Take 2 — London Calling
Too much basketball: Bring on the history
When I first ordered tickets for the Olympics, I was warned that no one should try to do more than two sessions a day. I made it through 14 sessions (28 women’s basketball games). Halfway through the 29th qualification game, I realized I didn't care to see who won the Croatia-Turkey game. I decided to leave early. This gave me a chance to get some twilight photos in the park. The neon shows up much better in that light.
So I was a tourist on Monday. I booked a bus tour to Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford. The owners of Warwick Castle fell on hard times recently and sold their castle to the Madame Tussaud people. They have redone a lot, in a manner that would be attractive to small children. My personal favorite was the rat toss on the courtyard.
As I was strolling back to the bus, I noticed a path to Warwick town. Very old buildings, lots of cars and a modern lifestyle. Within a ten-minute stroll I found an Italian clothing store and two antique stores. I can only try to imagine what it is like to live with one foot so far in the past.
Stratford-upon-Avon was much more interesting to me. The house that Shakespeare was born in is supposed to be the draw, but watching young actors doing scenes in the courtyard pretty much made my day.
Oxford is stunning. Centuries-old buildings. History at every turn. Fabulous architecture. The dining hall that they based the one in Harry Potter on (and a staircase they actually used in the film). I wonder how long it takes the students who go there to get used to such incredible surroundings.
Alas, no more tours, but I think I picked good ones. Even the bus rides provided peeks at parts of the city and countryside I wouldn't have seen otherwise.