Wow, have I been neglectful! At the end of my reading week, with not quite as much done as I had planned on (somehow that always seems to happen) I took off towards the southern part of England. My goal: Stonehenge!
I got there Friday morning just before 10 and (surprise) it was rainy! I had prebooked a tour that in retrospect was unfortunately expensive, but included a bus transport to Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Salisbury Cathedral. We headed out to Stonehenge first, and it was pretty neat!
We got the ‘press a number and play’ kind of audio guides, that allowed headphones to be plugged in (PROTIP: bring your own headphones and you won’t have to hold up the audio guide to your head the whole time!), which explained a lot of the construction, ritual use, and mystery behind Stonehenge.
I met a couple of women, one from Belgium and one from Hong Kong, who were also solo tourists that morning, and more than willing to take turns taking pictures for one another!
I think Stonehenge only opens at 10, so we were one of the first groups to arrive. This meant most of my pictures could be taken without a million people in the background! Above you can see a few more people arriving, but this picture was taken when I was already about halfway around the ‘henge. Also in front of me a ways is a highway, meaning people living in the area probably have to commute past Stonehenge every day, which I found pretty awesome! I wouldn’t mind that one bit. Once I was satisfied in my knowledge of the big rock circle, I set back for the bus stop, but not before snapping a picture of all the people filing in to walk past/get a picture with Stonehenge!
Yikes! PROTIP: If going to Stonehenge, go early! Even if it’s raining, there will be crowds!
After a LONG wait for the bus (PROTIP: Listen to your bus driver when he talks about bus departure times!) We were headed towards Old Sarum. The rain had picked up again, and to be honest I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be looking at in Old Sarum (it’s ruins of a very old settlement that used Stonehenge) so I stayed on the bus and headed back into Salisbury.
My plan was to stay with one of my sister’s friends, and he wasn’t ready to come meet me yet, so I walked around in Salisbury, poking into charity shops on a quest for a winter jacket, which I neglected to pack in my suitcase to England. It’s actually quite a nice little city! After a while, Adam came and picked me up, and we headed back to his house to drop my things off and regroup. We had a hasty lunch then decided to go on an adventure to the grocery store and a cheap clothing store (I found a winter jacket) then impulsively decided to drive through a nearby national park in search for a neat scenic road Adam once discovered.
We didn’t find the road, but we found some other cool things, including a little tiny town area with some shops selling ‘witchcraft’ things and some very delicious fudge! There were a bunch of people stopped by the side of the road later on so we stopped too, and I got a picture of some beautiful rolling hills!
It was still drizzling a bit so rain kept getting on my lens…
Once the sky cleared up there was another photo op, so we just pulled over on the side of the road and I snapped a few!
We kept driving, but it looked like the sun was going to set before we reached the ocean. Not this time, sunshine! We made it!
And what a beautiful sunset it was! All this adventuring made me very tired and hungry, so the drive back was kind of a drag! It took FOREVER since we were no longer finding little stop off points! We hit some nasty traffic too, that we saw on the way down but forgot to route around on the way back! We eventually made it back in one piece, and I didn’t even fall asleep!
Soon after we returned I met Adam’s husband Ben, and we chatted a bit while watching the movie Witches (Roald Dahl). I had never seen it, and honestly it’s a pretty creepy movie for kids to watch! Adam made some delicious curry for dinner, and we enjoyed an evening visiting by the fire before retiring to bed!
I slept so deeply there! I don’t know if it was being away from the city or just the busy day we had, but I was out like a light that night! The next morning I took a wonderful bath, a big luxury considering my lack of bath (or even reasonably sized shower) in my flat! After breakfast, we went out to the markets to get some groceries and gifts. I scored some strawberries for less than 1/2 of what they would be in the city (but they squished on the way home so I had to eat them fast!). We finished at the market and went back to Adam and Ben’s house, but I had mixed up my train times so we just had time for a cup of tea before I had to leave again!
It was so nice getting out of the city and actually staying at someone’s home. Sometimes you don’t realize how sterile and unwelcoming living in a college flat is until you go somewhere else! They were the best hosts and invited me back any time, which I will definitely take them up on! They also have the sweetest dog, Willow, who was very happy with all the attention I gave her, since I haven’t gotten to play with any animals in two months! I promised Adam I would bring some American goodies back from Christmas and return to Salisbury soon.
Overall, I would call that short weekend a very big success, it recharged me and broke up the monotony of homework pretty nicely! Of course I still saved my remaining work till the last minute, but at this point in my education career I’m not sure that’s ever going to change!
This afternoon I’m going to tea, and I’m not quite sure what to expect. Definitely expecting tea, but I’m pretty sure there is some type of snack as well. Keeping an open mind and an empty-ish stomach so I can take in all it has to offer!