June 21, 2014 ~ Southampton, Salisbury & Windsor

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Southampton to Heathrow

We had breakfast and did last minute packing and went to the Theatre on 4 at 7 am. We signed up with International Friends for a tour to Salisbury, Stonehenge and Windsor on our way to the Ibis Hotel at Heathrow Airport for 150 Pounds. We can’t go to Stonehenge because it is the summer solstice and will be a madhouse. We didn’t have to wait long before our number was called to leave the ship. The lines weren’t long at immigration and our bags were waiting for us side by side. Our tour bus wasn’t there yet so we waiting in the lounge. When it arrived I finally got the front seat for taking pictures! There were only 9 of us in the group. Our guide was a history buff which made him very interesting.

Our first stop was in Salisbury. We arrived a little early as there were no traffic jams so we walked through town to the meeting place before going to the Salisbury Cathedral.  One of the pictures below shows a house with a window bricked up.  They taxed houses on how many windows they had, so to save money, they bricked it up.

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Salisbury, England

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The Cathedral was not included in our tour price but we decided to spend our time there instead of going back into town. It was 5 pounds each to get in, a discount from 7.50 pounds. It was absolutely amazing. They gave us a brochure for a self-guided tour which was perfect for us. There was an amazing endless reflection baptismal font. The water spilled over the four corners into drains in the floor.


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Salisbury Cathedral

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After we toured the Cathedral, we went to see the Cloisters and the Chapel House. The Cloisters was very peaceful and the largest in any British cathedral and designed for processions. I found some medieval board games scratched into the stone on the inner ledges!

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Pictures were not allowed in the Chapel House, but I found a few online that I will include. It houses the Magna Carta. The Salisbury Magna Carta is the best preserved of the four originals dating from June 1215 still in existence. Written in Latin with a quill pen on treated animal skin (vellum), sealed documents were sent throughout the country after the charter was forced on King John by barons who were unhappy with the way he was ruling England.  The guide told me this Magna Carta is written on parchment made from sheepskin as were the majority of medieval charters.  The process of producing parchment or indeed vellum (which is calf skin) was a long, laborious and expensive process.  The animal skin was soaked in a bath of lime, stretched on a frame to dry under tensions and scraped with a curved knife called a lunular to produce a smooth writing surface.  The quill would usually have been made from the swan or goose wing feather, if the scribe was right handed he would use a right wing feather, if left handed he would use a left wing feather.  The ink was a mix of iron salts and tannin acid extracted from galls on oak trees, these were bound together with gum Arabic.

Magna-Carta_2942761b King John 038%20Magna%20Carta%20inspection Magna CartaMagna%20Carta%20interpretation%20in%20Salisbury%20Cathedral%20Chapter%20House

The longest part of the bus ride was from Salisbury to Runnymede.   On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta. Confronted by 40 rebellious barons, he consented to their demands in order to avert civil war. There will be a celebration for 800 years next year.

Magna Carta Island King-John-Magna-Carta-sMagna Carta Memorial Magna Carta Memorial & view towards the 'medes' IMG_5165 Lutyens Lodges

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta’s guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land."

Runnymede is about 20 miles west of Central London and only about 4 miles to Windsor, our next stop. We had to go in the back way because of the Royal Ascot race. We got to see the Long Walk and a different view of the castle. From the Castle gate to the foot of the statue of King George II (The Copper Horse) the long walk measures 2.64 miles in length.

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When we got to the bus parking lot we found out that the lift up to the main road was out. The guide said there was another way and would come back to show us and another guest in a wheelchair where it was. We waited a bit and then I went through a tunnel and found the other lift. I went back to get Ray. The others waited because they were going through the castle and we weren’t. We made our way up to the train station, got directions and soon found ourselves in front of the castle.

We made our way down the street and found a place with fish and chips for lunch. To sit at a table you had to climb a flight of stairs so we ate at the counter. It was so good! We walked around a little bit, went in St. John the Baptist, Windsor Parish Church (Anglican).  The church was getting ready for an Annual Friends Event, a talk by an art restorer.  They have a painting of the last supper. 

St. John the Baptist, Windsor Parish Church IMG_5193 IMG_5194

We went in a few stores and then headed back to the parking area. We were there for a bit and then I noticed activity near our bus. We had to move our luggage to a smaller van to take us to our hotel near Heathrow. Heathrow is almost right next door to Windsor. I wonder how the Queen feels being in a flight path. I was surprised at how many planes flew over Windsor.

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Windsor, England

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We dropped the other family at Heathrow and then we went to our hotel, the Ibis London Heathrow Airport Hotel. I booked all our hotels at Booking.com and this was 42 Pounds or around $70. It was definitely a standard basic room, but clean. It also had a restaurant. We ordered a wake-up call and a taxi. The taxi was only 1 pound more than the Hoppa Bus and no stops. The next morning we left for Heathrow and checked in with no problems. We found a place for breakfast and then looked on the departure board for our gate. It said to go to gate now – it would take 25 minutes. They weren’t kidding! Good thing the moving walkways were working. At one point we had to go down a long escalator, walk a bit and then go back up. We were on the 2 seat side which was great. It was an eight hour flight to Charlotte but wasn’t all that bad. Ray watched movies, did games and I finished another book. I think it is easier to fly during the day. Good thing we had plenty of time in Charlotte as we had a bit of a wait for bags because it was such a large plane, rechecked our bags and went through security and to our next gate. A short ride and we were home. We made a quick stop in Wal-Mart and then headed to Ryan’s to bring home a sub. Ryan’s was closed so we ended up at Gino’s. This was another great trip. The Celebrity Eclipse was beautiful but we loved the service on Holland America. Our next cruise will be on Princess as we put a deposit down for one on our last Princess cruise. Stay tuned!

The End

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