Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and Salisbury Cathedral

Great day of sightseeing today! Stonehenge was very beautiful, but perhaps less exciting than one might think. You can't get that close to it, obviously, and there are unfortunately two highways that go right around it, so it kind of takes away from the mystique of the place. There were flocks of birds perching on the stones though, and it looked really neat. I will put pictures up later. By the way, contrary to what you may have heard, Stonehenge has nothing to do with druids or aliens. It does have a lot to do with the winter and summer equinoxes though, at least, that is the speculation. Pretty much everything about it is conjecture. However, interesting fact: the stones used to build it game from an area 150 miles away, so these huge stones had to be transported that far. Apparently a while back a mock stone transportation happened, where a group of researchers tried to transport stones of the same type and size that far using only prehistoric transportation methods. They failed, so you can imagine how tough it must have been to get those stones to where they are now!
Old Sarum is an ancient military stronghold that was used from the neolithic era through Henry II I believe. There was a cathedral build next to it which was severely damaged by lightning 5 days after it was completed, and the stones from the cathedral were used by the priests to build the new cathedral and town in Salisbury.
As for the cathedral itself, WOW! so absolutely beautiful, and less smothered in icons than some cathedrals I've been in. We went on a rooftop tour, and so when up partway into the spire, which is the tallest in the country. I'm not too bad with heights at all, but even I was feeling a little unsafe at points-it is high! we got to stand on a closed of balcony on the outside of the spire and see the view of the surroundings from there. Breathtaking! I took photos but I don't think that they do it justice at all.

Well, I have to get back to work! things are getting a lot tougher academic wise here...I may have to update this thing a lot less :-( All right, that's all for now!

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