Stonehenge & Salisbury
So yesterday I went to Stonehenge, which was a nearly 4 hour long bus ride, but so worth it! It came into view so suddenly, mile after mile of green countryside then bam! stonehenge! A couple friend and I got in for free since the cash register broke, which saved us about $10 so yay! You get an audioguide and walk around ancient site, listening to how they think it was constructed and theories about its use. It’s hard to grasp how old the stones are….older than the colosseum in Rome! It was built in phases between 3000 and 1000 B.C and a theory thats currently popular is that it functioned as a monumental gravestone for a ritual burial site, since there are 500 burial mounds nearby. It also functions as a celestial calendar, as the sun rises on the summer solstice, the heel stone lines up wth the sun and the altar at the center of the stone circle. It was a bit disappointing,however, to learn that some of the stones have been straightened and moved to how they THINK it looked originally. That aside, it’s impressive to think that ancient people hauled stones that weight up to 45 tons (about 90,000 pounds) from up to 240 miles away. No wonder people have thought that Stonehenge was built by giants!
After about an hour there, we visited the nearby city of Salisbury, along the River Avon. My friend Allie and I were starving so we stopped for lunch at Cote Brasserie restaurant, which had delicious and relatively inexpensive French food. And best of all, it had cloth napkins, which poor college kids like us don’t get to see that often! After lunch we met up with our other friends to tour the famous Salisbury Cathedral, which was built in a mere 38 years, between 1220 and 1258. The cathedral is famous for it’s towering spire, which is the tallest in England at 404 feet. We wanted to go on a tower tour where you get to climb the tower but it was sold out for the day, so book the tour early if you go! The Cathedral also contains the oldest working mechanical clock in existence and one of the 4 remaining original copies of the Magna Carta, which dates from 1215 and was revolutionary for limiting the monarchs power (basically to the English what the Constitution is to Americans). Theres an enormous green lawn or “close” surrounding the cathedral, which is the largest in England. Since it was unusually sunny and warm we laid out on the grass and enjoyed the sun! Most of my friends are from California so they were glad for the “beach time”. Me and Allie then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the charming old city, which has lots of cute cafes and a market corner. We found some cool spots off the beaten path, such as a church garden and an old courtyard that now is a pub, wish we had time to have a drink there! Lots of people were out enjoying the weather which made Salisbury a very pleasant place to visit! Definitely worth a stop if you go to Stonehenge :)