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2009 TRIP TO ENGLAND, by Colin L. Miller

Intro May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 01 June 02 June 03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 Expense Report

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Up at 7:45 AM and ready for today's activities, I got breakfast at the hotel restaurant: fried eggs, fruit, toast, juice and coffee. I then walked to the bus station to wait for the Stonehenge Tour bus to start boarding. Fifteen minutes later, I gave the driver some money and got a 17.50 ticket for the tour, with admissions to Stonehenge and Old Sarum. Only a few others boarded here and we all went up to the top level where the view was better. We travelled the main road to Amesbury and through sheep pasture and farmland country. The bus continued on, and rounded a curve and over a gently sloping hill, and then the giant standing stones of Stonehenge came into view. We got off in the parking area and were escorted through the entry gate. After going through the underpass beneath the road, I came out on a walkway that goes around the ancient monument. It was still sunny and clear with a nice breeze. Hundreds of small chafer beetles were flying and crawling about, some landing on some of the multinational & multicultural tourists. Naturally, I took some pictures of the bugs, and some of Stonehenge, of course. After a leisurely two circuits of the great stone circle, I headed back to the parking area to catch a bus for Old Sarum.


Stonehenge

The bus continued onward from Stonehenge and back around, passing by old houses and barns, some with moss and lichen covered slate roofs. The road was very narrow with one lane in each direction, and one cyclist slowed the bus down for a couple of minutes until it was safe to pass. I got off at the bus stop near Old Sarum and I walked the rest of the way to this ancient hill fort that once was the residence of early kings of England. Now, only a few ruins remain outlining the overlapping floorplans of the first two Salisbury cathedrals. Now the area is green grass with a few small wildflowers. On the edge near the ditch was more forest growth. Various insects buzz about, including scorpionflies and beetles. The upper section, surrounded by its own ditch, contained the ruins of the castle area. About 800 years ago a whole town was here on the hill fort. But problems involving military occupation and weather eventually caused the town and cathedral to relocate to present day Salisbury.


Gate Through Sheep Pasture, Bridge to Castle Area, Cathedral Ruins, Castle Ruins, View of Salisbury Cathedral

After the tour, I took another Stonehenge Tour bus back into town, getting off at the market square (near the bus station). I then headed over to Salisbury Cathedral for a visit to the tower and tour (8.00). I had about an hour before the next tower tour, so I wandered around and rested. Then, like in York, I went with a group on a guided tour through the upper portions of this large cathedral, starting with a narrow winding staircase to the "attic" area, then through the other side to the bell tower, then up more stairs to the higher levels of the tower, then to the actual bell room. On each quarter hour the bells sounded off. We then climbed higher in the main spire. Near the top there were four doors leading onto narrow balconies overlooking a quadrant of the city and countryside. We saw all four before heading back down. Off in the distance in one direction was the hill of Old Sarum. Back down, I went to the cloister area where an original copy of the Magna Carta was on display.


Cathedral Interior, Overlook of Fountain, In the Attic, Closeup View of Spire, Cathedral after Sundown

Later, I returned to the hotel to rest before going back out to get a quick dinner and walk around town before it got dark, in particular to the former St. Edmund's Parish church, which was now a community arts center, where 4th great grandparents (on the patrilineage) were married here 82,398 days (225 3/4 years) ago. The outside of the former church was intact and memorial stones and monuments were still in the park & garden area. With it getting dark, I returned past the cathedral back to the hotel. Tomorrow I would travel to Bath for family history research, and to tour this historic city.


Intro May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 01 June 02 June 03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 Expense Report