they would not allow pictures inside at all – too bad because the interior of the castle was unbelievable. We did get to see the Royal Corgi’s going out for their morning walk but no sight of the Queen ;-) Here’s a picture of the changing of the guards at Windsor….

And Cait in front of the castle……

I guess if the Queen gets tired of Windsor Castle, she can always hang out at Buckingham Palace (because of the rain we did not see the changing of the guards there but you can see one of them in the little shack by the door ;-)

(as of this writing, it is 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning and we are leaving for the airport in 4 hours…’ll probably be another day or so or whenever I recover from jet lag before I post more pictures. This has absolutely been trip of a lifetime.)

We made a stop in Oxford Thursday afternoon and toured the area. Unbelievable buildings and history in this area.

And, of course, a picture of Cait with one of the locals…….

Apparently you have to be super smart to attend any of the colleges at Oxford so we had to show them the ole “Boomer Sooner”!

I hope when I get home and have more time to review my notes on the buildings and areas, I can post more pictures with descriptions – truly have seen some awesome towns!

Finally made it to London St. Patty’s Day…..took the “Tube” to Picadilly Circus and walked around until dinner in Soho and then a play “39 Steps” later in the evening. Sun came out a little late afternoon and believe it or not, it was the first time we’ve seen it since we left Oklahoma ;-/

Lots of “street” people out – guys painted gold or silver or in tin cans…….

London is definitely an interesting town……and in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day……..

Arrived in Stratford on Wednesday and spent the morning at Anne Hathaway’s cottage (Shakespeare’s wife) which was built around 1697.

Beautiful home in the country and the most awesome gardens – got a lot of good ideas for my mound of dirt ;-)

From there we headed into the main town of Stratford upon Avon and visited Shakespeare’s birthplace. Spent the rest of the afternoon walking around this quaint little town and shopped. Left late afternoon for London where we will spend the next 3 days before heading home.

Shakespeare’s birthplace

After the hike to Hadrian’s Wall, the next stop was the awesome town of York. Home of Yorkshire Pudding and Yorkshire Terriers ;-) We got there in time to hear the boys choir at York Minster and it was quite moving as you walked around the church and took in the sights. The church has beginnings back to 600AD and it was considered completed in 1472.

(Sorry….had to get one of our “OU” pictures in ;-)
The cathedral was a gothic lover’s dream……

And finally as we left York, this picture just spoke “England” to me……

Left Edinburgh bright and early Tuesday morning to start heading south to London. Stopped in at Hadrian’s Wall on the way and visited the fort at Housestead. Thank God it was misty because if I had been able to see the walk we needed to take to the fort (half a mile, both directions uphill), I probably would have waited in the bus – seriously, it was awesome.

Apparently the Roman’s started building this wall in AD 122 (it stretches east to west from coast to coast) to protect themselves from their northern enemies. Pretty impressive, but if a 17 year old could scale it…….

Oh, did I mention that there are a lot of sheep farms in the English countryside?

Would love to come back some day and see this without the mist…….

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