Stonehenge, Boroughs Market, and Les Miserables!

Aug 16

Stonehenge, Boroughs Market, and Les Miserables!

Today we traveled to Stonehenge! We woke up to catch the 8:50am train from the Waterloo station to Salisbury, the town nearest to Stonehenge. It was a nice hour and a half long train ride from London. We talked for the first half and journaled for the second, enjoying the comforts of first class 🙂

We arrived in time to catch the next tour bus to Stonehenge and climbed the steps to the second story of the bus for a great view of the town and surrounding country side. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to explore Salisbury, but what we could see reminded us of Canterbury. The bus provided commentary during the ride, pointing out historical landmarks including a few thatch roofed homes. We eventually left the town behind, journeying out into the countryside, full of sheep, cows, a pig farm, and lots and lots of wheat fields. Eventually we started seeing lots of cars and then, over the hill, Stonehenge!

We were dropped off by the bus at the entrance and skipped the long lines for tickets because we had purchased a Heritage pass at Dover Castle which provides us free entrance to all Heritage designated sites in Britain. Yippee!! We got through, were given a pair of audio guides, and headed out to the site. Stonehenge is so much more impressive in person. I had studied the site in my architectural history class in college so it was quite a wonderful experience to be able to stand so close to it. The audio guide provided much speculation as to the exact meaning behind Stonehenge and how it was created; I’m still going with aliens. It was interesting however, to be reminded of the calendar significance of the stone placement. The summer and winter solstices can be determined by the position of the sun in relation to the stones. The people who created Stonehenge could even tell, based on the path of the sun through the stones, which month of the year it was. Surrounding Stonehenge are burial mounds thought to have been part of some elaborate ceremony. The site was really beautiful and the stones so mysterious in their placement, almost as if standing guard.

We finished the tour in about an hour and caught the next bus to our next stop, Old Sarum. Old Sarum is a large earthwork mound dating to before Stonehenge. The site was used over the years as a place of defense by the Normans, Saxons and then subsequent Kings who built a large fortress and castle at the center of the mound. The remains if this structure can still be seen, including a church built on the far side of the mound. We walked among the ruins, reading plaques about specific sections of the fortress. Hardly any of the stones remain as the castle and it’s defenses were dismantled and the stones reused. We caught the bus back to the train station and a train back to Waterloo, arriving in London at around 3pm. One short metro ride, and we were at the Boroughs Market.

We walked among the stalls which were full of all kinds of food. The place wasn’t very crowded, probably due to the large amount if construction taking place in part of the market. We bought lunch/dinner – Ryder bought a pasty and I had an organic salad. We spent about an hour wandering among the stalls, sampling tea, olive oils, jams, salsas, and more. Ryder bought a box if black licorice and I was content with a sampling of dry cider. We took the metro back to our room to get changed for the play. I actually did my hair today and put on some make-up, shocker.

Because we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the show, we arrived early and spent the time enjoying a drink at a pub down the street. Finally it was time and we bustled into our VERY expensive seats to watch one of the best performances of Les Miserables I’ve seen. This was Ryder’s first time EVER seeing the play and he thoroughly enjoyed it!! I spent the walk and metro ride back to our room humming tunes from the show 🙂

Tomorrow we leave London and head for York!

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