Today we embraced the leisurely weekend pace of London. We slept in a bit before heading down to our hotel lobby for breakfast. We’ve been lucky to find secluded window tables each morning. It’s only been five days and already we have our routines. I hold down the fort while Philip tries to find food I’ll actually eat.
We enjoyed our English breakfast and coffee while watching the sun try to fight through the clouds. By the time we were dressed and ready to head out for the day, the sun was actually shining! We picked up the 73 bus line across from our hotel in Islington and took a scenic journey aboard the double decker hybrid fuel bus. It was a 45 minute ride through Kings Cross and St Pancras to Oxford Circus, where we watched all the Londoners shopping in the boutique lined streets. Oxford Street is definitely a shopaholics dream. Maybe tomorrow we’ll have time to make a quick stop there, but today we are heading to Stonehenge, so we stayed aboard the bus as it meandered through the Marble Arch and Hyde Park to Victoria station.
We met our coach bus at Victoria Station. We booked our Stonehenge visit through London Premier tours. It included round trip coach travel and admission into Stonehenge for 31 pounds per person. It seems like we got a great deal. We were pleasantly surprised that our coach driver was also a guide. The friendly Brazilian, Marcel, narrated our travel through London, pointing out historical sights all while adding his own fun stories. He was really funny and we enjoyed hearing his jokes and takes on certain legends of London.
He pointed out 3 Kings Pub, where the Rolling Stones used to perform and Fuller’s Brewery. Both his stories about them were so entertaining we hope we’ll have time to make it to those locations during the rest of our stay in London.
Once outside the city, our driver started a video documentary about Stonehenge. It was really cool to get to see and hear the history of the attraction we were headed to and a great way to pass the hour drive. Re-enactments of the early settlers in the video reminded me of some of the scenes I had been writing about in the next installment of The Geneva Project. I found my mind wandering as I watched the rolling acres of green countryside pass by…
Phil said the rest of the program was great, but the gentle sway and hum of the bus, coupled with the hypnotic narration sent me into dream land. I woke up when we were 10 minutes from Stonehenge. Perfect timing! I’m so glad that I fell asleep with all of the cameras so Phil couldn’t take pictures of me!
When I awoke, it appeared we had left the sunshine in London. As soon as we started making our approach to Stonehenge, the clouds very ominously rolled in, casting an eerie grey glow about. Marcel gave us our tickets, maps and stickers and directed us to the Stonehenge visitors’ pavilion. There was a café, gift shop and rest rooms. We took a small shuttle bus from here. It was roughly a mile through a muddy, wooded path. Once we came out into the clearing you could see Stonehenge looming massively in the distance.
When we exited the bus we were met with a blistering wind! I’m telling you, you could lean into it and it would hold you up! We trekked against it to the huge stone formation and were awestruck by the beauty of the entire area. There were a few surreal moments when I was just hugging Phil saying “can you believe we’re actually here?” You could see for miles, pastures with sheep and pigs, fast flowing rivers and streams. It was absolutely breath taking. We snapped a million photos but I’m sure none of them will do the place justice. You just can’t capture magnificence like that. It has to been seen and felt in person.
We were taking photos and watching the ravens ride the snarling wind, when the clouds suddenly parted and the sun came out for the first time since we arrived at Stonehenge. The way the beams burst down through the clouds for just the briefest of moments made both of us pause and look at each other. We smiled, because we had both just been talking about Dalton, and how much we thought he would enjoy this place a moment before the sun came out. It melted my heart and made our Stonehenge experience priceless.
Not ten minutes later the sky opened up. I’ve never heard wind howl like this and I’ve been through a tornado and quite a few hurricanes. We boarded the Land Rover tram that took us back to the visitors’ pavilion. I was so happy the weather had held out long enough for an unbelievable experience at Stonehenge. I can truly still feel the awe of that place as I write about it on the coach ride back to London.
It was a journey worth taking.