2015 Europe Trip: Stonehenge

Here it is guys, the final episode of my journey in exploring Britain greatest places, of course there is nothing better than ending the tour at Stonehenge, probably one of the most famous icon in Great Britain and possible in the world, thanks to their American counterpart, Microsoft. First of all, let’s start from where I left off, which was the meeting point in Bath. As many would normally do, this time around, everyone was scared, being at the meeting point ahead of the scheduled arrival, some punctuality I must say! However, as always, there are the minorities, this time around it was a couple, supposedly I guess from China, they were seated near me at the ground level, explaining the deeper impression. The tour guide was strict this time around, leaving once everyone was onboard, no leeway this time around I guess he was pretty right actually. Hey, seriously man, after paying such a costly price, I do not want to waste any of my precious time with those damn stones. IMG_2637

We drove off right on the dot, but soon I saw the couple standing nearby the bus. I saw the lady first. I mean, I am sorry, but actually I found it quite hilarious upon thinking of the expression. I feel so bad actually, seriously still laughing when I am typing this. How I wish I had a photo to show you guys her expression, but I guess you guys had to imagine. The couple was probably a couple feet away from the bus, with the bus moving off. The lady was actually having some fun with her ice cream cone, really enjoying it, licking it with her tongue and probably thinking “this is the life man, beautiful scenery and tasty food” she seemingly noticed and recognised the tour bus, which was moving off. Thus she tilt her head and her eyes was locked on to the bus,  moving and staring in dumbfound. But, but she was still enjoying her ice cream cone I guess, with her tongue still licking it. Furthermore, their belongings are onboard. My family and I just couldn’t hold it any longer and we were laughing, communicating in Hokkien too, as basically all of them couldn’t understand what we are saying. Seriously, this incident will basically just stay with me forever, one of my travelling highlights. As per normal, the tour guide was giving us some information and telling us how the visit later would be. The bus came to a stop at the traffic light about a block away and the most unexpected thing happens, loud noise were coming from the bus, the tour guide and bus driver were dumb struck too. Until the guy appears in the tour guide through the windows. He was pissed, seriously piss off the tour guide. The bus stopped for them anyway and the guy boarded first with the lady running behind him. With his basic command of English and breathless condition he tries to explain himself, while the guide just shoot him down with that prefect British slang English “YOU ARE LATE!”. Then there is the climax, with nothing else more to say the couple grab their seats, then there was the show, the tour guide begins to give them a public lecture like a teacher, saying not to be late, he might know lots about the kings and queens but patience is not his strongest suit. The best line that I like best and was most impressed goes something like this “the vast empire of Great Britain was not built without a timeline” OMG that was the best man! Seriously awed! Say about this happening in Singapore, I guess the review and complaints will start flowing. I turned back once and saw that the man was just grasping for air, totally exhausted. At this point in time, I was wandering, where is that ice cream cone? Did she gobble it down? This was probably my closest experience to “running for your life” !
In the mean time enjoyed these beautiful scenery on our way to Stonehenge, the vast views of the flat greens were beautiful. I am thinking if I could just drive here one day, lay on the grass with my beloved, having some sandwiched and a glass of Champagne, Krug would be best. This is the life man, spending the afternoon with your love one, enjoying the soft ground and the cool breeze.
A little about Stonehenge, if you have not seen it before, just go change your computer background! Stonehenge is a prehistorically site built by our ancestors in the early stages of human civilisation. Currently only a monument and a tourist attractions but definitely there is more that lies in it. Some may say that it is only stones, but hey these stones are built in 3000BC which means that they are about 5015 years old, that is fairly impressive, after some simple math, these rocks are like 250 times older than me. Built as a clock, the stones were originally place in a way that they could tell time from the sun and the moon. After thousands of years of wind, rain and snow, these rocks that you are able to see now are all that is left, perhaps quite well arranged by the natural forces. There are many myth to be said about this and I shall not go into it. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is now being maintained and protected, you can’t touch or climb the stones now as per compared in the past. The landscape and scenery that you get with your naked eyes is one that can’t be missed in your seemingly negligible life time in compared to these rocks. After much comments and reviews, the heritage decided to relocated the visitor centre about a mile away, to not destroy the visual impact and also the scenic environment of the stones.
