Monday, June 8, 2009

Train Ride, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Magna Carta

We started out our week in London with a little 'side trip' out of the city down to see Stonehenge. We took a couple of subway (Underground) trips down to Waterloo station and then a train down to Salisbury. It was great having a chance to see the wonderful, and GREEN countryside. Coming from the desert in Utah it was pleasing to see an area that is just green naturally.

There were community gardens by the train tracks - and they didn't even need to have irrigation!

Both Jill and Ryan commented that they could easily live here. I agree.

We then caught a bus out of Salisbury up to the plains north of there where we spent and hour or so walking around the Stonehenge site. We used those little 'voice in a box' guides that talked us through the history and myths surrounding the big stones. Way impressive.

I can't even imagine the amount of effort it must have taken to bring all those stones to the site and erect them. 240 miles for the smaller stones - 240 MILES! These were just the 5-7 ton versions. The 45 ton ones had to come from *only* 20 miles away. And then to get them all placed correctly and both plumb and level? With only stone-age tools... incredible!

Then down to the city/town of Salisbury for a visit to the Salisbury Cathedral. The tallest spire in all of England at 404 feet. This would dwarf the Notre Dame... It was a huge chapel - with many cool artifacts. (We also checked out another great little church called St. Thomas Beckett that was also pretty cool to see)

This stuff in England is *old*! We're just not used to things that are 5, 6, 700 or more years old. I think the oldest thing in Utah is maybe 150 years old.

On top of seeing the great Salisbury Cathedral - to the side in a building called the 'Chapter House' they had a one of the original - only four left - copies of the Magna Carta. This was signed into law in 1215 - and is the basis for not only English Laws - but also the Constitution of the United States, and many other countries.

We had some English Fish and Chips at a little Fish&Chips place in the town square before heading back to London on the train.

Alysha is LOVING all the shopping available here. I think she's been in 5-6 stores already, and we've only been here 28 hours or so. Jill and Alysha just love to shop. So I think they'll have a great time in London.

By the way - getting around on the Underground is a breeze. We picked up some 'Oyster' cards for electronic boarding of all the subway and buses. Highly recommended. Having public transport is pretty darn cool. It would be great to have in America... but we don't have too many places dense enough to make it work. So we'll just stay attached to our cars. (though some folks I spoke with here said they also like their cars for doing most things)

Photos from the day...Classic Medieval Gothic Filigree
English countryside on our way to SalisburyIn front of Stonehenge
I agree!
Riding an escalator up to the Waterloo Train Station
Alysha thought these 'nerds' had an even funnier name here... 'Weirds'
Leave Ryan with a camera and Alysha alone... too much ANTM!
This picture was etched to a solid crystal prism - amazing!
Central Gothic Arches made for a Round Chapter House
What the actual Stonehenge probably looked like
The Magna Carta - little 4-5 point latin chancery type
Rising 404' in the sky - tallest in the UK
From the Salisbury Cathedral - nicely done!
Some birds getting a bit 'familiar' with the sheep
Stonehenge and an overcast sky
This would have been great to see in it's original pristine condition


Janet said...

When I was in England I felt that way too, that I could easily live there. It felt "familiar". I'm guessing that's because our Parsons people came from England so it's our ancestral home!

Side note: Keith, if you're getting a new iphone, Heather would be interested in one of your old ones.

Karrissa Winward said...

I love the English countryside. Did you guys lie naked on Stonehenge? I hear it has healing power, maybe only when there is a full moon though. However, at anytime someone is there naked there could be a "full moon"! Oh, I am so funny. Alysha looks gorgeous. I am sad to know that you guys left her in the hotel room alone- hello, I warned you about Taken!!

Gramps said...

I like the new black jackets you purchased. You sure are having a fun time. I'm glad you were able to do this.

Gram said...

I loved, loved reading about all you did and are doing. It was fun to talk with you, too. I wished I could have seen the cathedrals and all of it so I am enjoying all your posts and pictures. I am happy Alysha felt well enough to go to "Phantom". It would be a shame to miss it. Can you believe it is as old as Ryan, at least that production there? Enjoy, Enjoy! Mom