Monday, August 8, 2011

England Part III: Stonehenge and London

We woke early Sunday morning, kidnapped Alnis from his Čikāgas Piecīši responsibilities (see previous London post), piled into the rental car and headed south. Destination, Stonehenge. We made it from Rugby in under two hours thanks to Roberts's left-side-of-the-road driving skills, my navigation and the rest of the passengers catering to Lauris's whims in the back.

With low expectations due to Lonely Planet's description of "a ring of stones, ringed by barbed wire in a field next to a noisy main road," initial impressions were predictable. It was indeed very close to a busy road, and we joined the tourist hordes in the queue to purchase tickets. At £7.50 for adults admission could have been more expensive, but it included an audio tour gadget and brochure. The line wound around, through the tunnel under the road, and then all the way around the legendary stones. Clutching our cameras we first stared at the amount of people, but quickly diverted our attention to Stonehenge, which in reality was smaller even than it looked from the road.

A rare tourist sighted on the Stonehenge side of the rope
We knew we would not be able to approach the stones, but were surprised to get as close as we did. The imposing string of rope with small signs behind it turned out to be a blessing; it was possible to gt pictures of the stone monument without the hundreds of people visible behind. I've decided that if I ever get a chance to return to this area, I will try to book an early morning or late evening Stone Circle Access Visit when only 26 visitors are allowed to wander among the stones.

After a pit stop we hurried east, to get Alnis to the Polish house POSK back in London, on time for his rehearsal. Then we returned to the Daugavas Vanagu Fonda Londonas Nams to catch our breath before heading out to visit the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. I shouldn't have been surprised to see the queue of parents with strollers waiting to get in! Thankfully by the time Daina ordered and got ice cream cones for all the kids (and me) from the nearby cafe we were at the front of the line and strolled right in. Now I will say it; this park was the highlight of our trip.

Lauris with the crew
An enormous pirate ship, elf cabins, a "sensory trail" and even a beach area with fountains and running water, we could have spent days there. A top recommendation for any family with children, although I would try to avoid peak tourist times as we did have to wait in line. However, there was plenty of stuff to do for everyone, from Annelī (11) to Lauris (1), and we left only in search of food, the kids satisfied and pleasantly exhausted.

Dinner was another delicious affair, with fish and chips for the majority of our party. I will say, I made the most of English cuisine; between the "Codfather," normal fish and chips, vinegar on my fries, a meat pie (steak and ale), and jacket potatoes, I only lacked bangers and mash, and due to my avoidance of anything gravy-related this will have to wait. (High tea and scones with cream didn't make the menu this time either, but this is on my short list of reasons to return!)

Always room for ice cream
Back at the guest house a few postcards were written, a few games of cards played, a few kids put to bed, a few more conversations had and then it was bedtime, for everyone had early flights the next morning. Surprised at the amount of sightseeing we were able to cram into so little time, happy Lauris got to spend more time with Edgars, Andis and Annelī, and not quite ready to head back home I drifted off to sleep and dreams of big red buses...

1 comment:

  1. Vecmamma saka: Du-dūūūū puika! Labi, ka nezvanīja LIELĀ TRAUKSME!


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