While Tom headed off to his conference, I went to the All England Tennis Club, home of the Wimbledon Championships. I've never been able to get a ticket during the tournament, but there are daily tours available. I loved walking the hallowed grounds and hope to return some day to watch the matches.
The tour started outside Centre Court - seemed perfect to me!
|home of so many famous matches|
|Centre Court with royal box in wood on far end|
Centre Court isn't nearly as big as I expected - so much smaller than Arthur Ashe stadium in NYC. A top row seat wouldn't be awful.
|I love this topiary even though it needs a trim|
|court 18 - home of the marathon Isner vs Mahut match|
|outside courts are much closer together than I expected|
|obligatory post match interview|
|BBC broadcast booth - I've seen this often on TV|
The museum is similar to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, but of course, all focused on Wimbledon lore.
|everything tennis at tea time|
|I'll be back!|
After listening to the tour guide, I understand more about how to get a ticket to the championships. I will definitely try to get back there during the tournament.
For my next stop, I headed over to Kew Gardens which had been recommended by a British friend.
|Victoria Gate - closest entrance to Kew Gardens Underground Station|
Not surprisingly, the interior of the Palm House was very warm and humid. The pretty stairs called to me, but going up them brought me to an even more uncomfortable climate. I did not linger!
Since I was at Kew Gardens without Tom, I took the opportunity to visit the giant bee hive. He would not have wanted to go inside. Its purpose is to bring more awareness to the importance of bees. There were no real bees, but the sound of a bee hive was simulated. Buzzzzz.....
|it is huge|
|looking at the top while standing inside the hive|
Kew Gardens plants specific varieties to help provide food for bees.
|some waterlilies are tall!|
This is just a bit of the Great Broad Walk Borders - I think it is supposed to demonstrate how we could create lovely borders in our own gardens. I will not try this. I do not think I can afford the staff required!
|ready to start|
There were many familiar tunes, but I managed not to sing along. I did glare at someone in the row behind us who had less self control.
First stop, Windsor Castle.
|castle as we approach|
|at the entrance to Windsor Castle|
|aerial view - this is a big place!|
Windsor Castle is supposedly the Queen's favorite. How are we to know if that's true or if we should challenge the tour guide? Do we really care?
|there are always guards doing their thing|
No pictures were allowed inside the castle. I rolled my eyes, I'm sure, and bought the souvenir booklet so I could scan some interior pictures and include them here.
|I had to have a picture of the king's bedchamber complete with crown on the bed|
|Grand Reception Room|
|St. George's Chapel|
|some of the fanciest organ pipes I've ever seen!|
|shopping area at the Windsor station|
As we walked through the Windsor station, I found it amusing how the tour guide pointed out how to get back to London. He was adamant about the meeting time back at the bus and that the bus would not wait for latecomers. No one tested him.
|exterior of Roman baths|
|Cathedral of Bath|
Finally, we made it to the last and most important stop of the tour, Stonehenge. The prehistoric monument may have been a burial ground, but details are unclear. Whatever its purpose, the builders knew how to move huge rocks large distances without mechanical devices. (I suspect slaves were involved and many died in the process.) The sun direction on both the winter and summer solstices makes it clear that the architects also had a expert knowledge of the earth's rotation.
|stones are much larger than humans|
Placing the horizontal stone on top of the vertical stones looks impossible!
With the three stops, it was a long day with a lot of ground covered, but well worth it. I expect we'll be back to London, but Bath and Stonehenge are officially "done".