Friday, July 14, 2006

A Day of Stones; Circled and White

Well, Day One of our road trip. How did it go?

Pretty damn well, actually.

We left in good time; I’d been aiming for 10am but we were away by nine. The traffic wasn’t too bad leaving London. An hour or so into the journey, the overhead signs warned of delays ahead, so we told the SatNav to route us around it and we ended up with an absolutely beautiful drive through the English countryside, ending up at Avebury around 11am. [Pictures here.]

We spent a while wondering around the circumference of the stone circle on top of the embankment which, once we got out of the village, was so peaceful and rural; watching a farmer driving in and out of the stones collecting his hay bales. We also came across a group of tourists sitting in the shadow of one of the big stones being lectured on the mystical power of crystals… People are strange.

When we got back to the village we settled down for pub grub at The Red Lion. Then we were back in the car for the run south to Stone Henge. It was another lovely drive, but Stone Henge was very different from Avebury; there were people everywhere; coachloads of people. Fortunately the crush abated somewhat once we got through the tunnel and we got good views of the monument itself. [Pictures here.]

Actually the weather today has been just perfect; showing off England at its best. Sunshine and clear skies, but not too hot.

We left Stone Henge around three and headed for the white stone splendours of Bath. [Pictures here.] The SatNav came into its own again, finding us a scenic back road into town and then locating a car park. We spent a couple of hours in Bath, visiting the Abbey and the Roman Baths, before heading on to our hotel (well, our Travelodge) for the night.

Jim is proving a pleasant travelling companion – although I did have to point out to him that smoking on a petrol station forecourt was probably not a good idea. He seems keen on pre- and ancient-history, so today has been right up his street. Tomorrow I think we’re going to do Cardiff first thing, rather than going back to Bath, which will give us time to take in some ruined castle or other on the way home on Sunday…

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