Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Well, it was quite a bit smaller than I had imagined...

Salisbury - it really does look like a Constable painting
Bro and GF left for Paris this morning. Ah, Paris... Have you ever been to the Louvre and looked at the Mona Lisa? Was it smaller than you had imagined it? It was for me; despite knowing the dimensions I had always pictured, well, a bigger picture...

The same thing goes for Stonehenge, where Bro, Girlfriend, Tall Guy and I went this weekend. It was interesting. It is amazing to think that the stones weren't trucked in and put into place by cranes. It was neat to be at a UNESCO site, a site we'd read about, heard about, imagined, and seen in photos and movies.

we're here!
But, in my imagination, everything was bigger.

one of 127 photos we took...
 Anyway, we did have a grand day out. Our train arrived at Salisbury Station just as a tour bus was leaving for Stonehenge, perfect! We alternated between trying not to laugh at the girl who was brushing her eyebrows (I did not take a picture of that), and laughing at Tall Guy's interpretation of our driver's commentary ("of COURSE the Jews didn't build Stonehenge, that's stupid!" The driver had said, "thanks to carbon dating, we can be sure that the druids did not build Stonehenge".)

Stonehenge - the mural
Stonehenge was less touristy than we were expecting. The ticket booths and parking lot for Stonehenge are across the road, and only a low rope separates the visitor from the stones. It's not quite yet high tourist season either, so it wasn't very busy. The streets aren't lined with booths selling plush Stonehenges, no one is hawking Stonehengewiches or Hengeburgers. There is no terribly annoying photographer forcing you to have your picture taken in front of a green screen, and subsequently no employee trying to sell you a very expensive photo of yourself with your eyes closed or in the middle of a sneeze.

There was a little gift shop near the exit, but we didn't have to exit through it, and we did pick up audio guides at the beginning. Other than myself, our little group originally scoffed at this, but I insisted - after all, they were included in our admission fee, and I like to comment on the commentary at historic sites - it's the museum studies student in me. The commentary was predictable, and it was tiresome to listen without headphones and to take the devices off from around our necks each time we took a picture, but the guides did come in handy: we used them to swat at the plague of green beetles that emerged from the grass as we sat down for our picnic.

Commentary #6 - spaceships were NOT used to transport the stones...
Stonehenge - it's not a druid (or a Jewish) temple, an alien spacecraft did not build it as a landing pad, the Egyptians didn't make their slaves work on their building skills here, Merlin the magician didn't wave his wand and fly the stones over from Ireland, and the Atlanteans didn't erect it just before Atlantis fell into the sea. Whatever it isn't, Stonehenge is intriguing: an ancient civilization moved enormous, heavy stones more than 100 km, and a millennium tribute event failed to bring even one (it sunk). We spent the train ride home inventing outrageous theories to answer the how and the why, but it's possible we'll never know, and that's OK. Some things are better left to the imagination.


  1. Stonehenge still looks big to me in your photos. But I agree, Mona Lisa is disappointingly small.

  2. it's a weird place isn't it? did you go to salisbury cathedral also? it's kind of cool to see the magna carta!

  3. The cathedral was LOVELY! No magna carta though, as mass was being said. I did love the fountain though.