Bath, but no Shower

London Day 3–Bath but no Shower

Today was day trip day, and I could not have been happier about leaving London. I’m not going to lie, I don’t really like it here. So a trip to Bath seemed like just the thing. And it was–but for a few minor details.

I think the problem with a trip of this nature is that when you look forward to it for so long, and then it sucks, it really, REALLY sucks. Imagine being pregnant for nine months and then giving birth to a duck-billed platypus. Yeah–that’s kind of what this is like.

Bath was nice. The train ride there was great, the town is poke-your-eyes-out beautiful–you literally could close your eyes and snap a photo, and it would look like a postcard. We arrived very early–after waking up insanely early (who sets the alarm for 4:45am on a vacation? I do) which meant we beat the day trip bus crowds. The town was all but empty when we arrived, and we took our time figuring out the lay of the land, and visiting the tourist information center. We booked a three hour tour with some crappy tour company (because Mad Max tours NEVER returned an email) for Stonehenge, and then set off to explore Bath and have lunch before the 1:00 departure for Salisbury.

This was probably my favorite part of the day–wandering around Bath, snapping pictures, and admiring how damn quaint everything was. We had sandwiches for brunch at an impossibly tiny little cafe, and wandered through gardens before boarding the purple bus for Stonehenge. This is where things started to go downhill.

After the hour-long kind of scary ride to Stonehenge, we were given exactly an hour to ‘explore’ the stone circle. It took me 20 minutes to use the restroom–there were two working toilets for maybe three thousand women–leaving us with 40 minutes to walk to the circle, look at it, and run back to the bus. It was a very, very stupid way to see Stonehenge, and if I knew what a nice drive it was, we would have just rented a car and gone there on our own (nevermind that my driving-stick abilities are pathetic at best, and that’s with my right hand, on the right side of the street).

Though, to be fair, the tour guide was very nice. The drive was amazing–I took dozens of pictures from the tour bus, as we were driving through really beautiful countryside. And I got to see Stonehenge, which was something I’ve wanted to do since I was old enough to spell the word.

We then returned to Bath and checked out the actual Roman Baths–which was great and resulted in maybe 150 photos–and then had dinner (where they only pureed half of it–the English do love their blenders) . We retired to a pub to wait for our train home, which was such a miserable experience that I’d really rather not write about it (the train ride, not the pub. All pubs are great) . Who takes the train from Bath to London at 10pm on Friday?, I stupidly wondered. The answer–every single drunken idiot in the whole of the UK. They were ALL on the train. All of them.

Now, I realize that most of the people who read this do not know me in real life, but if you did, you’d know that I don’t publicly transport very well. In fact, I hate public transportation with a passion. I live closer to work than most people in the world live to the bus or train they take every day–and I DRIVE to work.

But still, public transport would be great–if it worked. But, it seems, very little actually works in London. At least on the weekends. Half of the tube lines are closed tomorrow and Sunday, leaving us with two options–walk MILES to get anywhere, or take insanely expensive cabs (insanely expensive equals 23 pounds for a 20 minute ride home from the train station–almost $40)

Oh–and speaking of not working, I bet you are wondering why I’m writing this at 2:23am instead of sleeping. Well, you see, I’m awake waiting to pack up all of our things and move hotels in the middle of the night. It seems that our very nice–but very poorly placed hotel (see rant above about transportation) is having a problem with the water. So we don’t have any. Can’t wash our hands, flush the toilet, take a shower–nothing. And if anyone knows me, I need a flushing toilet. And if anyone is a human being, they need a shower after a 16 hour day trip.

I honestly hate to write such negative things about the best day we’ve had so far, but really, the pace we are keeping up is really wearing on me. I do not work this hard at actual work. And, a lot of the time, at actual work, I have more fun. And I don’t have to wait in a giant line to pay $1 to use the restroom.

We’ve been gone for five days, and I’m so insanely tired and frustrated that I’m really starting to wish that we’d spent our time and money on some sort of all-inclusive resort somewhere with blender drinks and white sand. And anyone who knows me in real life knows what a very bold statement that really is.

I fully realize the remedy for my ill-mood: more sleep, less break-neck speed sightseeing. We’ve already scaled down our plans considerably (after realizing I’d not worked eating or transportation into the plan) but now we have to take it down yet another notch. We’ve decided to limit our ‘doing stuff’ to two things per day, and our awake hours to no more than 18 hours per day. Getting by on 3 hours of sleep, and seeing all of southwestern England in one day is a bit too much–even for me.

Doug is looking forward to leisurely days eating cheese and drinking wine in the parks of Paris. And despite my original aversion to that plan, it is sounding pretty good right about now.

EDIT–Since I started writing this, the water issue was fixed, and I am about to take a much needed shower. Thank the gods!

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4 responses to “Bath, but no Shower

  1. Hi there, it’s me from the RS HelpLine.

    Sorry to hear about the succession of problems you’ve been experiencing on your trip. I also stay in the London Victoria area, and it’s a wonderful part of the city. Hopefully you’ll decide to give that as well as Bath another try in future.

    It’s odd that Mad Max didn’t reply to your E-mails, but it’s possible they’re extremely busy at this time of year, and not able to keep up with E-mails?

    I hope that your “travel experience” improves on the remainder of your trip.

    • ken–thanks for the words of encouragement. we chose to actually sleep more than four hours last night, so hopefully today will be better (if shorter). i think i’m mainly frustrated with how difficult it is to get around–with this weekend’s tube closures, there’s basically no option of us using the tube, given where our hotel is.

  2. Hi- I’m from the RS Helpline, too. Sorry to hear you aren’t enjoying London. Just wanted to let you know that when the tube is down you can use your Oyster Card on the buses it is good for them, too. You don’t have to use cabs. We have been in London more than 40 times, and the only time we ever used a cab was to get to the airport on july 7 after the bombings (tube, buses, trains, everything was shut down- talk about scary and frustrating). Feel free to contact me if I can help with sorting out london for you. Some folks on the helpline have made some good suggesstions for you- Greenwich, Kew Gardens, Regents’s Park Zoo, etc. as places to slow down a bit and relax.

    • toni–thanks for the encouragement. sadly, we made no attempts to figure out the bus system (we don’t even have a bus map–and i thought i had this so well planned out!) i told my husband that all london guide books should read, in big bold letters, on the cover, THE TUBE DOES NOT REALLY WORK ON THE WEEKENDS. maybe that’s my million dollar idea 😉 we’ve sort of resigned ourselves to cabs–which fortunately are easier to get (and nicer and cleaner and a better all around experience) than in the states. and we did go to greenwich today–blog on that to come asap. thanks again for your reassurance!

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