- “Time crumbles things; everything grows old and is forgotten under the power of time”
This morning, we hopped on a coach and traveled out to Stonehenge. The English countryside is beautiful! Full of green. With trees I’ve never seen before!
I am already highly familiar with Stonehenge, due to my favorite game series Civilization. An excerpt from Civilization V‘s Civilopedia (the in-game encyclopedia): “Stonehenge is perhaps the most astounding construct of pre-history still standing. Though largely in ruins, this mighty relic still has the power to incite amazement, awe and wonder” (http://civilization.wikia.com/wiki/Stonehenge_%28Civ5%29). With all the pictures I’ve seen, though, nothing could top seeing the real thing–standing at this Wonder of the Ancient World was surreal.
We were each given an audioguide to give us information about Stonehenge. Good thing, too, because that left the field open, not requiring plaques of information scattered about the lawn.
How the audioguide worked was you pushed a number and then hit start. I assumed it would start at 1, so when I saw a sign that said “2 – 8” left, I assumed that meant number 1 would be right. I was wrong, and apparently I went “backwards” around the monument. The audioguide had a lot of great information, though. It talked about how it was probably built, who probably built it and why, and what had been done to conserve it. We also saw burial mounds and the “bush hill,” a mound with a single large bush growing on it within sight of Stonehenge.
After seeing Stonehenge, we drove to Bath. I wanted to ask the driver to stop every 15 seconds or so to take pictures, but I held my tongue and took pictures out the window.
This afternoon, we had a walking tour of Bath. Bath was built entirely out of creamy amber colored brick, quarried out of a nearby mine. We went by Bath Abbey, their (much smaller) version of Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame. We went by some bathhouses, saw some circuses (round buildings surrounding a circular plot of land), and toured the Assembly Rooms.
The assembly had three main rooms, a beautiful ballroom, a tea room, and a room called the “octagon room.” The ballroom had a balcony for the musicians, so as to avoid playing in the mass of dancers on the floor. I would love to be able to go to a ball here! I wonder if they still host balls occasionally?
After the tour, I found a bookstore selling incredibly inexpensive books. I think I’ll go back and pick a few up tomorrow.
We then went to a fun restaurant where we were all had a fun time chatting about our trip and about the world going on around us. Some of us were a little bummed we weren’t able to make it to see Spamalot in the theatre here. It wasn’t planned, though, so we weren’t too sad–maybe we can make it another time.
Now having seen the English countryside, I see easily how writers like Tolkien was able to create such fantastic worlds. A lot of the things I originally thought unique wasn’t nearly as unique as I had believed—the Barrow Mounds are a supernatural form of the burial mounds, Weathertop is Stonehenge placed on a hill, The Shire looks exactly like the land surrounding Bath. It still magic to be able to be here, though, and see all the inspiration.