Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 6 UK

Today we head toward Reading. Our run of good weather appears to be coming to an end as the sky is filled with clouds and it has gotten chilly again.
First stop is Salisbury Cathedral which is a rather imposing structure. It is built in the English Gothic style and was constructed between 1220 and 1258. The Tower and Spire were added 50 years later and stands 404'. It is the tallest spire in Britain. Salisbury Cathedral also houses the best preserved of the 4 remaining copies of the original Magna Carta. It also has Europe's oldest working clock. The clock has no face but rings chimes every 15 minutes. The day we were there was their annual Flower Show. The arrangements were both creative and breathtaking. The only drawback was the crowd and the noise. Floral arrangements were hanging everywhere and it was impossible to get good photos. Embedded in the walls are memorial plaques to those who have lost their lives in battles or disasters. Given the frustration of not being able to take good photos of the interior structure, I amused myself by taking photos of the sarcophagi of ancient knights. By the time we left the cathedral, it was pouring again.

Next stop.. or drive by as the case was because of the rain was Stonehenge. I am sort of glad it was raining... Stonehenge was incredibly disappointing and there was a pretty hefty entrance fee. I have to admit that I envisioned that it encompassed a large area. My imagination conjured Druids marching around chanting. It is no where near the scale I imagined. In fact, it probably is less than half an acre.

That said, the areas around Stonehenge were far more interesting. Next trip back, I would like to spend more time exploring.

Woodhenge was far more interesting and better yet, free. It appears as though it is larger than its sister site. Here is the Link to the Wikipedia entry. From there we drove past the most interesting of the sites... in Avebury. However, time got away from us and rain hampered us. Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Europe. The megalithic stones are everywhere. The fields we drove past contained the stones, people walking around, and sheep grazing among them. We unfortunately could not find a place to park so I could take some photos. Here is the Wiki Link.

As we drove toward Reading we saw several white horses "carved" into the hillsides. These aren't the original ancient ones but they are certainly arresting and can be seen from miles away.

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day, stay tuned!

1 comment:

Julie Goucher said...

As a child I grew up in Surrey England and a frequent school trip was to Stonehenge. Back in the 70s you could go right up and touch the stones. When we moved to Devon in the mid 1990s we made a stop off on the way down and found that at some point in the last two decades you had to pay to go in and were fenced off from going close to the stones. Happy memories!