Stonehenge and Downton

Hello Ancient and Mysterious People!

The fifth day marked our journey to Stonehenge, which seemed to get some people very excited. I saw it a few years ago so I was not as crazy about driving all the way out to where it was located, but I was willing to give it a second chance. There were also some other places we were going to that day that sounded interesting, so I was not too worried.

That morning my flat got up a bit earlier and headed over to talk to the staff that works for our dorm. It was nothing especially exciting as we just handed over some papers they needed and asked a few questions about the mail service. We then loaded onto the coach and headed on our way to the first stop of the day: Highclere Castle.

Some of you may already know this, but Highclere Castle is where the show Downton Abbey is filmed. It is a really good show about an affluent family during the Great War and what they do to get through it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes history, drama, British accents, and good acting. It was very strange to walk through the house of a TV show’s cast and know that they are not real, but at the same time except to see them out and about. Although there were lots of people touring the grounds so that helped to break the allusion.

Amy and Austin both had never watched Downton Abbey so we all watched the first episode the night before to get them acquainted with the house before going. It was lots of fun to watch it together and then walk around the house and remember what parts different rooms were from. There was actually a few times where I would get really excited and mention how one area was in the episode from the night before to them, such as when we came down the stairs I looked at Austin and very happily stated, “Remember when Mary and the Duke were talking, well this is where they where! We are standing where they were standing!” I pretty much was just geeking-out all over the place.

We then, not to my liking, left Highclere Castle and headed to Stonehenge. It was only about a 40 minute drive though, so that was not too bad. We then got off the coach and got in line to see Stonehenge, which took about five minutes. We then went through a tunnel (since Stonehenge is on the other side of the highway) and emerged near the great circle of stones.

In movies it always looks like you can walk right up to the giant rocks, but actually they have them roped off so that you are about 100 feet from them at all times. Although, apparently on Winter and Summer Solstices they let you walk up and touch them. I would like to say there is more to report about what we did at Stonehenge, but there really is not. It is an interesting and ancient place, but not really one of my personal favorites as the highway runs right next to it and there are usually so many tourists it is difficult to get anywhere close. It also usually seems to be rainy and overcast there a lot.

Lastly, we headed to Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury. It was built a long time ago in order to move the city of Sarum from on top of a hill where they could not expand to where it is now. You can also visit Old Sarum nearby, but it is just a foundation of the old church that is left.

Salisbury Cathedral is the tallest piece of Gothic architecture in England, and quite a sight to behold. I had seen it a few years ago but it had been under construction. It was nice to see it near completion with the construction and get to look more closely at its beautiful walls and windows.

Inside it has lots of stained glass, although some windows are just plain. It also has a huge area for worship that goes pretty much from the front to the back filled with chairs. We stayed there to hear the Eversong, which is some type of service they put on. We listened to the children’s choir sing, along with the general service. It was very awe-inspiring to look at such great architecture and hear angelic voices in song.

We then sadly had to return home to our flats. Although it was one member of our group from HPU’s birthday so we stopped by their room to wish her Happy Birthday and hang out for a bit, before going back home and sleeping late the next day.

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and start enjoying the journey.” -Fitzhugh Mullan

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