We’ll Go in December
Posted by Heliocentrism on August 20, 2010
December 06 – 07, 2003
I know how to avoid the crowds…
Anne and I planned a trip to Stonehenge. Well, Anne planned the trip; I was just the tag-along. At this point in time I was still pretty useless when it came to planning activities, remembering directions, and finding places. At the end of this trip, Anne had to walk me to Oxford Road, the main street of our university, because I couldn’t remember how to get home from the train station.
I think I was the one who came up with the brilliant idea of going to Stonehenge in the middle of winter. I thought that we would have the place almost all to ourselves. Anne apparently thought it was a great idea too, because she put the trip together.
I told several people about the trip. I should have guessed that something was up when no one ask to join us. Who wouldn’t want to take a trip to Stonehenge?
Well, there is a reason why Stonehenge is crowded in the summer and not the winter. In the winter it’s COLD!! Thermal underwear will only do so much.
But… other than one bus filled with Japanese tourists, it was just Anne and me.
Lets go see the mounds.
I didn’t know that there was anything other than Stonehenge in the town of Salisbury. In fact, I didn’t know I would be going to Salisbury until I went with Anne to buy our train tickets. I wasn’t much help in doing any of the planning on this trip at all. I did no research. I just left it all up to Anne, but she did a great job.
So after we stared at the monoliths long enough to make our noses hurt from the start of frostbite, Anne said, “Let’s catch the bus to Avebury and see the mounds.” We left the freezing Japanese tourists behind and waited in the frigid air for the bus. I was so happy when the bus finally arrived. I thoroughly enjoyed the warm bus ride to another cold destination.
At Avebury we walked around looking at mounds and rocks as we shivered. No one knows who put them there or why. Some think the whole thing is some sort of message for aliens or by aliens. Others, say it’s just a great gimmick to lure tourist to the town.
Afterwards, we had a long wait for our bus back to the hostel. There was a pub right next to the bus stop so we went in to warm up. I ordered something to eat and a hot cup of tea. I was so cold I was willing to drink tea!
He was eaten by dogs, you say…
The next day we visited the Salisbury Cathedral. The most astonishing thing about this church is that it houses several original copies of the Magna Carta. They usually have it on display, but for some reason, the day we went there, none of them were available for viewing.
We walked around the church yard and the church itself. I notice that there were many statues of saints on the exterior walls of the cathedral. Some of them were holding their heads in their hands. Others were impaled, while still more were tied up with fire at their feet. One was standing next to a sinister looking dog.
“The statues depict how the saints died,” Anne told me. “That one there, was eaten by a dog. And that one was beheaded.” I noticed very few of these saints passed away peacefully in their sleep.
… and this was the great dining hall.
The last thing we saw was Old Sarum. It used to be a fort and royal palace back in its day. But now, it’s just a bunch of rocks on a pretty lawn in the quiet country side.
There are lots of old ruins like this in England. Sometimes there is an overly enthusiastic, underpaid tour guide who would like nothing more in life than to share his or her joy of history with the world. Their words do nothing to stir any passion in the hearts of tourists, because all the tourists see are rocks.
It was amazing to walk on the pretty grass knowing that a long, long time ago, people lived here. Those people were there before there was a thing called England, before the Romans, before Christianity… Eventually English speakers would come along and build the fort that I didn’t see that day, because all I saw were rocks.
How to get there:
You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.
Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.
- Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
- CGP Grey:
- Oxford Time Travel
- The Pillars of the Earth
- The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
- The Virgin Queen’s Daughter
- Coordinates 51°10’43.9″N 1°49’34.1″W
Wiltshire – SP4 7DE
- 0870 333 1181
- 9:00 – 19:00
It gets really cold here in the winter.
- Coordinates 51°25’43.9″N 1°51’17.8″W
Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1RF
- 01672 539250
- Stone Circle – Free
- Other Actives cost money
- Stone Circle – Sunrise to sunset
- Shops – 10:00 – 16:00 (Time varies a bit depending on the time of year.)
No one knows what’s inside the mounds.
- Coordinate 51°03’53.6″N 1°47’50.4″W
The Chapter Office
6 The Close
- 01722 555 124
suggested voluntary donation…
General Times: Varies things open at various times and change throughout the year.
- M-Sa 9:00 – 17:00
- Su 12:00 – 16:00
- This church holds several copies of the original Magna Carta.
- The best ones are on display.
- In the novel The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet based Kingsbridge Cathedral on the cathedrals of Wells and Salisbury.
- Coordinates 51°05’35.7″N 1°48’13.6″W
Wiltshire – SP1 3SD
- 01722 335398
Times varies depending on the season.
- 9:00 – 17:00
- Coordinates 51°04’08.5″N 1°47’15.5″W
Walk east from Tourist Information Centre along Milford Street, which leads into Milford Hill and underneath road bridge.
- 0845 371 9537
- Check their website for prices.
- Open 24 hours a day
- Reception 7:30 – 23:00