UK and Ireland, Day 11.

Today was our last full day out here, so we had two more sites to go to: Stonehenge, and Oxford… and we got to them both. Stonehenge proved impressive, and worthy of a gazillion pictures, apparently. Oxford was interesting, and I’m glad I got to see it. As usual, the random interactions with others and the just plain fun of hanging out with Joel and Robb really made the day memorable. Pictures are where you’d expect to find them.

6/13 Train to Basingstake from Waterloo

We’re taking this train to Basingstake, where we’ll switch for a train to Salisbury, where we’ll head off to see Stonehenge..

A man just walked by with a camouflage shirt that read “You Can’t See Me” on it Joel and I found it very funny.

Thus far this morning has been uneventful. Robb and Joel woke up and took showers (I took one last night.) They woke me up as they were headed to breakfast.. so they ate while I woke up and got ready.

Then we walked to the Underground station, and made our way to Waterloo… Waterloo had the train station, and our 10:03 train didn’t exist.. so we’re taking the train to Basingstake to catch a different train to Salisbury.

The train has just started moving, and apparently we’re right next to the Parliament building and Big Ben and all that, so that’s kinda kewl. I don’t see my bullet building yet though.

6/13 Train to Basingstake from Salisbury.

We’re leaving Salisbury now, on our way back to Basingstake, to catch a train from there to Oxford.

stonehnege We arrived in Salisbury, and quickly got tickets for a bus to Stonehenge. The bus ride took about 25 minutes, and then boom, out in the middle of wide open green fields was Stonehenge. Honestly… it was smaller than I expected… but otherwise very kewl to see [It had a lot of that “Wow, this is really famous” feel to it]. Included in the admission ticket was a “free” audio tour device thinger.. where you press numbers and hit play when you reach certain numbered signs… They had similar things at the Roman Bath in Bath. The information was interesting, and the site itself is indeed impressive. After taking many many pictures, and touring around the entire circle (they don’t let you walk up to it at all.. you are confined to a walkway that circles around it.), we then laid out in the grass for a while, enjoying what is by far the nicest day of the trip: Sunny, warm, and blue everywhere.

Right before we left, we asked this group of people (a family) if they’d take our picture by the thing, group photoand the father obliged (taking 0 pictures with Joel’s camera [prolly clicked but did not hold the button] and one not terrific but passing photo with mine.) they had just flown in today, and were from El Paso Texas. They were headed on to France after England, and had rented a car, as the train was deemed to expensive. We shall see when they start buying gas…

With Stonehenge complete and our bus leaving, we took off, and returned to the station. URC We then set out on foot towards the Cathedral… on the way we hit a smaller church that for a short time we thought might have been it [similar architectural style, but in far miniature proportions, it turned out.] It was, in fact, a United Reformed Church… but not the kind of URC we know in the States, as we found upon reading the sign.

A short ways further and we were at the real cathedral. Cathedral Very tall, and very impressive, and like every other church or building in Europe, it was under construction/renovation/restoration. we walked in, and there was a choir rehearsing for a performance this evening. They sounded like you’d expect a large choir to sound in a giant Cathedral.. and their voices along with the organ echoes throughout the entire building.. adding a real atmosphere as I toured around looked at all the monuments and tombstones lining the floor, and stained glass lining the walls. I thought they sounded quite good, and the choir master was pretty funny as he berated them repeatedly [in what I assumed to be a English way of encouraging them to obey his instruction]

We headed out from there, and headed back to the station, and found the train we needed. We headed to the platform (#2) and there was a train waiting.. We asked the dudes if this was the one headed to Brimstoke, and he said “yeah, but there’s another train coming.”

