Stonehenge and Stourhead-October 5, 2007

Trip Start Oct 02, 2007
Trip End Dec 15, 2007

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Before I left for Stonehenge, I went to the grocery "Superstore"-a store not unlike Walmart Super centers-just less selection. The workers wear these hideous shirts that give anyone headaches if you stared at them too long (maybe a good thing?). haha

Stonehenge: After getting lost briefly-lack of signage on the roundabout-it was a quick 15 minute drive to Stonehenge. I am really glad I didn't have to pay for entry (due to purchasing a National Trust membership yesterday) to visit Stonehenge because I was really disappointed, especially since I was looking forward to seeing it. I wasn't expecting to see the stones levitating or anything magical-to me it was not as grand as the pictures (and TV specials) have shown. Just a bunch of really big rocks in a circle, with a few big rocks on top of other rock...woop-de-doo. Took a bunch of pictures, walked around, then left.

Thinking I was on A303, I headed off to Stourhead House and Gardens. Ha! Got lost again. Went nearly 60 miles off course. Enjoyable drive though. How many times do you see "Tank Crossing" signs in America? Especially when they are well used-I could see recent tank tracks across the road. Along the drive I realized the lanes are much narrower than I previously thought-maybe a foot wider than a semi-truck. One of the (many) things I find interesting is that along a narrow road, cars are parked in the travel lane-people just drive around the parked cars-however, the road is only wide enough for 1 lane in each direction. The first day, I thought it was crazy-the third day, still crazy.

I finally made it to Stourhead around 3pm. Again the admission was free. The Stourhead Garden was created by a wealthy banker Henry Hoare II "The Magnificent" who, after loosing his 2nd wife, turned his attention to creating the landscape garden. He began by building dams to raise the lake, around which he arranged buildings, planted trees and built a serpentine walk. The project "was meant to impress his guests by showing them the extensive amount of land which comprised his estate, and to reveal some of the fascinating buildings he had built throughout."

The Stourhead House exterior is impressive with a view of the surrounding farm land. The real gem, of course, is the gardens. A lovely stroll along the walk made for an enjoyable late afternoon. Also on the property is a church and cemetery dating back to the 17th century. I really loved reading the inscriptions of the deceased, including several written in stone on the floor in the sanctuary. This is the first church I have been in dating back 250+ years, it was fascinating to discover the intricate details on the walls, ceilings and windows, too bad we don't put that much effort into our buildings anymore.

Took off around 530 to make my way back to Salisbury and got lost again.   Its like an hourly occurance...haha :)

Oh yeah, by the way....the weather yesterday and today has been 65-75 degrees!
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