Food Exploring :: Sunrise at Stonehenge

Over the last few years, I’ve been on a number of adventures around the world that have opened my eyes and inspired me to think in different ways. A lot of these adventures have inspired valuable lessons that have stuck with me, and others have inspired recipes as well! That gave me the idea to start a new series, which I’m calling “Food Exploring.” Once a month, I’ll dust off one of these adventures and share what lessons and recipes that particular adventure inspired!

This is Food Exploring week on On the Home Front, which means I’m digging up some of my favorite past adventures and sharing the adventures along with some of the lessons we learned there about hospitality and the food they inspire. For me, it adds a richer layer of story to the food we gather around the table to share.

This month, we’re revisiting one of my favorite adventures to date, and that’s a trip Scott and I made to London accompanied by a day-trip to Stonehenge, the village of Lacock, and Bath. We’ll be revisiting those last two separately – they deserve their own stories – because I absolutely had to start with our visit to the iconic stone circle at Stonehenge.

We saw it from the road as our tour bus pulled up and hushed almost automatically.

The circle sits on a flat steppe rising slightly higher than the rolling plain around it, lined by distant stands of trees, but all alone in the cold morning.

It seemed much smaller than we imagined, just a collection of stones, silhouetted against the white morning light. But as we approached them from the visitor’s center and realized just how big they were, we better understood why people were so curious about how it came to be.

The way the enormous stones were stacked together would have been strange enough, but stranger still, there were no stones or visible rocks to be seen anywhere around it in the surrounding landscape. There had been none for miles.

That’s just one of the many mysteries that baffle historians, archaeologists, and anyone else who has ever studied the prehistoric monument known as Stonehenge.

How did the stones get there?

Who arranged them the way they are, and how were they made, in an age where there were no metal tools, no sophisticated cranes or cantilever systems, no rail to haul them?

What were they for?

And oddly enough, you step under the arch, into the circle, and the temperature drops ten degrees. It’s like walking into a still wall of cold, and you almost expect your breath to fog.

It’s not altogether surprising – there are a lot of geothermal and electromagnetic oddities tied to places of spiritual significance, from the sites of ancient places of worship to places people consider haunted – but it’s still startling to feel.

Then you look around at just how big the arches are, and how well cut and aligned, and can’t help but wonder just how it all came together.

I’m baffled, amazed, and beyond overjoyed that there are still places in this world of science and analysis that are still mysterious and miraculous to us.

Scott and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to get this close up and personal look at this historic monument.

At the time we visited Stonehenge, there were only a couple of tours allowed to go inside the circle {we chose Premium Tours UK for our Stonehenge sunrise tour}, and then, only right at sunrise or at sunset.

It was all part of preserving it from the inevitable people who think visiting a beautiful piece of history involves carving their names on it or defacing it in some way. Looking at you, awful girl with your so-called art.

Because of people like that, I’ve heard now that tours are no longer allowed inside the circle at all.

As for the weather? Well, either we just got damn lucky, or our guide had a little bit more magic and conjuring up his sleeve than he was letting on.

Our visit to Stonehenge kicked off a full day of hiking, wandering, and exploring, to be finished with a wonderful round of pub-grub hospitality, which we’ll explore Wednesday and which flavors the recipe inspired by this month’s iteration of Food Exploring. I hope you’ve enjoyed so far!

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