Our road trip to the south west was meant to start with a pick-up by Penny and Anda sometime between 10:30 and 11 Tuesday morning. Noon came and went, still no lady friends. Video games, reading, waiting. 12:30, a call. They’d been lost and were only 5 miles away! Woo! After piling in Penny’s car and making a trip quick to the grocery for some snacks we were on our way. I would also like to mention that Anda greeted me by saying that “I smell(ed) like sherbet!” Best. Compliment. Ever. So…..Salisbury here we come (came)!
Two hours later, and after driving through a small village and forest that felt like we’d fallen through a time warp of sorts (there was even an eerie old man standing just on the road with his cane, staring into the abyss with empty, soulless eyes…creepy, yes) we picked up Ben, driving into the cul-de-sac that is his little street, chanting “Ben, Beeeeeen” in the manner of sheep until he came out of his house. Also to clarify, Jon, Ben, Penny, Anda, and I all met in Korea, teaching at various schools. Now we’ve all finished our time in Korea land, and all of them have returned to their homes in England (I am now the lowly foreigner in the land of the Brits). Onward to Stonehenge!
It was a good day for wandering around a pile of mystical rocks. I was wondering how they would justify charging 6 pounds for entrance into said pile-of-rocks area; they did so by offering up audio tour hand-held speakers. Generally this means you walk around Stonehenge on the guided path looking like you’re holding a cell phone like an idiot the whole time. But most everyone is doing it, so it’s okay. Up until several years ago one could actually walk up to and touch the rocks, but apparently there were those selfish enough to actually break off chunks of stone and/or do other unseemly things, so that’s no longer allowed. Oh well-it didn’t take away from the experience too much.
Fun facts about Stonehenge that I learned:
-No one knows much about Stonehenge. (That’s the big one)
-The rocks have some sort of iron ore in them that turns red in the rain, like blood. How cool and goth is that?
-They’ve been around since at least 25oo BC. Wow.
-“Henge” means “hinge”. It makes a lot of sense once you put that in context. Helpful. Stone + hinge.
-The surrounding mounds are burial grounds.
-“Tess of the d’Ubervilles” is set on the moors surrounding Stonehenge.
-There’s a lot of conjecture surrounding the mysteries of Stonehenge and it’s erection and use throughout the years-it’s an interesting place though. Well worth 6 pounds.
Once we finished wandering around Stonehenge we headed back into Salisbury to check out Salisbury Cathedral, a gorgeous piece of architecture dating all the way way to 1220. I love how such a huge portion of everything in England was already old before America was even a blink in the proverbial eye of the universe. Perspective is what that is, folks!
Besides being super old, the cathedral also has the tallest spire in all of the United Kingdom (so Ben told me). It looked pretty giant to me, so without looking that up, I will agree with him. The grounds were just beautiful.
It was full of old flags from various military endeavors dating back to the 13th century. There were old tombs with the bodies of people who died 50o years ago. Being in there, for me, was the definition of awe.
After getting kicked out of the church (closing time?) it was dinner time. Beer garden with gorgeous flowers, yummy food, a few beers, and eventually we made our long drive to London so Penny and Anda could go to Anda’s place. Jon and I caught the last train from Clapham Junction and finally made it home around 1 in the morning. A long, but very interesting day.
Tomorrow-my first visit to London!
Oh! While walking through Salisbury we found a little river upon which sat a whole gaggle (herd? flock?) of swans. They looked a bit arrogant, really, and equally terrifying as, but more beautiful than, geese. Look!