Saturday, 28 September 2013

Very-nearly but Not-visiting Stonehenge

TEAM FIRE not-visited Stonehenge on a day trip the other day. We took a train from London Waterloo to Salisbury (around £36 return), then the X5 bus (£6.40 for day return) from Salisbury to Amesbury, and then walked from Amesbury and almost got to Stonehenge. This is an account of the non-visit to Stonehenge.

P9246931

Salisbury

Salisbury and Amesbury both look very pleasant, amply catering to the tourism in the area. Hippy daytrippers and tourists with big cameras. Quaint cafes and people having their all day full english breakfast. We walked from the train station to a bus terminal a short distance away to take the X5 to Amesbury which was a little bit up north. From there our plan was to walk up to the highway and then to the left until we hit Stonehenge.

P9256946

Stonehenge Road in Amesbury

P9256961

This way to Stonehenge...

P9256942

Crossing the river Avon on Queensberry Bridge which was built in 1775. The river brings water to the area and is thought to have been used to transport stone for Stonehenge.

P9246939

This strange cow was staring at us. So we stared back at it.

P9256966

There was a dead bird on the road.

P9256951

I was very amused by these flowers growing everywhere. They seem to be some sort of wild orchid, but I had never seen such flowers before.

P9256954

A small ladybug hitched a ride on George's pant leg whilst we had stooped down to look at the orchids. It must have taken a yen to George's trousers, because it could not be detached initially, causing some trauma as I didn't know how to remove it without hurting it.

P9256953

Another ladybug having a crawl on George's hand.

P9256988

We found another strange sight - a snail on another snail on a poppy flower?

P9257003

The dandelions got more and more massive. They were even... crunchy? Made a raspy sound, they were so big.

P9256970

The road was just ridiculously long.

P9256998

Finally, Stonehenge came into view from the distance.

P9257002

The approach by foot to Stonehenge via Amesbury does not lead you to a proper entrance, but rather a sheep gate. Basically they've built a massive fence around Stonehenge. Another important discovery we made as we finally got there at 6.30pm was that Stonehenge closes at 6pm. You must be thinking, how can Stonehenge close at 6pm, well before the sun sets? Well it does. It just does. I find it completely absurd that such a policy should stand. Its still there but someone says its shut at 6pm. It doesn't mean you can't walk up to Stonehenge or see it behind the fence, but the security won't let you in, and attracted by us disturbing the sheep and walking up to fence, the security gravitated to us, as we pressed our sticky hands and faces between the gaps in the the human-sized fence.

P9257014

IMG_1667

We also bumped into some other eastern-european-sounding tourists trying to get in but also had been turned away.

P9257006

P9257013

Eventually I turned my attentions to chasing sheep. Unfortunately, sheep seem to be engineered to run away from people. So I did not get to touch any sheep.

P9257011

And so that was how we not-visited Stonehenge, yet there it is, behind the construction sign...

4 comments:

  1. The flowers are probably cyclamen:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen

    And the dandelions are most probably:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon_pratensis

    The bird might be some kind of falcon. That would be unusual ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes! The flowers did have a mottled pattern on them so they must be cyclamen indeed - http://www.flickr.com/photos/arielst0rm7/9942959775/in/photostream/

      I think the bird was smaller than a falcon. I tried to go to http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdidentifier/ to find it but there were like a billion birds on it and I fell over with bird information overload. I'm also horrified to find that there are over 250 species of dandelions. I thought they were all the same (mostly), I actually hadn't seen big "crunchy" dandelions before! And it seems no one around me here in London can actually tell me the names of any trees or birds or plants so I'll have to slowly figure them out one by one! Bah! All these city people! The stuff here in the british isles is nothing like the flora and fauna of Southeast Asia...

      (ps: i dont know if i mentioned but my book does ship to netherlands now if you're still interested in it! - http://dreamsyntax.bigcartel.com )

      Delete
    2. There are two notoriously hard to identify objects:

      - birdwatchers - are notoriously afraid of "little green birds" that all look the same
      - plantspotters - are notoriously afraid of "little yellow composites" that also all look the same

      :-)

      I'll order the book!

      Delete