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Day trip to Southhampton
April 25, 2015 04:18
We woke up and went downstairs to get breakfast, only to find they hadn't opened the restaurant for breakfast yet, so went back upstairs to continue packing. Later we went back down again and ate, a very expensive but very good buffet breakfast. Afterwards, we returned upstairs to gather our bags and had them ported down to the hotel entrance to wait for our car.
Sal and his big black van/suv/stretch car showed up right on time at 9:00am to pick us up. From there, it was on to Heathrow to pick up the other two passengers in our little caravan. It took us a little while to find them, as we were dropped off at the Departure level and not the arrival level, so we had to walk to an elevator and walk around with a silly sign until someone recognized us. We then romped back upstairs to the car.
Finally we got on the road out of the city, most of it through very rural country backroads. The scenery was nice, but nothing too exciting. I tried taking a few pictures, but they were heavily influenced by motionblur, and so I didn't bother getting too many. We spent the couple of hours chatting with our new friends, and had a lot of fun.
Our first stop was the city of Bath, incidentally the location of a roman bath which was open for tourism. We explored the site for a few hours, then ate Pasties for lunch, which were really good and the first inexpensive food we'd had the entire trip. At the appointed time, Sal met up with us and walked us about half a mile away where he had parked, and then we were on our way.
The next stop was Stonehenge, but despite the fact that we arrived a little less than 2 hours prior to closing time, they no longer sold tours for that day. We decided to hit the gift shop and see the few other attractions they had around there, when we discovered talking to a couple of people that there was a backroad leading to a sheep pasture that we could walk across and see Stonehenge from almost the same distance that the tours were able to, and not have to pay for it.
And so that is what we did. A sign on the gate implored us to close the gate behind us so as to not let the sheep out, but otherwise we were unrestricted. It was going on dusk when we reached the stones, or at least the closest point to the stones that we were going to get. It was still a worthwhile experience. We took more pictures, and walked back to the car. Onward to our last stop for the day.
We arrived at the Holiday Inn in Southhampton and got unloaded. While trying to pay the Sal for the remainder of the cost of the ride, we were informed that he couldn't take credit cards, even though we were told in advance that we could pay for it that way. No matter, I was going to hitch a ride to the nearest ATM when we came up with a better solution. Our ridemates just paid the whole fee in pounds which they had plenty of and had no further use for after that night, and we reimbursed them with American dollars, which I had plenty of, and likewise, no use for at that point. Since our ridemates were from Flordia, they were more than happy to have a fee-free cash exchange. After checking in, I looked up the current exchange rate, subtracted the deposit that we'd already paid earlier, and settled up.
There was a small party for some of the people boarding the ship the next day, which most of the people staying at that hotel were there for, as it was right outside the gates to the port, and about a quarter mile walk to the cruise terminal. We hung out at the party for a little while, then went to bed as we were tired and had a big day ahead of us.
As it happens, this was the only hotel on the whole trip that I actually had to pay for, which came out to about $90 a night, for one night. Ironically, it was the smallest room and smallest bed we'd stayed in since the trip started. Even our cruise stateroom was larger. Also, the elevators were very small and had a very low weight limit. I myself exceeded half the weight limit for the elevator we rode in. I probably shouldn't accept that as a point of pride.