Then what happened?
We got on a bus and allowed it to whisk us away to the countryside for a day.
After watching Cranford for like the 20th time, I realized that I was going to be sad if I went all the way to England and never left the city for the countryside, so I booked us a day trip to Bath and the surrounding neighborhood with a bus tour group.
I was a little worried about getting on a bus with a bunch of strangers, and the possibility of the tour guide being a source of nonstop irritation and bad jokes, but in the end all my fears were unfounded. I was so glad to get out into the country for the day, the other folks on the bus kept very nicely to themselves (so civil of them), and our tour guide, Phil, was hilarious, kind, and full of entertaining and informative stories. Also, he smelled nice. More about Phil later.
First stop was Bath.
The bus dropped us off at the Abbey in the center of town. The idea was that we would follow the rest of the gang into a tour of the Roman Baths next door, then get turned loose for lunch and/or shopping as we desired.
But as it turned out, Melissa and I were both starving and itching to explore Bath on our own, so we ducked out of the guided tour (sorry, Phil!) and went off in search of lunch.
We found the sweetest little cafe, just across the alley from the more famous Jenny Lunn cafe, in a little courtyard. Pretty sure it was actually called the Courtyard Cafe, in fact. And they had the best scones and tea that we had the whole time we were in England. Phenomenal.
From there, we scampered up the hill to find the various bits of architecture that we needed to see, including the Circus and the Royal Crescent:
And then made out way back down the hill to the Abbey, where our bus was waiting to take us away to our next stop. We actually came pretty close to missing the bus altogether, we were having so much fun snapping pics along the way.
Just like Catherine Morland, I found myself enjoying Bath ever so much.
And yes, it does remind one of the South of France.
We were very sad to have to leave after such a short visit. Next time, we might have to spend a few days in Bath alone.
But we dried our tears and climbed back on the bus, bound for Salisbury Cathedral.
Again, we were offered a guided tour. This time, we took advantage of it. Phil — our very nattily attired tour guide — gave us a delightful tour of the interior of the cathedral. Here’s Phil telling us about the oldest clock in England, or something — I’m not really sure, I was too captivated by Phil’s dapper linen three-piece suit and straw fedora.
Seriously, Phil was a great tour guide. I’d go so far as to seek him out as a guide again — specifically request him from the good folks at Evan Evans tours the next time around.
If you are lucky enough to secure Phil’s services, be sure to ask him to tell you about his family, and how very much they resemble pirates.
At the end of the tour, we were deposited back at Victoria Station. It was a short walk from there to the neighborhood of our hotel, so we poked around a bit looking for a place to eat before retiring for the evening, and ended up at a terrific little place right on Whitehall called The Clarence. Dining room on the second floor, and for some reason — on a Friday night no less — we had it all to ourselves.
Which was good, since we were a little tired and silly by that time.