The Damp and Chilly Sacred Site

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by stomps on June 14, 2007

Stonehenge loomed over the exit to the pedestrian subway as we re-emerged into the cold day. As we walked towards the monument, I noticed small signs on the ground inside the barriers, which made a large circle and stood several meters away from Stonehenge itself. These signs had numbers on them, which corresponded to a recording on the audio device I had been handed. When I hit "1," a soothing voice began telling me about the history of Stonehenge.

Unfortunately, the day was freezing, and even in a sweater and a raincoat, I could tell that my Nanna was very cold. For that matter, I was as well, so I didn't stop long to listen to recordings. I was barely done with recording 1 when I walked past the signs for 2 and 3, so I finally gave up, just turning the recording off altogether and claiming I would buy a guidebook at the end.

I got plenty of snaps of dark-grey on slightly-lighter-grey, which didn't do the henge a lot of justice. After standing around staring at it for fifteen minutes or so, Nanna and I decided we had had quite enough and wanted to warm up, especially since the drizzle had gotten significantly heavier, so it was back down into the subway for us.

After hanging up my audio tour device on the hangers provided at the exit, I walked into the shop, intent on getting a guidebook so I could learn of all of the ancient mysteries surrounding the henge. However, once I elbowed my way through the throngs to the guidebook wall, I found that even the smallest (and most useless-looking) guidebook was £5. There was no way I was paying more than my admission fee for a book that looked that tiny. I could have sprung for one of the novel-length books on the wall, but they cost upwards of £13. No way! It was not surprising in the least how much we were all being gouged, but I wouldn't fall for it (and I ended up getting quite a good guidebook covering both Stonehenge and Avebury in Avebury for £3.50 anyway)!

As soon as we got back in the car, it started raining hard enough to justify being called "rain," rather than "ugly drizzle," so we were happy that we got to the site when we did!

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Stonehenge and I am very happy that I went, but the visit did leave me somewhat...underwhelmed in some ways, I guess. There were a combination of reasons for this, mainly the weather, the price gouging, and the sheer difference in my conception of what the monument would be like versus what it actually was. However, it is still very impressive and quite a testament to the ability of man to do amazing things with very little means.
2 miles west of Amesbury
Salisbury, England
01980 624 715

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