Anyway, Gary and Isa had hired a minivan to cart us around in, and whisked us off to our hotel in London. We spent the rest of the day trying to stay awake. They took us to the London Eye…a giganamous Ferris Wheel that towers over the Thames. We went on a walking tour of the old city, complete with the houses of parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square (where Gary lectured Adventure Boy mercilessly on the exploits of Lord Horatio Nelson), Westminster Abby, Piccadilly Circus, etc.
We were seriously draggy-assed by the time they dropped us back at our hotel, arraigned a meeting place/time in the morning, and allowed us to trundle off to bed.
By the time you convert liters to gallons and dollars to pounds, you find that gas prices in Britain approach $8/gallon.
Needless to say, we did NO unnecessary driving while in Britain, and that was just fine as British food is made of the four basic pillars of salt, fat, carbs and beer. The more walking, the better.
Day two of London consisted of watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (accompanied by much eye-rolling and sarcasm regarding “tourists” from Gary and Isa). Grasshopper and I made an ill-fated search for a public restroom, and in the course of our wanderings ended up walking on the sidewalk next to the relief guards on their parade rout from their barracks up to the palace. I was actually shocked at how few people were on the sidewalk bordering the street they march on. Needless to say, we got a very good opportunity to see the guards.
After that, we took a boat tour of the Thames, and a trip to Greenwich for a tour of the Royal Observatory and to get our pictures taken on the Zero Meridian. At the observatory, Rocky elevated Geeking Out to an Olympic sport as we explored the intersections of the histories of Astronomy, Timekeeping, and Maritime Navigation.
Of course, care had to be taken to make sure that part of our public transport experience included a ride on a double-decker bus. Adventure Boy insisted on it.
Day three, Tower of London and a drive to Plymouth. We stopped at Stonehenge on the way. The park was closed, but we were still very close to it as we stood alongside the road. We could actually touch one of the outer ring stones through the chain-link fence. The park had closed early because some druids were there doing a ceremony. We watched that for a while and as exotic and strange as it might sound to be watching a Druid ceremony in a holy site that is at least 5000 years old, the thing that really struck me was, church is…church. Robes, chants, singing, symbols, rituals, ministers…check, check, check, check, check and…uh…yep...Check. They even had packets of paper that looked like they might be orders of worship. I mean sure, it’s no Book of Common Prayer, or Lutheran Green Hymnal, but now you’re just splitting hairs.