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(18 August 2017)

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  London | Salisbury | Whitstable | Oxford | Hereford 
  Stratford-upon-Avon | Winchester | Hastings | Broadstairs | Deal / Sandwich | The Wedding 

Salisbury has always been a place I have wanted to visit but just somehow never managed to.  Am I glad I made it this time!  Salisbury was my first BritRail Pass day trip and the approximately one-and-a-half-hour train trip out of Waterloo was a delight.  I passed villages, towns, cities and gorgeous farmland.  After Basingstoke I saw farms with horses, pigs, hay, and loads of trees.  The first thing I did upon arrival was saunter into town in search of breakfast, my first Full English Breakfast, and I was ready for it.  I came across Carwadine's and although a rather strange way of serving people, I got my Full English Breakfast which wasn't bad.  Just behind Carwadine's is a little square that is worth looking at, and where you'll find St. Thomas's Church and the quaint clock.  Like so many old English towns, you can expect to walk through a city gate or two, and Salisbury is no different.
    Salisbury, England  

Suitably fortified, it was then off to see the sights, and of course, the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge.  I couldn't for the life of me find an Information Centre so I just relied on the "you are here" maps scattered about.  There were just two things I needed to do in Salisbury: see the cathedral and Stonehenge.  I meandered to the cathedral which is pretty impressive.  Another huge church with spires and beautiful sculptures that left me standing with my mouth agape.  The nave is spectacular and the sheer enormity of the cathedral is staggering, and there is so much to see before you even get to the incredible Magna Carta, dating back to 1215.  The Magna Carta is housed in the Chapter House which in itself is impressive (look at the ceiling and also stories from the Bible around the vestibule in medieval friezes) and may not be photographed.  You'll notice throughout my travel pages that wherever possible I include pictures of stained glass windows, and on this trip I had my fill!  I find them so spiritual and so moving.  Construction on the cathedral began in 1220 and today has the tallest church spire in the U.K. at 404 feet (123 metres).

After the magnificence of the cathedral it was time to hop on the tour bus for the 35-minute drive out to Stonehenge.  Half-way there the heavens opened and dumped an incredible thunder and lightning rainstorm on us.  I was sitting upstairs in front of the bus and got quite a fright.  The bus driver didn't hesitate and hurtled along through the pouring rain.  By the time we got to the parking lot and ticket booth at Stonehenge, it had cleared somewhat but had turned rather cool.  Needless to say I had neither an umbrella nor a sweater.  I caught the little shuttle bus for the mile or so trip to the actual stones and walked from the little parking lot.  There is a walking path should you prefer to go on foot.  There in all its glory were the famed and revered Stonehenge stones.

So much smaller than I imagined but quite a moving sight to behold.  It's exactly how I thought it would be and although you cannot get up close to the stones, at some parts of the walk around them you do get within about 20 or 30 feet (6-9 metres).  From the visitor shuttle drop-off, you walk clockwise around.  Stonehenge was probably built around 3000 BC to 2000 BC.  You can also use an audio guide if you wish.  There is an exhibit with more information about this famous landmark.

Give yourself at least a full hour there and a bit longer if you would like to meditate or want to spend extra time.  Don't forget the longish bus ride just to get there.  As I turned to leave I saw a lovely bit of wild English countryside in the form of some flowers.

The Southwest trains had wi-fi and a food service cart which was handy as I could have a coffee for £2.30 (about $3).  The train seats were tiny and like most trains, a little cramped.  But, I got a seat with a table and could stretch out a bit.  I didn't see any electrical outlets though.  On the homeward journey I was filled with awe and almost couldn't quite believe I had finally seen Stonehenge in person.  Check.


Stonehenge Salisbury (English Heritage) - Near Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE
Web: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/StonehengeEH/
Twitter: twitter.com/EH_Stonehenge
Instagram: www.instagram.com/stonehenge/?hl=en
Not an inexpensive sight by any means.  £15 ($20) just for a bus ride to the stones or £29 ($39) for a bus ride and entry to the stones.  If you are in a car you can drive out there and see Stonehenge from a vantage point along the A303.  Check the website for discounts.

Salisbury Cathedral & Magna Carta -Chapter Office, 6 The Close, Salisbury Wiltshire SP1 2EF
Tel: 01722 555120
Web: www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/salisburycathedral
Twitter: twitter.com/SalisburyCath
E-mail: chapter.office@salcath.co.uk
Free to visit but donations are graciously accepted.

Carwadine's Salisbury - 2-3 Bridge Street, Salisbury, SP1 2LX
Web: www.carwardines.com/
A little weird service arrangement but I got my Full English Breakfast for £4.50 (about $6)

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