I’ve always thought Stonehenge was just a bunch of old rocks arranged in a strange circle. And I was right … right up until I walked across the ropes that are supposed to keep the tourists out on the perimeter walkways.
Suddenly, the rocks seemed so much more than just rocks. When were stepped into the inner circle, I felt the chills of knowing that we were walking in the footsteps of someone who had been here thousands of years before.
I’ve never really gave much thought to the difference between old and new. But one of the first things we learned is that the UK takes great pride in their “old.” In contrast, we tend to think a building is old if it was built after 1950. Shoot, we tear down “old” houses that were built in the 70s and 80s! In Britain, if I say new, they think at least 18th century. Old is everything else.
And it didn’t take long before I had the same blasé attitude towards structures that were built in the 1800s. In fact, during our stay at Ballyfin, I was disappointed that the manor house was less than two hundred years old. (Wait, that’s another story … stay focused …)
However, I was suitably impressed by the church that was built in 979.
We started the visit with a trip to Woodhenge … that prior to this afternoon, I didn’t even know if existed. Apparently, someone with a bent towards digging in the dirt for ancient stuff, found the original settlement about a mile from Stonehenge. Within the settlement, they found a circle that mimicked Stonehenge but made out of wood.
The speculation is that Woodhenge was the life and ceremony site of the settlement and Stonehenge was the site of death rituals. Either way, it was lots of fun to climb on.
Then we moved on the Stonehenge. When you first see the imposing stones set against the fading sun, you realize the strength and ingenuity of the original settlers as they hauled, fought, shaped and stacked the monstrosities into a circular formation.
Anyway, we wandered around the stones, taking pictures and thinking of the millions of people for thousands of years who have stumbled upon these stones and left their own distinct imprints.
Sidenote: this picture entertains me because the boys spent a lot of time trying to get that perfect shot …
All in all, I think that Stonehenge was my favorite part of the trip.