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First post of the New Year!

Had a nice Christmas at home with the family. Spent a full week with my parents. I think that may be the first time since I moved to Atlanta 6 years ago. Every trip home that was very long usually included a trip to see other family…
Still, it was very nice.

Have finally made the booking for my accomodations in London for April. I had thought very serious about staying in a hostel. Given that I’m traveling alone, it seemed like a good plan for meeting others. But where the idea of sleeping in a room with others didn’t bother me that much, I wasn’t 100% sure about the whole bathroom/shower thing. So, there you are. I won’t say never. Maybe on a longer trip sometime, I might sneak a hostel in for a night or two to experiment, but I was a bit wary about staying my whole trip in one. So, I’m now booked at the Boulevard Hotel. It’s located very near to the Paddington Tube station at the edge of central London. By all accounts I’ve heard/read, it should be safe and convenient enough.

I’m also trying to work out my itinerary a bit. I don’t want to slavishly plan every minute of my time, but I do want a game plan and to be able to make the most out of my time there. I’m fairly certain I’m going to see Stonehenge now. There are a couple of tours to see it that I’m trying to decide between. The first option is only on the afternoon of the day I arrive. The second option I could do any of the remaining three days. Option 1 – to not only see the stones but to be able to walk amongst them – while they are normally off limits because of the destruction caused by tourists past. This is an evening tour and Stonehenge is the only stop. It leaves at 1pm, which is before I can even check into my hotel. So, I’ve a couple of things to decide or find out. First, any chance of either checking in early or checking my baggage with the hotel? I’ve sent an e-mail inquiry to discover that. The second is a decision between the two not entirely similar options. Option 2 is a full day trip, which includes stops at Windsor Castle, Bath, and a couple of other places in addition to Stonehenge. So, up close and personal with 5,000 years of history or a smorgasbord of English history? I’m really having a hard time with this decision. We shall see.

So, what else is on the trip? At least one stop at the Tower of London. Maybe two if I’m lucky enough to procure a ticket to the Ceremony of the Keys for one of the nights I’m in London. I want to see the Changing of the Guard if I can and at least get to see Big Ben (although probably from the top of a double-decker bus – I’m not that keen on seeing Parliament itself. The British Museum is on the list, maybe an art gallery. I’ve been told by several that the Portobello Market could be quite fun one morning during the weekend. Maybe I’ll find something neat or typically British? I also figure on doing something organized one evening, such as a walking tour, maybe this medieval banquet thing I read about (a friend told me it’s fun but high on the cheese factor), or a pub crawl or Jack The Ripper tour?

Four days. That’s it. And the more I read, the more I don’t think I can only go this once, but I’ll sure treat it like my one and only shot at exploring someplace I’ve always wanted to visit.

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