Bath, Glastonbury, Wells, Stonehenge, Salisbury
I’ve heard it beaten to death that Stonehenge is not impressive. I disagree. Stonehenge – seen just as a monument – is not tall, wide, cavernous, colourful, gilded, carved or any other kind of awe inspiring structure. But when I dug deep into when, where and why it came to be, it blew my mind. The fantastic alignment with the solstice sun was spine-chilling, and the remains found here dating to circa 2500 B.C. was a find of sorts for humanity. As I walked around the circle, the pagans came alive in my head, chanting as they walked around and inside the structure as they carried out their eerie rituals. The craziest part is, to this day and age we still don’t know for sure what they used it for. And I think that’s pretty neat. I will recommend Stonehenge to anyone who asks me, but only if they are willing to learn what it stands for before they go.
Salisbury Cathedral turned out to be my favourite on the road so far. It’s high arches beckoned me to evensong and the modern art stained glass on the east window had an incomprehensible story hidden within its every rash of colour. The best part (and probably the reason it is my favourite) was the poignant finely etched glass prism tucked away in the morning chapel – made by Laurence Whistler as a memory to his brother Rex Whistler who died in WW-II. I could sit and stare at it all day, it was hypnotic as it revolved in its little case – art and science coming together to cast a spell like only they can.
The great part about staying overnight in places that are usually day trip destinations is that you see the town empty early in the morning and late at night. The crowds drain out in the same rush that they appeared and the city preens in the absence of gawkers. And if it is a pretty city like Bath, it just turns Georgian glorious! Here’s to Bath, my base city in the south-west!