London Travel Blog› entry 30 of 34 › view all entries
I am beyond tired right now. I stayed up last night until 2:30 uploading my pictures from my busy day yesterday. This site is so ridiculously slow, yahoo photos and webshots were never ever ever this slow. I'm starting to get frustrated.
I then woke up at 5:00 to wish Mom happy birthday at midnight in Maryland (Happy birthday again!) I was kind of delirious and I don't really remember much, but I do remember not being able to close the front door, I think I was that tired. I think I kind of slammed it. Oh well, I don't really care.
Then it was up again at 8:00 for our little daytrip to Oxford and Stratford Upon Avon. I have to start by saying, I didn't realize what Oxford was like.
Just like the last trip we had a tour guide on the bus, this time a female. And just like last time she talked and talked and talked and made it very difficult to nap/read. And unlike last time her stories were pretty boring and I really wanted her to just stop talking. I felt kind of mean about trying to block her out, but her stories really weren't interesting and I thought it was pretty clear that we didn't really care all that much. But it's her job, so I guess she had no choice.
In general, I think I enjoyed the trip to Stonehenge and Bath more than today's trip. When we went to Stonehenge we maybe spent an hour there because that's how long our audio tour was. But there was no need to stay any longer than that; I felt satisfied when I got on the bus. When we went to Oxford we also had a small amount of time--maybe an hour and 15 minutes--and I definitely didn't feel satisfied when I left. The campus was beautiful: amazing architecture, gorgeous lawns, cute shops.
I got two more pashminas (one navy blue, one light pink) while I was there... I'm officially addicted. There were like 5 stands with pashminas in ever color of the rainbow. It was so hard not buying every single one. I feel justified in getting them here because 1. they're actually cheaper than in the US. In Little Italy they're usually $10 but here it's two for 5 pounds, so they wind up costing only $5 each. And 2. if anybody says "ooh, I like your scarf where'd you get it" I can say "oh, I got it in England.
There was this cool little castle a bit away from the bus that my suitemate and I stumbled upon. They actually had castle and dungeon tours... I so wish we were staying longer because I totally would have toured the dungeons. But there was no time. (Sad face)
I'm trying to think what else we did and nothing else is really standing out. Went into a few gift shops, but--again--England tourist shops suck. Took photos of old buildings. Wished I had more time. I think that pretty much sums up the hour or so I spent at Oxford.
Then it was on the bus again. And tour guide yapping again. We were on our way to Stratford, birthplace of William Shakespeare. Our tour guide (being a bit informative for once.
Side note on the cottage. When my suitemate heard we were going to Anne Hathaway's cottage she thought we were going to the home of the American actress, best known for The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada. That amused for quite a while.
So, yes, we went to Shakespeare's wife's home (not to be confused with Princess Amelia/Andy's home) which was hmm what's the word I'm looking for. Ah, yes.
So we saw the parlor, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. They were pretty barebones... had some originial furniture, beds, but other than that it was just a series of poorly decorated rooms.
Another tangent: apparently one of the guys in the program (one of the nicest people here in my opinion) is actually a decendent of Anne Hathaway. Mom, Dad, am I related to somebody famous? Because that would be kinda awesome. I wish I were the decedent of someone big and important. Like Jesus. Or Oprah.
Then off to downtown Stratford Upon Avon. As soon as we got on the bus--literally, the second we got on--it started pouring. Great, I thought, we're gonna have to walk around some town in the rain for a couple hours. But my good luck is back again because by the time we got off the bus it was nice and sunny again.
Stratford reminded me a bit of Bath, but I just liked Bath a little better. I thought there was more to see there and the houses were a little more beautiful. But it was still pretty in Stratford. The town, at least in my opinion, was pretty two dimensional. They're milking the whole William Shakespeare angle for all they got. Cuz that's really all they got. I took photos of a couple of the shops that pun on some of the Bard's play. They're so bad they're good.
We had more time in Stratford than in Oxford--I'd say closer to two hours. Kinda wish they were reversed... there was more to do in Oxford, at least in my eyes. There were less tourist shops in Stratford and more residential areas creeping up on the touristy areas.
Just like at Oxford we wandered around, pretty much going in circles. Saw William Shakespeare's birthplace (but sure as hell didn't pay the 6 pound fee to go inside). Saw his school, too. And that was pretty much all to see. Except of course for this monumental, historical eatery right in the middle of a row of beautiful houses. I bet William Shakespeare once dined in the very place! It was across from his school after all. And it was called... Pizza Hut.
Yea, one of the worst things about these small British towns.
Got some fudge again, but definitely not as good as last tme. It wasn't rich or creamy and didn't taste particularly chocolate peanut buttery. Some bites even tasted stale. I was very disappointed; I've never had a bad fudge experience. I really thought its creamy goodness could do me no wrong. I'll just have to save my desires for Ocean City. Woooo, I cannot wait. You can see where my mind/heart is right now.
Again... racking my brain out trying to think of things we did in Stratford.
I'm glad I went on the daytrip, even though it may seem like I'm not.
1. I wanted to get my/my parent's money's worth. Get as much out of my $900 activity fee as couple
2. I was able to enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors
3. I got out of London, which I enjoyed
4. I was able to see these places to be able I saw them.
I am a little bitter, though; I just wish we had more time to explore the areas. I felt the clock ticking and felt the stress of remembering where the bus was that I didn't feel comfortable really going far away and exploring the area as much as I could.
On the way back to London there was (finally) some peace and quiet. Because only 12 or so of us were on the trip (even though 30 people signed up... slackers) everyone got their own set of two seats. So I was able to curl up and rest on the two seats. I was in one of those half-awake-half-asleep dazes for well over an hour. I could hear the third Matrix movie in the background (um, sounded/looked like the worse piece of crap ever). And I could hear random thoughts going through my head. So I was awake. But I was also sleep. Uncomfortably, too. When I finally sat up half of my body was completely dead. I just like limped over, I was so stiff.
When we arrived back home (psh, not home, back to the dorm) I went to the supermarket before heading upstairs. I've realized that when I go home I am going to go absolutely food crazy (I know, I know, it seems like I'm going food crazy here since I write about food so much, but truth is I'm dying and any half decent food experience is a dear diary moment for me). There are so many things I miss not just in terms of American food, but also in terms of Ocean City specific food. So, I'm basically going to go mad.
So, in preperation for my upcoming food fest I need to watch what I eat here.
1. I've been eating calorically empty food that doesn't fill me up. So I've been eating more and getting less satisfaction.
2. When I go out somewhere and need a little snack the only things I like are the unhealthy options (muffn, cookie) so I'm forced into getting junk. I know that sounds wonderful, but it's not... All I really crave is actually filling food. No more sweets! I'm all sweet-ed out.
So, back to the diet. It shouldn't be too hard because our kitchen is so disgustingly filthy that I don't even want to cook here anymore.
But now I need to stop thinking about food because it's only making me sad/depressed/angry at stupid Brits and their stupid food.