Surreality in Stonehenge

Carolyn Allen is a student at Florida State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Carolyn is currently studying abroad in London on an ISA Summer 2 Program.

Last Sunday the ISA group headed to Stonehenge, Saluisbury and Bath. Because it was such a jam packed day, we had to leave at 8 am. We boarded the bus around 8:30, and began our 2 hour journey. Most people fell asleep on the long ride, but unfortunately I did not – probably because I was sitting in the second row very near our quite loud and self-amused tour guide.

As we made our way out of London’s city limits and the brick buildings turned into green pastures, I thought about the day ahead of us. My thoughts went something like this:

“Stonehenge will be cool, I guess. I mean I don’t know how exciting a giant pile of rocks can be, but whatever. I have no idea what’s in Salisbury, so that could be interesting…or it could be a bust. Bath-now that’s exciting! Practically all of Jane Austen’s novels are set there, so it has to be cool.”

I think the early morning had something to do with my semi-sour mood, but for some reason I really wasn’t that excited about the day. I love exploring new places, but the Sunday’s agenda just wasn’t intriguing me.

Two hours later, we made it to Stonehenge, and the minute I stepped off of the bus my mood was instantly elevated. First of all the weather was absolutely perfect – blue skies, large white cotton ball clouds, a shining sun, and mid 70 degree temperature. Compared with the constant rain and grey skies, how could I not enjoy this day?

Second of all, that giant pile of rocks is pretty darn cool. They’re monstrous in size, incredibly old (as old as the pyramids!), and quite mysterious- no one knows exactly why they’re there. And by far the coolest thing about Stonehenge, in my opinion, is that it still operates as an accurate celestial calendar. Every year on June 21 – the summer solstice- the sun rises and aligns perfectly with the heel stone and the altar stone in the center of the circle. How cool is that??

Despite the large crowd of tourists that also flocked to the site on Sunday (how dare they go on the same day as us!), I was still able to get some incredible photos and to revel in the mystery of this ancient pile of rocks.

As I glanced once more at Stonehenge before the boarding the bus, I thought back to my less-than-enthused attitude an hour ago and laughed, thinking “Oh how mistaken I was..”

I boarded the bus anticipating the surprises awaiting me 20 miles away in Salisbury.

P.S. I’ve already been here two weeks! I can’t even stand the thought of leaving in 7 days.

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