London 2013: Our Bus Trip to Stonehenge

We saw the sunrise only once during our London stay. That was the day (Friday, September 27th) we took a long, long ride on a mini-bus to Stonehenge and a few other places in southwest England.

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Sunrise from hotel window down the hallway from our room on the 12th floor.

We were told to be in front of the Cumberland Hotel near the Marble Arch by 7:30am and so we were, giving ourselves 45 minutes for the Tube Central Line trip during the morning commute. But we made it in 22 minutes, allowing some time to meet some of our fellow passengers before pouring into a mini-bus with 12 other people plus David, our driver / tour guide for the day. Joining us were a couple from Texas, another from Southern California, another from Canada, a mother and daughter from Minnesota, two young British women and two other young women who sat across from us and never opened their mouths once to speak to anyone except each other. So I don’t know where they were from but I doubt they spoke English very well.

This particular bus tour was not our first choice. We had wished to go to Salisbury to see their great cathedral and then on to Bath to see their Roman ruins but that trip was all booked up by the time we went online to the Viator website to book our excursion. So we joined the Stonehenge-Glastonbury-Avebury tour.

We didn’t know it then but more than half of the next twelve hours would be spent on this bus. Our driver David was very knowledgeable and had a gift of gab and so kept us entertained during the hour and a half trip to Stonehenge. We learned a lot about the history of Stonehenge including stories about the modern-day Druids who flock to the sacred site during summer solstice. We were a bit disappointed, though, when he decided to take a short-cut and so we were not allowed to see Stonehenge from far-off on the main road approach.

We were also disappointed with our tour guide when we arrived at Stonehenge. David gave us our entrance vouchers, told us to get back to the bus in 45 minutes and promptly disappeared. We noticed that other tour guides stayed with their groups, leading them around the stones and pointing out various things about the environs. David probably covered everything on the bus that the other tour guides did on site but it wasn’t the same. Besides, I believe I dozed off once or twice during the trip and so missed some of his narrative.

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This sign stands at the visitor entrance.

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Map and timeline of Stonehenge Down.

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Believe it or not but Stonehenge is older than I.

Stonehenge is roped off and we were not allowed to deviate from the path as we walked around the monument. During our walk I took 58 pictures and most of my photos probably look like everyone else’s. Here are my nine best:

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I used my 24-105mm zoom lens today. This shot was taken at 45mm.

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The large sandstones are local but the smaller bluestones, some as heavy as four tons, came from a place in Wales about 150 miles away. 24mm.

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This one was cropped for effect. 40mm.

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There are about as many stones laying on the ground as there are standing up. 24mm.

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I think most scenes are more interesting when people are in them. 47mm.

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Exactly how and why Stonehenge was built remains a mystery today. 85mm.

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I wish I was here at sunrise. 28mm.

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People began building Stonehenge about 5,000 years ago.84mm.

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Back near the beginning of our walk around the monument. 28mm.

On our way back to the bus I took these shots of murals along the walled ramp back to the small visitor center and parking lot. The visitor center we saw was not much more than a souvenir shop and some rest rooms. I understand that a new visitor centre has recently opened that is about a mile away from the stones and the one we saw will be torn down soon.

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An artist’s idea of what Stonehenge may have looked like 4,000 years ago.

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An idea of the manpower needed to put the huge stones in place.

After Stonehenge we drove west to Glastonbury, which is in Somerset County, a tad south of Wales, and will be the subject of my next four postings.

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About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in London, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to London 2013: Our Bus Trip to Stonehenge

  1. Pingback: Stonehenge Revisited | Crow Canyon Journal

  2. Pingback: MM 4-04 Avebury Stones | Crow Canyon Journal

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