on May 1, 2006
Ever since my first trip to England, I had wanted to see Stonehenge. An online search led me to Tour 8 - Bath, Stonehenge & Salisbury offered by Golden Tours (via Gray Line London). The tour bus picked us up and collected passengers at other hotels before embarking on this 9-hour tour.StonehengeSometime between 3000 and 1600 BC, the early inhabitants of Britain were constructing the mysterious stone structures at Stonehenge. It is mind-blowing to know early man carved these gigantic stones (weighing up to 50 tons) and brought them from as far as 200 miles away without any of the modern equipment to which we now have access.There is a chain that runs the perimeter of the structures to keep visitors at a distance. We spent an hour at Stonehenge. It felt great to finally check Stonehenge off of my list of places I'd like to see.SalisburyIn Salisbury, we had lunch in a pub that offered a choice of poached salmon, pasta, or bangers and mash (sausage and mash potatoes). Each meal cost 7 pounds. Our tour guide had called in our orders during our bus ride so we were served as soon as we were seated. I had the salmon and my wife had the pasta. Both meals were delicious.The major attraction in Salisbury is its Gothic cathedral constructed in the 1200's. We were given an hour to walk through the cathedral and admire some of the historic relics and detailed artistry. The most treasured artifact inside Salisbury Cathedral is the original copy of the Magna Carta of 1215 which attempted to eliminate the abusive monarchies by outlining the laws and promises between the king and his subjects.BathEveryone on the bus gasped as we came around a hill and saw this beautiful medieval town built into the valley and side of a mountain. Besides the quaint streets lined with shops and taverns, Bath is the location of Britain's only natural hot spring. Mystified by this warm water, the Romans who occupied Britain between the first and fifth centuries AD built an elaborate bath house for there enjoyment and religious rituals. Our tour of Bath included admission to the bath house where we observed the pools and the artifacts found in this area. I was most impressed by the coins that date back to 54 AD.The Pump Room adjacent to the bath house is where people have come since the 18th century to drink the natural hot spring water. The water used to be a prescription for good health. Our tour included a glass of it. Disgusting!ImpressionsI had originally gone on this tour to see Stonehenge but it was the town of Bath that made the biggest impression on me. Although I felt we had adequate time at Stonehenge and Salisbury, I don't think 90 minutes is nearly enough time in Bath. The Bath Overnight option should be considered if your schedule and budget permits.
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