Stonehenge

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
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Trip End Oct 04, 2012


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, August 30, 2012

It has been showery and cool the last day or so and we woke up this morning to more of the same.  Our plan had been to go to Stonehenge, Glastonbury and Avebury on a tour but at midday yesterday they cancelled it because there were only 3 of us booked.  Vey annoying, but with the assistance of the ever helpful Google, we planned instead to take the train to Salisbury and hop on a tour bus from there.
 
Michael wasn't feeling 100% so, not prepared to risk a big day out only a few days before a long flight, he and Richard had a quiet day at home while I headed off for an adventure.
 
I really enjoy riding the overland trains , the countryside is beautiful and the trains fast and comfortable.  The trip to Salisbury took an hour and a half (the perfect amount of time for catching up on Travel Blogs!)
 
I came out of the station and there was the tour bus waiting for me...perfect! Stonehenge is 30 mins from Salisbury and the bus ride in the double decker tour bus was lovely, together with a great commentary.
 
Arriving at Stonehenge, we were lucky in that the rain had cleared and although it was windy, somehow that, together with the imposing looking sky made the stones even more impressive.

What can I say about Stonehenge except that despite all I've read about them and all the pictures I've seen, it still did not stop me from gasping as we rounded a bend and saw them on the rise in front of us.  They really are as amazing as they look in the pictures and I love the fact that no one is really sure how they got there,  what they were used for or what they mean.  Of courses there are countless theories but they all remain that - just theories.
 
I wandered around the stones until I'd had my fill of them, (tempted of course to make a dash for the middle to touch them, but knowing it was impossible with so many people there!) and then hopped back on the bus which drove through beautiful countryside past circular barrows which were ancient burial sites and got off again at the site of an historic castle in Old Sarum.
 
Old Sarum is set within the massive ramparts of a 1st century Roman hill fort.  William the Conqueror had a cathedral built near the castle in 1075 and you can still see the foundations today.  It was very cool to be walking around the remains of buildings people were living in nearly 1000 years ago.  There was even the old privy where the royals would do their business and when the pit got too full, someone would be lowered down to clear it out.  Gross!

Another short bus ride and I was back in the town of Salisbury which was founded in 1220 when Old Sarum was abandoned in favour of the new site.  I wandered through the old streets and then down to the cathedral which was built in the early 13tn century and has the tallest spire in England.  
 
The cathedral was lovely, and as an added bonus I visited the adjoining Chapter House which has one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta which King John signed in 1215, compelled to do so by the powerful barons who wanted protection for themselves and the church  from arbitrary taxation.  Unfortunately no photos allowed, but it was pretty amazing and the writing tiny and incredibly neat!  
 
After what had been a fabulous day, I jumped back on the train to London and enjoyed the views for the last time as we raced across beautiful countryside once more.
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Comments

Jo Souness on

What an awesome time you are having Stonehenge amazing never got to visit during my time in London.
Phillipa you are certainly seeing so much I admire your energy the cycling a great way to see the sights.
We all well here sunny day daffodils in full bloom I just mowed dog run had lunch and now out for a ride.
Todd and family coming for tea tonite.
Jasper enjoying life no trouble he and Wally have become great mates.
Ta for travel bog safe travelling and God Bless

Jo

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