Sunday was a really miserable wake-up call. I don’t know exactly what prompted me to wake up at 5:45, but I had to be awake at 6 anyway to get ready for our 7:30 bus departure to Stonehenge and the city of Bath. Two coach buses packed with Regent’s students and two tour guides made our way west of London on the two hour journey to Stonehenge at 7:45, and our tour guide, Jo, would not shut up for an hour and a half. We were all totally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep as much as possible, but this woman was relentless. She talked about the history of Stonehenge which would have been mildly interesting if it weren’t 7:45 AM, but when she got to the topic of human sacrifices, I drifted off to sleep.
“Okay, my lovelies!” said our overly chipper tour guide. “Wakey wakey! Give your sleeping neighbors a gentle jab on the ribs if they are still asleep!”
NO ONE IS SLEEPING ANYMORE BECAUSE YOUR VOICE IS DEAFENING. The kid across from me on the other side of the bus was the exception. He didn’t stir at all. He was passed out with his head on a scarf, mouth hanging half open. Either he is the heaviest sleeper known to man, or just realllllly good at faking it.
We drove past Stonehenge, which out the window on my side of the bus, and our tour guide blabbed on about the scenery and the rocks until we got to the visitors center. From there, we were shuttled over in smaller groups on smaller buses. It was freezing, and I regretted not bringing my big camera or a hat. There was a path that circled around the whole monument and we walked it, taking goofy pictures along the way. We stayed at the monument for about 20 minutes before we were shuttled back to the visitors center where we looked at overpriced gifts and bought small breakfast foods because we were all famished from not having eaten before getting on the bus.
Finally, we got back on our respective coach buses and made the hour journey to Bath. The drive was pretty unbelievable. I stayed awake the entire time. The roads we went on were very narrow and we got shockingly close to some cottages and villages. People walking on the street didn’t seem to think it was weird that a tour bus was going through their quaint neighborhood. We passed many adorable bed and breakfasts and farmhouses, and there were SO MANY SHEEP. I’ve never seen so many sheep in the span of an hour. As we were getting closer to Bath, the houses started looking a little newer and the rolling hills were like something out of a movie. Our tour guide blabbed on about how the scenery inspired the Lord of the Rings movies. We got to Bath and the bus took us around a circle of the city. It was adorable and beautiful beyond words, and we were all dying to get out and find food, but we had to go to the museum first.
The Roman Baths are “the only hot springs in the UK.” I wish I paid a little more attention to the details, but I was starving and deprived of caffeine. We were all a little on edge during that tour. The idea was, when the Romans came and settled in England, they built these gorgeous, massive baths with columns and different rooms, each with a different purpose. It was supposed to make them feel more at home. Today, they have been preserved pretty well but the water is a little green and contaminated with something. We were told not to swim in it, or drink it. I don’t know why they would have to tell people that. You couldn’t pay me enough to do either.
Finally, we exited through the gift shop and made our way into town to find coffee and food. We found a really cute patisserie where I got a latte that absolutely trumped the mediocre coffee that Regent’s refectory has to offer. A few of the people I was with also got cannolis, but I needed real food, and stat. Jess found a beautiful little coffee shop cafe and we split a massive italian panini with roasted peppers, pork, micro greens, and italian cured meats. It was amazing beyond words. We destroyed that thing and headed to the Jane Eyre museum. Sadly, we didn’t have time to go through the whole thing, but the gift shop was just as fun. We want to go back eventually because admission is only six pounds for students. The buildings in Bath are unreal. I can only imagine what real estate prices look like.
Then…cookies. Not biscuits, cookies. Ben’s cookies, to be precise. This tiny little cookie shop in an alley in Bath completely changed my life and my perspective on everything that is good and perfect in the world. I got a “Milk Chocolate Chunk” cookies, but the chunks of milk chocolate are more like discs of deliciousness that are spread throughout the giant cookie. Mine was warm when I got it and it melted in my mouth. Buttery, oozy, flawlessness. I’m drooling over my laptop right now. Best cookie I have ever had, hands down. Educate yourself: http://www.benscookies.com/