Europe: Day 5

I, Tenille, am writing the journal entry today since Don
doesn’t have much to say about his first day of conference except that it was
long, and he’s tired. He stayed up late
last night working and writing yesterday’s journal, so he’s sleeping now. Don is a much better writer than I, but I’ll
do my best.

We set off at 8:30am on the long 2.5 hour bus ride to the
city of Bath. Along the way, we passed
by Notting Hill and other ritzy streets including the wealthiest street where
the most expensive house in London (2 apartments joined into 1) is valued at 30
million pounds! Yikes! Our tour guide informed us of other points of
interest, however I fell asleep about 30 minutes into the ride. About an hour later, we pulled into a rest

The last hour of our trip, our tour guide explained more of
the history of Bath. It has a legend as
well as a true story to it. The legend
goes that the king’s son had leprosy and as such was banned from the palace to
care for the swine in the fields. The
pigs had many sores on their backs, however he noticed one day after the pigs
had been rolling in the mud, that their sores had disappeared. He figured that it must be the mud, so he
bathed himself in the mud that was formed from the hot springs and by so doing
cured himself of the leprosy. He
returned to the palace and was welcomed with open arms and later became king.

The real story of Bath includes periods of extreme
popularity and outright neglect. In
ancient Roman times, high society enjoyed the mineral springs at Bath and paid
tribute to Minerva, goddess of the hot springs.
Eventually they were forgotten only to be put back on the map in 1687
when Queen Mary who was previously unable to bare children, became pregnant
after bathing in the baths. A few years
later Queen Anne found the water eased her gout. This news spread and with the help of John
Wood (father and son architects), Beau Nash (who organized the daily regimen of
the aristocratic visitors) and another man (whose name escapes me), the city
quickly expanded into a very fashionable
city. About 2 million people visit the
city each year to enjoy the street shopping and fun atmosphere.

After our tour of the Roman Baths, we had lunch and then were sent off to tour/shop on our
own for a little over an hour. I walked
up and down the main shopping street only to find that the prices were very
expensive. I ended up purchasing a
bubble blowing gun for Caleb (3 pnds), a thermos cooler for Caleb’s milk cup (1
pnd), plastic plates for Caleb (1 pnd), and 2 cool looking shells for one pound
each. Maybe I’m being too cheap, but I
see the same things that I can buy in the US except at a much steeper price, so
I figure I’ll save my money for Rome and Paris souvenirs.

We gathered on the bus to head to dinner just outside of
London. The hotel we ate at, Great
Fosters, was absolutely magnificent. It
was built as a royal hunting lodge in 1550 AD, and has been restored into a
country hotel. The architecture was
so….well….old! The front door in and of
itself was a site to see as it was built with a small arched door inside a
larger door so as to allow only 1 person to pass through at a time. It was deliberately manufactured that way as
a defense to potential attackers. We had
a lovely dinner at a massive table that seated all 23 of us at a time with room
to spare. My favorite food were the
petit fours (pronounced “petifors”) that were served with coffee and tea. They were basically truffles in white, milk,
or dark chocolate. Yum! After dinner we gazed around the gardens and
caught a better view of the enormous building from the outside. I would have loved to tour the structure.

I had great company on the tour as I visited with 3 other
ladies, one of which is LDS and her husband is the CEO of Cumorah Credit Union
in Las Vegas. The criteria for
membership is membership in the church.
I had no idea there was such a credit union. The other two ladies are from the Midwest,
and we had a great time talking. My main
travel companion, Teresa Davies from Illinois, decided that she would try the
coffee at dinner even though she doesn’t drink coffee with the warning that she
would probably talk the whole way home as a result of the caffeine jolt. She wasn’t kidding as I “enjoyed” listening
to her for 45 minutes on the way back into London. She readily admitted that she had talked the
whole way and she joked that I would “tell my husband about the lady who talked
the whole way home.” I somewhat chuckled
but I was so tired by then that I think we both knew it was a true statement. I had such a headache from listening to her
combined with motion sickness from looking at her rather than out the front of
the bus, that I thought I was going to lose my dinner when I stepped off the
bus. I had the same sensation as when
you step off a 7-day cruise journey….except for instead of the ground appearing
to move side-to-side, the ground appeared to move up-and-down in bumps. I hurried back to our room, took a Tylenol,
and I’m feeling somewhat better. The
motion sickness has died down, but the headache is still apparent. I’m hoping sleep will take care of it. Speaking of which, it is 12:30, so I’d better
be off to sleep. Tomorrow we head to
Windsor Castle, so I’m really excited.

As for Don, his excitement for the day was that he ate some
Haggis for breakfast.

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