Monday, July 9, 2012

London Calling - part 3

On Tuesday, I took my second tour with London Walks.  We started out taking a train ride down to Salisbury, which is southwest of London.  It's a cute little Medieval city with twisty streets and a history that dates back to the Roman occupation.

The oldest part of the city is enclosed within a city wall with heavy doors that can be shut to prevent sacking by Vandal hordes.  You can enter the city center or "close" through one of five main gates.

The cathedral is the highlight.  It has undergone major a restoration in the last several years and was beautiful and scaffold-free inside and out.

It's home to both the best-preserved of the original four copies of the Magna Carta and to the world's oldest working clock.  I did see the Magna Carta (which we were obviously not allowed to photograph) but not the clock.  I didn't realize it was there until I went to Greenwich two days later.  Fun fact about the Magna Carta is that it was sent to Salisbury for safe keeping and promptly lost.  Evidently Brother Gregory of the order of the Filing Cabinet placed it under "C" instead of "M" and there it remained, undiscovered for hundreds of years.

My other favorite part of the cathedral were the Medieval sarcophagi.  Check out this guy reclining with his feet up on his dog.

After lunch in Salisbury, which included a Cadburry egg flavored hot chocolate/milk shake drink, (What?? It was cold and the baby said he/she wanted it.) we took a bus ride out to Stonehenge, first passing Sting's country home.  This was the first of two of Sting's houses I would see on this trip (the other was in London).

If you are unfamiliar with the history of Stonehenge, here's an education video that will catch you up to speed (unfortunately you have to click through and watch it on Youtube).

All joking aside, it's true that no one knows who the builders of Stonehenge were or what they were doing.  What remains of the ancient site shows that they had a fairly good idea about science and architecture- at least how to stack stones together and keep them from falling over and how to track the movement of the sun over the course of the year.  The stones were carved so they fit together like Legos and would form a level circle at the top even though the ground on the site slopes.  The fact that it is a ruin today is not the fault of the original builders but of the many tourists and locals who have made off with parts of it, large and small.    

It's interesting in that it looks very different (again because of the destruction, not the design) from different angles.  

Here's me keeping it classy, wearing my raincoat when it's not raining.  In my defense, it was cold and windy, and because it was England, it could have rained.  

Even though historians now know that Druids had nothing to do with building Stonehenge (there were Druids, but they lived in the area waaaayyy after Stonehenge was built), it's still a magnet for all the crazies who want to come out and party on the solstice.  Although we didn't see anyone dressed up as a Druid, our guide said we were probably just a few days too early.  Stonehenge is actually right off a highway and they were already camping out.

After that we took the bus back to the train station and the train back to London.  After all the driving and train action, I was ready for an in-town day on Wednesday.

On a totally unrelated note, ever since we've had more white noise from running the A/C and the fan at night, I've been having the craziest dreams, and while last night's was not the longest or most complex, it wins the prize for most bizarre.  I was using the restroom in an airport while I was waiting to catch a flight when I was attacked by a bat.  It flew in over the top of the bathroom stall and was biting my head and hands, but I couldn't get away because I was... um... using the bathroom.  Any guesses on what that one means?


  1. Baby Moon Pie says eat more chocolate. However due to the nature of your dream it is reasonable to assume Moon Pie has decided to eat your brain.

  2. Maybe my brain is made of chocolate... That would explain some things...

  3. That works for me; dark chocolate? milk chocolate?