Bucket list item #14: A tour of the Stonehenge
I have always been fascinated with places that leave you asking questions on how they were built. The Stonehenge, Easter island, the Pyramids of Giza; to list a few. It makes you wonder how people back then were able to build these places without the use of the kind of technology we have today. Many will argue there are scientific explanations, others will say we had help from extra terrestrial beings - we all have our own beliefs and opinions. I’m not sure what I believe in, all I know is when I went to the Stonehenge, I felt something I don’t think I could ever put into words.
I knew I was going to be in the UK for a couple of days, and usually when I’m about to travel to a country, I go on different travel apps to see what kind of tours are available. I like to create a mini bucket list of things I can do. The Stonehenge just so happened to be one of the tours suggested. I quickly checked my itinerary and made sure I had a free day available to book a day tour through Expedia. The tour I had booked included a visit to the Windsor Castle and the Roman Baths.
I had loads of fun. I’m a bit of a nerd and I had just finished watching The Crown on Netflix, so going to the Windsor Castle was exciting to me. We had the opportunity to go inside, and go through the different apartments that they had - though you aren’t allowed to take photos. I saw the Royal guards, which come on, that’s some iconic shit right there. You can’t say you went to the UK without seeing those men with the big bearskin hats. Now the rumour is they aren’t supposed to talk or show any kind of emotion. I stood next to one to take a photo and whispered, “Must be tiring having to stand there and take photos with us tourists.” To which he mumbled back, “Only another four hours to go.” Scared the shit out of me because I wasn’t expecting him to speak, but I wished him luck and he chuckled under his breath as I walked away. A tourist in my own country; imagine that.
We went to the Roman Baths next, but unfortunately didn’t have enough time to actually go in and explore the place. I suppose that can be one of the down sides to going on group tours. Everything has a time limit, and you’re usually going around the same times other tour companies are so the queues to the different places can be long. There was a nice park nearby though, with a band playing, so it wasn’t a total loss. I took the opportunity to admire the architecture. It was definitely different from being in the Philippines.
By the time we got back onto the bus, and they announced our next stop was the Stonehenge, I was exhausted. I even took a little nap while we were going there. However, that all changed when we got to the place. Since it was part of the tour, our tickets had already been pre-purchased. We were given audio sets that provided us with a background on how and why the Stonehenge exists. You’re given the option of either walking out to where the stones were, or you can take a bus that will drop you about 100 meters out. I went on the bus with one of the other solo traveler I had met during the tour, and we started off listening to the tale of the Stonehenge.
Now when I mentioned earlier that I don't know how to explain how the atmosphere felt, the best word to describe it would be mystical. It might have been because you can only view the stones from a distance, or it might have been because of the strong breeze that was present that day. But I remember at one point I just stopped and sat down on the grass facing it. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular. My mind just went blank, and I got lost in the moment. The whole experience was surreal.
The main stack of stones is known as the Stone Circle. It's estimated to be about 4,500 years old. There's an open field around it that is managed by the National Trust, with what looks to be little hills, but I actually found out that they were burial mounds. There's an exhibition you can also go to that features more than 250 archaeological objects related to the history of the Stonehenge.
I know not everyone would be interested in visiting a place like this. I remember when I told my brother I was going to go to the Stonehenge, he scoffed and said it wasn't worth it. I would have to disagree. If you're into the mystical, mysterious things in life, I would definitely suggest a trip here. It will take your breath away.