You can’t walk among the standing stones at Stonehenge anymore. All visitors are relegated to the periphery and made to walk the short pilgrimage around. Most of us are stuffed into our jackets, with the free(ish) audio guide tucked in near our heads and if you are lucky, a hood or beanie as well. I say free(ish) because the audio guide is free however, to get into the now gated rock community, you must pay £3 plus another £7.80 each to get inside. (You do get your £3 discounted off one ticket however). With the winds whipping against you, reminding you that you are in English territory, you closely listen to the history and folklore of the area. Why are there mounds of dirt around us? How did the rocks get here in the first place? Do people really think aliens have supplanted the rocks to this location? There really isn’t too much mystery regarding the rocks anymore. We know where they came from and probably how they were transported. The only real question remaining is why. And that is usually the age old question for most uncommon occurrences in our lives.
Getting to Stonehenge isn’t really so difficult. What was a little surreal to me was the contradiction I had where I thought it was weird we drove down a long windy road through green fields (I didn’t realize it was so remote!) and lining up in a queue to turn on the road to the parking lot (there are so many people here). We parked our little rental car, amongst all the other little, and possibly rented, cars in the dirt parking lot. Paid our parking and passed through the gated fence. If you don’t want to pay for parking, you can risk parking on the road. If you don’t want to pay for the entrance fee, you can just peak over and through the fence. I read there is a project to remove the road from Stonehenge and make it a little harder to get there. And by harder, I mean more than crossing a road and walking through a fence. I agree on the change. I think something this mystical requires more effort to fully appreciate it. I know the cold English wind made me fully appreciate where I was and isolation of the rocks, even though there were a hundred people around me possibly thinking the same thing.
After our little trek to Stonehenge, (Thank you to Thomas and Tom for suggesting Stonehenge and driving us out here! We really appreciated it.), we stopped for lunch at Salisbury. We had a delightful late lunch at the Ox Row and then proceeded to check out the Salisbury Cathedral where they had grave stones in the church floor (common for English churches it appears) and morbid looking tombs of long dead affiliates to the church.
Click on any of the images below to see them larger.