Wednesday, August 4, 2010


RAIN was predicted ~ bus view in Salisbury
It's difficult to get to STONEHENGE unless you take a tour... no public transportation gets you to the site. JPE booked a full-day bus tour (Golden Tours) w/Tobey, as our guide. Our first stop - STONEHENGE.... the  mystical, majestic stone circle located about 15 minutes from Salisbury. 

Stonehenge Display
STONEHENGE means "hanging stones" & this stone circle is different from the rest (England has other stone circles) because it has horizontal crosspieces called "lintels."

Monoliths, lintels + bluestones
An audio-guide was provided - but it was difficult to juggle capturing pics of the site & listen to the information. My camera won the struggle! 

The tall monoliths  (largest is 45 tons) & lintels (about 7 tons) came from an area 20 miles away... The shorter stones (foreground of the pic above) are "bluestones" and originate in Wales, 240 miles away. It's mind-boggling thinking about moving these stones & then standing them upright!

The only way to get "close to the stones" is by booking a special tour with the English Heritage website - IN ADVANCE. These tours take place before or after regular visiting hours. I first visited Stonehenge in 1971 & was able to wander the area freely. Of course, I don't have to tell you why the area is roped off... tourists had taken a hammer & chisel to take a piece of the stone for a souvenir!!!
damaged stone

STONEHENGE is still considered a "celestial calendar" & studies of other stone circles determined that they were designed to calculate the movement of the sun, moon & stars. People used "celestial calendars" to tell them when to plant & harvest their crops.... 

Salisbury Cathedral
Next stop - Salisbury Cathedral.... Known for its huge spire (404 ft) ~ the tallest in ENGLAND!

Learned this Gothic cathedral was built in 38 years - an amazing feat in the Middle Ages! Cathedrals often took centuries to build, instead of several decades. For this reason, this structure's style actually looks uniform & not a patched together design like other churches.

As you can see from height of the exterior, the inside stone columns would have to be massive - they were!!!

Just off the cathedral is the "Chapter House." This is the part of the church where the daily prayers or verses were read. One of four "copies" of the Magna Carta (our Constitution is based on this document) is located in this Chapter House. The writing is extremely small & difficult to read - pictures were not allowed in this area.

LOVED the richness of the burgundy in this stained glass window ~ Salisbury Cathedral

Our final stop ~ the "BATH" part of our trip!

The medieval Roman baths were crowded! chaotic! they might have been spectacular but we've been to Rome, so so JPE & I breezed through the site... the tour cost included an audio guide w/lots of info... at the "numbered spots" you would key in the number to hear the information. Author, Bill Bryson, Notes on a Small Island, was one of the narrators!

We took in the "street scene" and visited the Bath Abbey, located just outside the bathhouse.

We learned this was the "last" medieval church built in England, over 500 years ago.

The church facade was pretty scruffy - but we loved the carvings... The angels are descending down the ladder....
Bath Abbey ~ angel


  1. So awesome! We didn't make it to Stonehenge. I thought you could only go inside the circle during the solstice. I'm glad to hear there is another option. Fantastic! That angel is adorable. I feel like I'm visiting England by following your journey. Thanks!

  2. How cool! Nice photos--wish I were there. Will look forward to your balance post.

  3. Mary & junebug - thanks for checking in! blogging a-broad has stretched me (finding words & pics to post)! i fear when we return i will have nothing exciting to post... but, i WILL have weekword!
    Will try to find some "balance" today!

  4. I have one important question, mostly directed to my brother: Have you been able to find good coffee?

  5. Jan ~
    YES - we've found good coffee - Starbuck's is across the street from our flat, but coffee & tea can be found in every area! London is the "melting pot of diversity" so we've found Italian cappuccino, espresso, cafe Americano (espresso that is watered down - they don't make filtered coffee); but mostly we are enjoying tea & trying new blends! The street cafes are great for people watching! and the pubs are standing room only!



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