To continue our European adventure, Mei took a day off work and we went gallivanting around England while poor Colin had to work. We went to Stonehenge and Salisbury. Stonehenge was about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Surrey, and due to being tired and our body clocks being screwed up, we didn’t leave until mid-morning. But it was worth it.
Stonehenge did not disappoint. The stones were mysterious, beautiful and just unbelievable. I could barely take my eyes off them. In order to conserve this ancient site visitors can only walk around the perimeter. People used to be able to walk right up to the stones, but of course they had problems with graffiti and people chipping bits off the rocks to bring home as a souvenir. But what we enjoyed the most was the free audio tour that was not only informative but extremely interesting.
Some things we learned about Stonehenge:
* It is estimated to be 5000 years old
* It has been abandoned for about 3500 years and was maintained for 1500 years
* Some of the largest stones were brought all the way from Wales!!! With pre-historic technology!?!
* The stones are carefully placed so as to be aligned with the sun each season (Archeoastronomy)
The weather was cloudy and extremely windy, which made the place look even more fable-like. You could imagine the people 5000 years ago bringing the stones and creating Stonehenge after they created Woodhenge.
[[image:eur19.jpg:Lichen on the stones:center:0]]
[[image:eur22.jpg:Desolate but beautiful:center:0]]
[[image:eur27.jpg:Stonehenge with Slaughterstone in the foreground:center:0]]
[[image:eur39.jpg:The Heel Stone:center:0]]
Here are various photos of Mei, Vin and me around Stonehenge. The thing we’re holding up to our ears is the audio tour.
[[image:eur20.jpg:Mei listening to the audio tour:center:0]]
[[image:eur21.jpg:Vin and the audio tour:center:0]]
[[image:eur23.jpg:Mei and Sila being silly:center:0]]
[[image:eur24.jpg:I need to stand closer to Vin:center:0]]
Around Stonehenge is the beautiful English countryside. How about some sheep?
How about some mass graveyards?? There are barrows scattered around the site, and these are mass graves that contain many people, their favorite belongings, even pets (including horses) that were buried with the dead. I think the audio tour mentioned something about the area being the highest concentration of mass graves in Europe or something (I forget exactly). The green humps are the barrows:
[[image:eur28.jpg:I see dead people?:center:0]]
And how about some traditional…cars? How about a motorway going right by Stonehenge!
Here’s Vin and Mei standing by a painting of what Stonehenge would have looked like before it was abandoned
[[image:eur30.jpg:Mei, Vin and a complete Stonehenge:center:0]]
The brochure we received mentions an effort to put the road underground so as to restore Stonehenge to its original pristine one-ness with nature. I think if it comes to pass, it will be awesome. I had to time it correctly so as to not get pictures of the cars driving by as I tried to take pictures of the Barrows. So, after a nice outing at Stonehenge, we drive to Salisbury for a fish and chip lunch (with curry dipping sauce, yum!).
[[image:eur31.jpg:Vin in Salisbury:center:0]]
[[image:eur38.jpg:Remains of the old Norman wall? Or Roman Wall? I dunno:center:0]]
Salisbury is another old and historic city and it has the Salisbury Cathedral. This cathedral was build in the 13th century and as you can see, work is being done to restore and preserve the building. I believe this effort will be completed in 2013 (another trip to Salisbury to view the cathedral minus the scaffolding?).
[[image:eur32.jpg:Salisbury Cathedral Close:center:0]]
[[image:eur33.jpg:Vin in front of Salisbury Cathedral:center:0]]
[[image:eur34.jpg:I still need to stand closer to Vin:center:0]]
[[image:eur35.jpg:Mei and the Walking Madonna:center:0]]
[[image:eur36.jpg:Looking up to the cathedral:center:0]]
The religious figures on the facade of the building have been added throughout the years so you can really tell which of these are old and date back to the construction date of the building.
[[image:eur37.jpg:Weather worn by age:center:0]]
After this lovely outing, we drove back to Surrey and ate out (Mei had cooked dinner two nights running) at a local Thai place. It was great fun to hang out with Mei again, and after 4 fun-filled days with Mei and Colin, Vin and I journeyed on. Don’t worry, we come back to England after traveling around mainland Europe, so it’s only a temporary adieu to Mei. Tune in next time for our adventures in Amsterdam.