Day 14

Trip Start May 04, 2007
Trip End May 21, 2007

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Friday, May 18, 2007

I woke up this morning and worked on my travelogue. I had some more pictures that I wanted to get up from Oxford but I was too tired last night to get it all done. (I stayed up till 2:15am uploading pictures of Oxford but after awhile I kept making mistakes because I was so tired.) I got the text for the blog finished this morning and sent it out. This was the first morning of the trip we didn't have to be downstairs early so it was nice to sleep in a bit.  I woke up at 8am.
Les Lees, Academy Director for Creative Industries picked us up at the hotel around 11:30am. We left for Salisbury, England. The main appeal for visiting Salisbury was the Salisbury Cathedral.

When first arriving on The Close the size of the Cathedral took your breathe away. The height of the spire can be seen miles around the town. It was quite an impressive sight.

Here is some history of The Close by the Very Reverend Hugh Dickinson...
"In 1220 AD Bishop Richard Poore and his brilliant architect Elias de Derham decided to build a new state-of-the-art Gothic style Cathedral to replace the old Norman Church at Old Sarum. Because they take so many generations to build, almost all other English Cathedrals are a mixture of many different architectural styles. The main body of Salisbury Cathedral which includes the tower and West Front, were completed in a mere 38 years by just 300 men. The huge Cloister (largest in England) and the magnificent Chapter House were added by 1280 AD. But then in 1313 AD the most daring and astonishing addition was made. The tower was raised and on top of it they built, in two years, the slender soaring spire which we see today, completing the Cathedral 95 years after Elias first started the work.
Considering that at 404 feet Salisbury Cathedral's spire is the tallest medieval structure in the world it is amazing it is still standing with foundations only four feet deep. Thankfully nature was on Elias's side and the thick bed of gravel that lies beneath the Cathedral supports the building's immense weight.
As you look around The Close today you see a great array of English architecture, some designed by Sir Christopher Wren, dating from the 13th to the 20th century."

  One of the interesting features of the Cathedral is the medieval clock. This clock is the oldest existing clock in England and almost certainly the earliest remaining mechanical clock in virtually complete and working condition in the world. It does not have a face and can only toll the hour.  It was made in or before 1386 and was originally housed in the detached Bell Tower which stood near the churchyard.  In 1790 the Bell Tower was pulled down by Wyatt and the clock moved into the Cathedral itself. Thus this clock which was made nearly 600 years ago and struck the hours for 498 years is now after a lapse of 72 years, once more in complete working order.
Another feature is the housing of one of the four surviving original texts of the Magna Carta (which you couldn't take pictures of), the famous agreement made between King John and the barons at Runnymede in 1215. There were 13 originally and 4 survive today. Two are in the British Museum, 1 in Lincoln, and 1 in Salisbury Cathedral. It is beautifully written in Latin on vellum made of calf skin and contains some 3,500 words. The Magna Carta outlines the basic laws in England and the basic principles of the Magna Carta have been incorporated into the Constitution of the United States. 
I was taken by the shear magnitude of the Cathedral. The whole cloister with its vaulted ceilings, flying buttresses, and stained-glass windows I can only describe at "solid". Everything was so well-defined and I could see the different influences of architecture. The stained-glass windows did not all look the same.
At one end of the cloister was a window with blue glass. There were still scenes and different colors but the majority of it was in blues. In a side chapel you could see the traditional stained-glass windows with each panel telling a biblical story but across the cloister you would have a window of much muted colors that was more of a design and not a scene or story. Quite unusual and one of the things I liked best about the cathedral.


As we left Salisbury Cathedral we walked down a street which had an unusual gateway. At the time I couldn't find a plague to tell me if the gateway had any significance. I took a picture of me in front of the gateway because I thought it was interesting. When I got back to the room and did some research I discovered it was called the High Street Gate. It was built between 1327 and 1342 and is the main point of entry into the Cathedral Close. It housed the small lock-up jail for those convicted of misdeeds within the Liberty of The Close. Beside the gate stands the Porter's Lodge. The post of the Porter to The Close was a much sought after sinecure for the servants of kings and nobles in the middle ages. The gate is locked at 11pm every night and opened again at 6am. 
  We left Salisbury Cathedral and walked through the streets till we found The Wig and Quill pub. We sat for a bit and had a pint. The kitchen closed at 3pm so we weren't able to get any lunch. We left the pub and picked up a sandwich from a market and ate it on the way back to the car.

  We drove to Stonehenge which is about 20 or 30 minutes from Salisbury. The three of us knew what to expect from our research of Stonehenge. We knew it wasn't as large as you usually imagine in your mind and we knew it was fairly close to a motorway. But how can you come to England and be that close to Stonehenge and not see it. We had to go. As we drove the weather got considerably colder and the wind began to pick up. We topped a hill and there in the somewhat distance was Stonehenge. It was in a green field but the motorway was quite close to it (500 ft or so perhaps). We turned off the main road and followed the signs to the car park for Stonehenge. We got out of the car and the cold windy conditions hit me right in the face. There was mist but not actual rain. It was like being inside a cold cloud. Very druid-like conditions I imagine (LOL).

  We paid our entrance fee and got our audio device. We walked through a tunnel to get to the other side of the motorway to begin our tour of Stonehenge. The audio tour had about 7 places for you to punch in a code so you could get some information. The henge itself was roped off and there was a circular path for you to follow and walk around the structure. Although the audio tour was helpful there was a lot of "Then why... We may never know" comments which put me off a bit because it seemed they couldn't give me any real information. There was a mural of what they believe Stonehenge looked like 3,000 years ago but it's guessing. I still liked it though. It's something everyone knows about and it was quite something to be there in the cold, windy, wet mist and see this unusual placement of stones. The weather really added to the ambience of the experience. If it had been a warm sunny day I don't think I would have had the same feeling about being there.

We got back in the car after taking several pictures and drove back to Bournemouth. We got back to the Anglo-Swiss hotel around 6:15pm and had just a bit of time to get cleaned up, change, and back downstairs by 7pm to meet Lawrence.

  Lawrence had made reservations at La Gondola, and Italian restaurant for 11 people. It was a lovely meal with lots of good conversation and quite a bit of laughing at my end of the table. My end of the table consisted of me, Louise, Claire, Tory, and Tory's curriculum buddy, Jacob. (The other end was talking about the FA Cup match that was taking place on Sunday.)

We had an excellent time and Jacob walked us back to the hotel. Once I got back to my room I went straight to the computer to download pictures of the day and to work on some travelogues.
Tomorrow Matt, Tory, and I are braving the train and heading to London for the day... no guide. Our train leaves at 7:50am so wish us luck!
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Porters Bar
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