Sunrise at Stonehenge

Sunrise at Stonehenge

 

I’ve waffled many times, on this blog and others, whether or not I want to have a food blog, a travel blog, or some other kind of blog. As you know, if you’ve clicked around here a bit, that we’re all about food and drinks around here. But food and drinks are best shared sitting around a table with cherished friends and family and sharing stories.

There are just a few stories left in the files around here that have little or nothing to do with food that I just have to share. And this is one of them – one of my favorite adventures to date, an exploration of the village of Lacock and the city of Bath that Scott and I went on, starting with a sunrise stop at the iconic stone circle at Stonehenge.

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. And the minute everyone on the bus saw it, we all just hushed and tried to take it in with that mixture of what we’re actually feeling and expectation of what we think we should be feeling that everyone gets when they’re about to see a thing of legend.

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. They look small, situated out in the end of a vast open plain, until you walk up on them.

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.

So, that’s a story for you. How we were able to travel at sunrise to stand inside one of the most famous landmarks in England and really experience it. And the photos are ones I just have to share, even on a mostly-food-blog!

What are your favorite travel memories, and where do you share those?

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