UK Trip 2011: Stonehenge
When Pilbeam asked me what I wanted to see while in I visited her in England, the Stonehenge was on my main list of must-see-tourist-attraction. I am a big fan of the wonders of the world (again, somewhat of a history dork). We planned a quick stop to Salisbury between Bath and our trip back to Cambridge- by quick, I mean, quick! We spent less than half a day in town; although I don’t think you needed more than that to marvel at the rocks.
We were a little surprised when we stepped off the Salisbury train station. I suppose we were expecting signs for the Stonehenge everywhere the minute we arrived… but nada! There was one tour bus that offered tourists a ride to the Stonehenge and they were not easily spotted. There didn’t seem to be any other options either besides the single tour bus.
Huh. It boggled us for awhile because we had assumed Salisbury would be milking the Stonehenge for all it’s touristy worth. I suppose that’s a very ‘American-way’ of thinking though. We joked that if the Stonehenge was in the U.S., it would have a mall and a theme park next to it by now.
Later, as we talked to Pilbeam’s friends, it seemed many English people seemed not at all enchanted with “big, old rocks.” Then again, one of them did say that the Pyramids of Egypt were ‘boring’- which I took a personal offense from since Egypt was one of my childhood summer homes. Then again, I suppose I could understand the more jaded views of a local person- especially, when it comes down to it, just big, old rocks with no definite explanation behind them.
Oh well. I still think the Stonehenge were quite neat and the mystery behind it is intriguing. I would like to believe that aliens were most definitely involved too.
The Stonehenge tourist center was also small and inconspicuous, somewhat camouflage in the farmland environment. Stonehenge is surrounded by nothing but sheep and green, green, green as far as the eyes could see. Plus, lots of burial mounds. Again, we were blessed with nice weather that day and managed to take some awesome photos of the scenery.Â
The one advantage to going during off season is that there wasn’t a big crowd that surrounded the stones that day. Sure there were still large groups of students and tourists going around, but still small enough that we had chances for people-less panoramic views. With your admission ticket, the audio tour guide was free and entertaining. It mentioned the alien theories and other crazier theories about the Stonehenge. My favorite is the story involving Merlin ordering the Devil to steal the stones from an old lady’s backyard. PilbeamÂ and I giggled at that one.
Speaking of kooky, there was also a man there hanging out who believed he was King Arthur reincarnated. Apparently, Â the Celtics culture still believed that the Stonehenge is a part of their heritage though it has been proven that the stones came way before in history. Reincarnated-King Arthur was protesting the violation of the burials around Stonehenge and had a petition going to bring back “the Guardians” to their proper places in order to protect the Stones. The politics on exploring ancient burials for history and science is a very dodgy topic in general. Personally, I wouldn’t mind it if I get put on display thousands of years from now at a museum in space somewhere; but that’s just me!
Another tip – if you can, pack your own lunch. There is only one sandwich stand and an ice cream stand there and the food is not very good (the sandwiches were borderline gross, in fact). If we had more time, Nancy and I probably would have made an effort to get food elsewhere. Still, you can eat on the grass and it would be a nice spot to enjoy a picnic.
Salisbury as a town seems to have a whole lot of history besides the Stonehenge and maybe one day I will go back and explore there some more.
Watch the slideshow below for the rest of my photos or CLICK HERE to go directly to my flickr gallery.