Salisbury and Stonehenge

Trip Start Jan 02, 2006
Trip End May 30, 2006

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Sunday, March 5, 2006

Greetings from England!

Well it's been a great weekend. I gotta say, the weather here in England, while on the chilly side, has been extremely pleasant. Pretty much every weekend has had at least one, if not two sunny days so its been great to walk around and be outside. Not too much rain as of yet, but I'll have to see if this holds up.

Anyway, yesterday, continuing in my Saturday daytrip tradition, I went out to Salisbury and Stonehenge. Salisbury is about a 1 hr 40 mins. train ride from London, mostly rolling through pretty barren countryside (think Illinois).

Given my low expectations of Stonehenge, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. For 5000 years, I must say that the site has held up pretty well (although I believe the current rocks on the site are about 3500-4000 years old though). The audio tour for the site was excellent, and took time to explain the different types of rock, the potential significance of the site, and much more. It only took about an hour to see it though, and this was with some significant time spent just gazing at the monument and around the area. It was cool to note that there are actually two different types of stone that were used at Stonehenge. One that came from southwest Wales, well over a 100 miles away, and another that came from just 30 miles away from the site. s

I then took the bus back into Salisbury, walked around the town a little, and then visited Salisbury Cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral dates back to about 1220 -- the enormous structure was built in just 38 years. While I must say that Winchester Cathedral was far more visually appealing, the "extras" at Salisbury Cathedral are far superior. For example, the cathedral houses the oldest continuously operating mechanical clock in the world and the best preserved "original" copy of the Magna Carta (from 1215). I say "original" because many copies were made and all were sealed with the King John's Royal Seal; however, as you might imagine most of them have been lost over time or destroyed. The four remaining copies are housed in the British Library and in Lincolnshire -- however, when I visited the British Library, it was taken off display for restoration and preservation purposes.

It was just interesting to see this document, which was one of the future sources of inspiration for the American Constitution and indeed constitutions around the world. It was equally interesting to note the dichotomy between large principle and petty issues contained in a document between powerful barons and an obstinate, overbearing king.

Today has been spent researching and formulating an argument for my thesis. I believe my topic will be on how, among other factors, countries in Eastern Europe like Slovakia and Estonia as well as Ireland used tax as a tool to attract FDI, and how other developing countries can reorganize their tax systems to foster similar FDI flows and economic growth. While no doubt the investment flows into these countries involve many other dimensions, most importantly the quality of human capital available, tax policy has also been a major draw for multinationals. To an extent, this thesis looks like it will be combining both of my majors in an international business context, along with a steady dose of economics thrown in for good measure.

I'm looking forward to a great week. Be well and thanks for reading!

Happy Trails,

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