The morning after our arrival in London, we woke completely refreshed and ready to see some prehistoric awesomeness! We had a couple of hours to kill before picking up our bus to Stonehenge, so we walked over to Victoria Station to hang out for a while. Victoria Place Shopping Centre is a small mall area on the second level of the station and there are about two dozen shops, as well as a small food court. We spent some time in a shop called Pylones, a unique French chain that offers all kinds of funky gifts. We also stopped at a small sweet shop called Lola’s Cupcakes, where we picked up a couple of delicious treats to eat while browsing. We returned to the hotel to drop off our shopping and then walked over to the Evan Evans office.
Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, England, about two miles west of Amesbury, which is the oldest town in the country and the birthplace of history in Britain. The drive from London was just under two hours and much of route offered stunning views of the English countryside. It was a beautiful day and, despite the glare from the bus’s window, we were able to get a few great pics.
To some, Stonehenge represents one of the greatest feats of prehistoric man. For others, it’s just a bunch of rocks that you have to pay to see. For us, it was the first of many awe-inspiring experiences on the road to Rome. It’s true there is a certain energy surrounding this Neolithic marvel, and people continue to flock to the site for various reasons. Some folks believe Stonehenge was created with assistance from otherworldly beings and once you see it in person, that theory doesn’t seem so fantastic.
In most photos of Stonehenge, you don’t see the barrier that prevents visitors from getting too close to the stones and potentially damaging the site. We spent about an hour walking around this area and taking tons of pictures. The open grassland surrounding the monument provided the perfect backdrop and we took advantage of the camera’s zoom to get some amazing shots. Afterward, we visited the gift shop to pick up a few souvenirs and then treated ourselves to another pasty in the café. Before we knew it, it was time to return to London. Back at the hotel, we took 20 minutes to rest before heading out the door again. There was one more place we wanted to see before our time in London was up.
Piccadilly Circus is located in London’s West End and is a very popular tourist area. Much like New York’s Times Square or the Las Vegas Strip, seeing it for the first time is quite overwhelming! There are tons of restaurants and shops to choose from and several street performers vied for the crowd’s attention. Enormous neon signs illuminate the entire area and complement the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. After a bit of shopping, we stumbled into London’s Chinatown area, where we enjoyed the vibrant scenery and then stuffed our faces at a pretty good Chinese buffet.
Our walk back to the hotel brought us past Buckingham Palace again, and we stopped for a few more pictures before strolling down The Mall one last time. At the hotel, we packed our suitcases and wondered about the adventures that lie ahead before drifting off to sleep.
Check back soon to see what happens on Day 3 of J&J’s European adventure!