Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-10-24

Stayed the night in Salisbury

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From: "Kate McMullin" <kate@brong.net>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 22:42:13 +1100 (EST)
Did a lot today - be warned!

We had decided to take a trip out to Stonehenge and Avebury today, but
left it rather late to actually leave the house.

Nisha, Tiff's flatmate, has a degree in Anthropology, and recommended
that we see Avebury first, and see Stonehenge at sunset. By that
stage in the day, we had to decide between those two recommendations,
as we weren't going to have time to get to Avebury then Stonehenge by
sunset (around
5:30 - 6pm at the moment).

Got on the train to Salisbury, and made it there just in time to catch
the _last_ bus (at 2pm) to Stonehenge. Got there and found that the last
bus returned at 3:20, giving us exactly 40 minutes to tour and
appreciate this amazing site. Needless to say, we missed sunset...

Stonehenge is _much_ smaller than I had imagined - the stones themselves
are huge, however the circles are tiny. The tour, with audioguide, takes
you in a big loop, in a roped-off path, around the stones, so you don't
ever get quite close enough. They are however amazing. Many of the
stones are from Wales, and would have been dragged across the land by
around (I think) 600 men each. That's a lot of workforce...

The stones are joined together in amazing masonry techniques - basically
a tongue and groove type thing. They are also lined up with mind blowing
precision with the rising and setting of the mid-summer and mid-winter
suns. Nisha had recommended that we stand to the left of the Heel Stone
at sunset, and we would see the sun set through the arches of the main
circle. Wish we could have seen it.

Stonehenge is also at the intersection of two major roads, with somewhat
spoils the effect, having heavy trucks trundle past every few minutes.
Definitely need a car to appreciate Stonehenge properly, as the buses
really weren't adequate.

On the bus on the way back we passed a farm which had bales of hay piled
into high walls. We called it Hayhenge...

The hostel in Salisbury was (one of) the best we have stayed at in our
entire trip. It was cheap, clean, homely and very welcoming (called
Matt and Tiggy's), and I would recommend it strongly to anyone passing
that way. It really restored our faith in hostels. Just small things
like soap, shower gel and shampoo, in the bathrooms, fresh handtowels
daily, and so much information readily available. Wish we'd been able
to stay longer!

We went to the cathedral for evensong. It so happened that there was a
visiting choir from a local grammar school singing. They performed the
Mendelssohn Ave Maria (done at Perth IV 97 for those of you to whom that
means anything) with glorious precision and floatingly amazing top
notes. It was heaven to listen to, especially in the fab acoustics of
the cathedral. We've done pretty well with free concerts really
(excepting Paris...).

Very very yummy Indian takeaway from up the road from the hostel. Mango
lassis so thick they almost needed chewing!

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