Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Temple to the Sun

Today's journey took us to Stonehenge and Salisbury via coach.  Unlike our train trip to Oxford, it was easier to see the rolling countryside dotted with sheep with this mode of transportation.  Although I didn't notice it on our way there, the lack of advertising along the highway certainly registered with me on the way back to London.  Once you are out of the city, there are no billboards or advertising of any kind.  It is quite nice to actually see the land, sans signs. 

How does one describe Stonehenge?  Hard to say really, except that it is massive and unique.  As I walked the path around the site, I thought less about what the purpose of this structure was and more about the actual feat of getting the stones to that location.  It's unbelievable to think about the manpower needed to move such objects in a time bereft of technology and resources.  Our guide, Sean, mentioned that a reconstruction of that event took place a few years ago; it took 600 people a full year to move one stone twenty-five miles, the distance researchers believe some of theses stones were moved.  Additionally, the stones were placed upright and some were fit together with simple tools.  You have to admire their perseverance.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Salisbury, starting with a trip to the cathedral and ending with a little lunch and shopping.  On Tuesdays there is a market in the center of town.  For my friends back home...this is a miniature version of Shipshewana, similar items and prices.  The one difference I noted was the availability of fresh meats.  We also made a stop at a candy store across the street from the market.  The young woman working behind the counter, also our waitress at the pub in back, told us that the two buildings were attached by a series of  passageways.  It was in these passageways and adjacent rooms that women who were to be hanged were detained.  Supposedly, there are still scratches on the walls!

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