We took that to mean that there was another train that was going to arrive, and apparently link up with this one or something. So we waited… and waited…

Eventually, the other train arrived.. and it pulled up to the first train, and stopped a few feet short of it.. and the doors opened, and a flood of people jumped out, and all headed to the other train in front, that had been sitting there. We stood confused, then headed along with them.. and asked the dude as we were passing if the other train was going to link up to this one, and he said no. Seems like some sort of communication breakdown occurred there somewhere… I’m going to blame “cultural misunderstanding”

6/13 Train to Salisbury

So here’s something for you: The train we took from Basingstake to Salisbury was quite, quite full.. as in people standing in the aisles full. We managed to get a table, so we had 3 seats plus one empty. Well eventually a family showed up, and the mom told the daughter to sit by us (Isabella).. She did, for a second, then the mom tried to find a seat for her son, to no avail… so she told her son (Walker) to sit where Isabella was sitting, and Isabella was to sit on his lap. Isabella was having none of that. So eventually Walker was sitting across from me (and by Robb), and Mom and Isabella and Dad were standing.. then the father of another family sitting across the aisle gave p his seat for Isabella. Walker then tried to give up his seat for the man, or for his mom.. but mom told him to sit back down.

So the seating arrangements have been decided..

Somehow Joel and I got on the conversation of injuries and scars… Joel had a mark on his arm and he didn’t know where it had come from. That lead to a back and forth of “I got this mark from this..” yada yada.. Joel mentioned the scar on his chin, and this Walker kid suddenly pops in “that’s what happened to my sister…” and told the story of Isabella doing something or other, and cutting her chin to the bone, and blood everywhere and all that. A short back and forth and all was finished. Joel got out his 50 pence piece and began doing the flippy thing (from pointer to pinky and under and again).. I asked about it,a nd he showed me how to do it,a nd I began trying to do it, with limited but growing success. Joel mentioned trying to do it with a quarter, and soon Walker was coming up with all sorts of things he should try (from smaller and smaller coins to larger, more impractical items like cameras and water bottles. Soon Walker was suggesting we take giant plates…. and then saying we should smash the plates on peoples (eventually Robb’s) head… and then poke holes in white horses and sell them as zebras.. and these horses could jump and bite off people’s hair.. and we could plant little explosives in people’s noses that would blow up a quarter of their brains….

That kid had quite the imagination, and no fear of speaking.. a lot.

Story Over!

6/13 Train to London Paddington

It’s the end of the day, and I am s-t-u-f-f-e-d. We just finished our tour of Oxford. Truth be told, there wasn’t that much to see in Oxford, save for the buildings, which were kinda kewl. bikes It was just sorta neat to be in Oxford, see the people, the area, and the buildings and all that. So it was kewl. There were bikes all over the place.. tons of them. We walked around the town for a good bit, and saw a bunch of buildings.. then headed in to this really nice looking bar/restaurant for dinner. Meanwhile, all the streets were empty… France was to play england in the Euro 2004 Football dealie… So everyone was either at home or at the Pub to watch the game. We, meanwhile had *delicious* meals (Roast Lamb for Robb and myself. Roast Turkey for Joel.) I also had some fried mushrooms for a starter, and We all enjoyed a giant ice cream for dessert. Joel and I had a pint of John Smith. which was freaking good.

So we ate, and ate, and ate, and stuffed ourselves all proper like.. Then we decided to head on out. As we walked, these young girls at least one of which appeared quite drunk, asked us the score of the France England game. We said we didn’t know .. and the drunk girl said “oh… You aren’t French are you?” “Um.. no” “You better fucking not [babbling drunk talk, which I assume to mean “you’d better not be French”]”

We kept on walking, and came to a corner where you could see the game through the window… and it looked like someone scored .. but I did not see who.

We made it to another Pub in time to see what looked like a penalty shot or something…. and it looked like France had scored… and won? not sure, but it looks like they did.

With that done, we made sure to look sad and depressed as we made it back to the station…. We hopped on the train,a nd now we’re headed home.

Tomorrow is [hopefully] Westminster Abbey, the changing of the guard, then the trip to the airport->Boston->Washington D.C. ->Chicago->My Parents house -> sleep -> My house. And there was much rejoicing.

We’ve decided that the girls in England seem to break the “If you can’t pull off the bare midriff shirt thing, don’t wear it.. ever” rule a ton more than in the states.. Seriously, there was a group of girls at the other platform that easily could have taken the flesh that hung out in that stomach area, and put it together to form another 2 or 3 people… It was.. well, it was nasty. ?

I hate Joel and Robb.

Joel must die.

Joel will not shut up.

[Note: they were making fun of me.]

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