Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Bus Tour

Good God, today was long! We got up very early, about 6:30, and got a small breakfast at a café. We then walked hotel where we were to meet the tour bus in order to go to Windsor Castle, Salisbury Cathedral, and Stonehenge. The tour guide was a woman of about forty five years of age, sharply funny. First we went to Windsor, and walked up to the castle. I took nearly an entire roll of film just outside and around the castle; we were then told that we were not aloud to take pictures inside. Bloody ridicules if you ask me. (See? I’m already picking up the lingo.)

Upon entering the castle, I was at a loss for words, and that is saying something. Never have I seen such excessive wealth. Gold, ivory and diamonds everywhere! There was a dollhouse in one of the first rooms; it was the castle itself, at 1/12th scale, and it filled the entire room. The rooms themselves were so huge, the ceilings were out of sight; although that might also be due to the poor lighting. There were curtains over all the windows to keep the furniture and paintings from fading, but what good is having everything in prime condition if there is not enough light to see anything?

There were some amazing things in there; the armory was amazing; swords everywhere, from every age. Ivory handled scimitars from the Far East, diamond studded sabers from Italy. There were rosettes of pistols on the walls, and huge racks of rifles. All I could think of was Neo saying, “We need guns. Lots of guns.”

We went through most of the rooms, looking at all of the portraits and expensive furniture and later on we hit the gift store. I got a birthday card for mom of the Da Vinci painting that we have at home, and two iron soldiers for myself. By this point we needed to walk back to the tour bus, so we got a small lunch and headed for Salisbury Abbey. We had a short walk to get to the Abbey, and on the way we passed under a kind of bridge-doorway thing that had a room in the top. According to the tour guide, this was where Handle held his first concert. The Abbey is absolutely enormous and beautiful; huge spires and statues of saints on the outside. Inside, it is all stained glass windows and light and shadow. There is a grand organ to one side that cheerfully played hymns, and then, for some reason, the Phantom of the Opera. Some priest has a sick sense of humor.

I had taken a roll and a half of film already today, so I attempted to budget the rest. In the Abbey was one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, so we saw that as well.
At the gift shop, I got two little silver cross necklaces (Buffy style), one for Hannah and one for me. By now it had started to rain. It was sprinkling when we got back on the tour bus, and by the time we got to Stonehenge (one hour later), it was pouring.

There is no real way to describe the stone circle. Out tour guide said that most people expect it to be bigger, but it is just as I thought it would be. You could just feel the power and age radiating off of it. I felt as though I had been there before, as though I found a piece of myself there I did not know I had. I don’t know how to explain it, but I know I will never forget that feeling. We finally got back to the hotel at about 9 pm. I am really tired. Goodnight.

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