Stonehenge, Salisbury, Old Sarum, and a play


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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Wiltshire » Stonehenge
October 15th 2011
Published: October 30th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

On Monday the 10th we went to a play called the Pitman Painters in the Duchess Theatre. We sat in what is called the stalls and that's the ground floor that is eye level with the stage. I've found that I like the seats that are on the first balcony because you don't have to look around other people's heads if you're short. I also like the feeling of being able to look down on the stage and seeing it from above. This play is by the same guy that did Billy Eliot so of course I was expecting great things. It was about a group of miners in the 1930's that wanted to take some art appreciation courses. They eventually become good artists themselves and have a couple gallery showings in which they become popular among the art community. They eventually have to decide between their lives as miners or artists. It was pretty good but the ending was a little weird...a really long socialist speech followed by a song. On Tuesday I went to a place called Snog and it's a frozen yogurt place but really healthy. They had several choices of frozen yogurt which were plain, green tea, chocolate, and pink guava. Then you could get different types of mixers like several types of nuts, fresh fruit, berries, chocolate chips, brownies, and much more. I ended up getting strawberries and kiwi in a plain yogurt and it was okay. It was kinda plain because the yogurt has no fat or sugar but the fruit made it really good. Something to try but I don't think I would make a habit of getting it.

Yesterday we went to see Stonehenge first and it was really neat. There are a few stories about it and how it was built. It could be from Merlin, the giants and King Arthur, or the devil's trick, even yet the Druids could have built Stonehenge. They do know that it was built in three different stages. The first stage was around 3100 BC and is believed to have been built for religious ceremonies but after this stage it was left untouched for about 1000 years. The second stage started around 2150 BC and this is when the blue stones were brought in to form the double circle. The third stage of Stonehenge was about 2000 BC when the Sarsen stones were brought in and were formed in the outer circle with a continuous run of lintels. The final stage took place around 1500 BC in which the stones were rearranged into the horseshoe and circle shape I saw. The methods in which these stones were traveled and the sight was built was incredible. It took a lot of man power and maneuvering using the tools that they had. The blue stones are thought to have healing powers if you touch them and in the last couple of centuries the structure has undergone much more damage since it was first built because people were taking chips of stone off of the sight as souvenirs and that is why they have it roped off and you can't go right up to the stones. It was really neat to see that large stone circle in the middle of no where.

The other places we visited around there was Old Sarum and Salisbury. Old Sarum is the remains of what used to be a huge hill fort which was a protective stronghold and symbol of tribal pretension in the Iron Age in Britain that was around 500-50 BC. In 1070 a earth-and-timber castle was built withing the form for protection against William the Conqueror. There was also a church that was built within this fort and under Henry I an Episcopal palace was built as well. Now all you see are remains and crumbles of what used to be. It was neat though to be on the grounds of what used to be such a protective fort hill and had so much history. The views from the top of the hill were amazing and you could see all the way into Salisbury a town that is only about two miles away. There were crumbled walls, stair ways and you could even see into the open ground and rooms that were below, although the public didn't have access to them. After walking around the hills, walls, and steps of Old Sarum we went over to Salisbury for lunch. Me and a friend found a little cafe that seated us upstairs where I had a strawberry and banana milkshake with a egg and bacon sandwich on focaccia bread. There was also a salad and crisps on the side. I've never really had an egg sandwich before and there was a bit too much stuff in that sandwich for me to handle, but it was good nonetheless. Before we headed out for the day out tour guide took us over to the Salisbury Cathedral which was definitely worth while to go to. Here I saw the world's oldest working clock (1386) that didn't have a face and only strikes the hour and the tomb of william Longespee who was one of the advisers on the formulation of the Magna Carta. The tower of the Cathdral is so heavy that you can see it bending the supporting columns. It weighs 6,500 tons and is the tip of the spire is even shifted out of alignment by 75 cm! No worries about it crashing now though because they've put up some other beams to support the ones that are bending. The most exciting thing though seen in this cathedral was the Magna Carta which is one of the four surviving copies and inspired many documents from the formation of the United States Constitution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The winning souvenir I bought to commemorate this trip was two posters of the Magna Carta, one in Latin and the other English.

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