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I am always in awed whenever I see something so magnificent and awesome, as usual with other heritage sites, the first question that I always ask myself would be how did they actually built these in the past, without modern technology and perhaps electricity, they can carry such heavy huge blocks of rocks. I am especially interested after seeing these places visually, in TV, Movies are on the Internet. To say, it is always different and so much better in your naked eye, no amount of Full HD Television or Blue ray documentary can make up for it. I am certainly going to see the Machu Picchu, Great Wall of China and the Pyramids in the future. These are the things that makes me lust for travelling every single time. I will also like to return to Barcelona and see the Sagrada Familia when it is finished in the next 20 years. Back to Stonehenge, on our journey there, the view was impeccable! We also went pass some of the small roads, where the houses are lined up on both sides. It just had that countryside feeling, I would love to retire in such a house too. The guide also provides us with some of the information of these region that we are passing by. Actually I love the feeling, not that urban. There are also some domesticated animals nearby. Soon after those houses, we just pass by large pieces of greenery, beautiful under the sun. When you see such lush greens and flat at the same time, you know that you won’t be far away from Stonehenge. This is also one of the feature of Amesbury and Salisbury. The field is just so flat and the grass are so green. Prefect to have some pictures here, although occasionally there are some changes in altitude.
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We pulled up against the entrance of the visitor and collected our audio guide for the visit. If you are expecting to be amaze by the grandeur of the Stones, you be disappointed! The visitor centre is located 1.5 mile away from the actual site of Stonehenge, this is actually a brilliant idea, which means that once you enter the actual site you will be able to experience the true ambience, it is just like a step into a couple thousands ago. As mentioned, I really hate audio guides. With the clock ticking, we quickly went to take the bus to drive us to the site. Since the site is significantly far away, besides the leisurely, back to the past walk, there are busses provided by the Stonehenge heritage, these are complimentary, it is just like taking a bus for 5 mins, where it will drive straight on and back to the site. If you do want to walk, you will also follow this path. If I had the time on my side, I will definitely walk, it will be such a better experience, prefect for some pictures. Soon the stones become apparent and my eyes were just gleaming. Near the site on the inside part there are also many sheep on the lawn, it is just such a speechless scenery. So freaking scenic. I will let you guys have a look too.
 IMG_2640 IMG_2660Of course, the stones were the main show here, it is nice and amazing to see huge part of the history in a couple years ago. If the Great Wall of China is important, this is even more. How they are destroyed due to the effects of mother nature is also an art. In the past the stones were never in this arrangement. A pity was that the sky was a little gloomy on my visit, with a slight drizzle, how I wish that the sun is out. I would also love to visit here when the sun is setting. Such a pretty view it will be. From the site, you will not be able to see the “modern” visitor centre at all.
 DSC05861After some photo taking and most importantly, taking in the site, we proceed on back to the visitor centre, after a glance at the overly prices shop we proceed on to one of the exhibition they had. I would certainly recommend visiting this place before ending of your visit. Far more efficient than the audio guide, I learned more things here actually. Honestly, I have never really use my audio guide at all. Besides learning how the Stonehenge was built, seeing some of the artefacts discovered during archaeology at this site, the best and my favourite was this computerised projected video. In a circular room with projected image surrounding you, it tells you about the story from how there are first built to current, showing the findings of how the stones changes positions and the destruction over the years. They are also able visualise the snow, rain and winds that show the wear and tear. The sun rising and falling was also one of the best .
 IMG_2653Soon after a visit to the loo and we hop on back to the bus. Guess what? The couple that ran for the bus earlier is the first to be on the bus, haha, guest that they didn’t really enjoy the visit at all. From here it’s a short ride of about an hour back to London. Premium Tours was good as the tour guide inform us that they will be making 2 stops at a Tube station before proceeding back to Victoria Station. We get to choose and see what’s best for our plans later on. He will also make a round to ask us and also advise us on where we should be stopping. Since I was heading to Soho for some dinner, I stopped at one of the Tube Station. Before leaving, he makes an ending speech, thanking us, hoping that we have enjoyed, and says that he is not a hard ass about the time. Of course ending in asking for tips in a very humorous way, like there is a bucket in the front which could fit a hundred pound bill. I didn’t tip to and I am unsure if the others do. Off it is to Burger & Lobster for dinner, stay tuned for that!

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