Saturday, November 30, 2019

_________________________ STONEHENGE ___________________________

Here we are, a couple of Kiwi tourists goggling at a famous piece of iconic English history and heritage. It was a hard won view. I hadn't driven a manual geared car for several decades. To get there I drove a manual geared car (The English still LOVE manual cars and all power to them I say.) that had been generously loaned to us all the way from Cambridge to Stonehenge and back again on various 6 lane M25 type motorways. In England traffic lights are rare but roundabouts are ubiquitous. Counting the multiple exits as the GPS told us in calm tones to "Go over the roundabout and take the seventh exit" yikes! was quite an experience. In New Zealand we go around the roundabouts not over them, but that's ok, every country has its own version of English grammar. The hard part for me was that counting the exits as I thrashed my way around the manual gearbox on the two lane roundabouts was difficult when the exits were often obscured by semi trailer trucks the size of air craft carriers. So I was happy on the way down to Stonehenge and back to Cambridge on the M25 to simply crawl along for 20 minutes or so in various places including for a longer time in the vicinity of the motorway exits to Luton airport. It gave me time to gather my wits and equilibrium (but worry about the new bits of iron filings floating around in the manual gear box.)

Stonehenge was smaller than I thought it would be but I found it none the less impressive. At the visitor centre (Which is sensibly a kilometer or more away from the stone site) there is an impressive time lapse presentation of Stonehenges' history that shows how the site would have looked at the time the stones were erected. There is also a museum with various artifacts that have been found on the site over the years.

Comprehensive information about Stonehenge can be found here on the official website:

We were lucky with the weather so were able to appreciate the broad undulating Salisbury plain and its big skies and soft vistas. We shared it with literally hundreds of other tourists - a reality at interesting sites on a crowded planet.

This is a photograph of a photograph that was on an information plaque - Stonehenge in the winter.

Stonehenge has a feeling of mystery about it. It is a link to another culture, world and world view. Its essence had a feeling of great remoteness to me - it is a shell of its former substance and meaning. Like many of these sites, we are looking at a husk of a former time and life. The living cultural context and the vitality of life that animated Stonehenge has been lost in the mists of time.

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