OK, so we woke up Thursday morning and had breakfast at the hotel. They had a breakfast buffet that included grilled tomatoes (delicious at breakfast) and mushrooms cooked with butter, I think (really delicious!) as well as the usual fried and scrambled eggs, bacon (didn't look like ours but tasted like it), cereal, and so on. No grits. I know, you're shocked. Dressed warmly and headed out to the bus stop. We had to be at the tour place at Victoria Station right after lunch so we had some time to find it.
Right away we got on the bus going the wrong direction. And this is something that kept tripping me up for most of our trip: One intellectually knows that the traffic flow is not in the direction one expects, but somehow it's hard to realize all of the ways the traffic flow helps us orient ourselves and figure out where we are and where we are going. So we rode that bus for a while and eventually asked someone, and wound up at a train station well away from where we needed to be. Were standing around with furrowed brow trying to match it up to our map and figure out what to do, when a friendly man came up and said "you look lost". He took our map and showed us where we were, and what we would have to do, so we went inside to buy tickets.
I walked up to the woman at the window and said, "I have no idea what we're doing." (This seemed to be a recurring theme.) She thought that was funny and had a good laugh, and told us how to get where we were going. We couldn't use our Oyster cards and so had to buy tickets, and she told us to go ahead and buy a day's worth of travel because that would be more cost-effective.
Looking at F, she said. "How old is your daughter?"
When I responded, "Twenty-five," she jumped.
"Bless her," she murmured. And this is also a recurring theme, through F's life so far. Everyone thinks she's five to ten years younger than she is. They think that of me too, inexplicably, but it's nicer when you're past fifty and people think late thirties. At her age it's not so nice.
Anyway, we rode the train in to Victoria Station and found the tour office (eventually, after a couple of phone calls), and then had a little time to look around. There's an Underground stop there as well as a bus stop, and the station itself is like a mall inside with places to shop and eat and so on. But you have to pay 30 pence to go into the loo (the signs say "toilet" which strikes F and me as being a bit rude). We did a little souvenir shopping and had lunch, and then got on the bus with our tour group for the ride to Stonehenge.
I want to take a little time to talk about that, and my cold is still bothering me and making me feel bad, so I'll stop here for now. A bunch of people at work have had a cold lately and apparently this one doubles back on you and starts over. I'm thrilled. I have to fly to Atlanta on Tuesday and can't wait for my eardrums to just totally rupture. Well, anyway.