UK Wanderings: Castles to Stonehenge and Bath to London

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The eagerness of young Europeans to learn English is immediately apparent upon staying in London. French. Italians. Germans. They have come to perfect their speaking and are looking for flats. I lost count of how many I met. Ten? Twenty? Who knows.

“Oh you’re looking for a flat? Come to learn English,” I say for the fifth time.

The consensus among this crowd and everyone else who was moving to the UK was that everyone wants to come to London.

“I’m looking for a flat. Have come to London to learn English!” I hear for the eleventh enthusiastic time.

By around the eighteenth time I could almost look at someone and just say: “Let me guess. You’re from Europe, and you’ve come here to learn English, yes?”

They might look at me with a bit of confusion and say something like “Sorry…. could you….. more slowly say?”

Might as well just shorten things to: “Let me guess, you’ve come here to learn English, and you’re looking for a flat. I already know THAT, but where are you from?”

By shortening this I’ve maybe saved us all some time and we can go discover the latest museum exhibit, walking tour or pub.

The Wagamama chain restaurant as well as Marks and Spencer’s take way section were two convenient ways to nourish, and I have many good memories of parking myself with take out to view the mess of people traffic downtown. London really is a feast for the traveller’s eyes.

Dalhousie Castle

Two friends exchanged vows during their civil union ceremony at a castle south of Edinburgh in Scotland. The grounds were preened to perfection. This was my first lesbian wedding and first castle wedding.

Golden swaying wheat fields on rolling hills out front welcomed you to the grounds.

A stained glass window leaks light from the sky into the chapel, and the library was serviced with a bar, woodsmoke fireplace and littered with books from the ages of great literary minds. The management’s handling of the wedding, and the guest experiences as a whole was done with an organized degree of class. A falconry out back housed owls and falcons. The day of the ceremony, the falcons were grumpy, but we were allowed to have owls fly to our hand and eat a small meat chunk paid by the avian handler.

Druids at Stonehenge

Druids wearing cloaks and peaked hoods chanted a low pitched song in a circle at the edge of the pathway before the final part of the Stonehenge trail. The wind was viscously whipping through my denim jacket and destroying all attempts at hair control. I fastened my toque as I wandered around the Stonehenge monument from the beginning where you pass by within a few meters of the structure then at other angles were you stand back to observe the structure from far.

Tourists come from all over to view and explore this site. My travel mate Shauna from BC was particularly interested in the energy of the site. The only energy that I noticed in particular was that of the cold wind and the sound of the Druids chanting which seemed to warm the cool October chill on the breeze.

Tales of the creation of Stonehenge play on multiple headsets as tourists daydream and marvel at the myth, mystery and legends behind how these structures came to be.

Bath

Seeing the town of Bath by bus tour allowed a short escape from London’s pace. The town is centered around Roman baths and has some fantastic architectural sites to view such as a semi-circle, and full on circle of townhouses.

You could go into great depth in historical facts or simply wander, taking in the design and feel of the place.

Temple Church

The legend of the Knights Templar can be explored at Temple Church in London. Protection of the Holy Grail? The old bankers of England and the Royal lineage? Lots to unearth around the mystery and history here.

Good luck finding the entrance, though. It’s rather a bit a of a jaunt through weird alleys and unmarked areas.

A secret pegasus symbol engraved on stone panels indicate you’re on the right path.

Attending the service on Sunday morning is a good way to experience the deep resonating acoustics of the choir and building.

A London Evening

Piccadilly Circus was alive with busses, cars, traffic and people everywhere. Neon lit signs energized the sky as you walked through the scene. It truly was a circus on this night, though likely no different from many other nights. London attracts a constant throng of tourists , especially Piccadilly Circus.

It’s hard to imagine living in London, as much as I appreciated being able to have an urban, social, and cultural experience with some however-many-million other London-ers on their various routes to work, lunch, shopping or pubs.

Perhaps I’ll return one day, in a different state then the “single traveller” lifestyle and experience something very different. With London, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you choose to spend your time on. Amazing entertainment. World class museums. Classy pubs. Super efficient public transport systems.

London has something different in store for everyone… just hold onto your hat and don’t pay attention to that person that slams into you as they exit the tube. They’re just on their way somewhere very quickly.

Aren’t you? This is London!

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