on June 14, 2007
Of course, just to be perverse, the weather the morning after we visited Stonehenge was perfect. The sky was brilliantly blue, striped in wispy white clouds, yet there was none of the wind they boded on the ground. Fortunately, the weather hadn't completely beaten us, as we were planning on driving very close to Stonehenge on our way to Avebury anyway. In fact, it was only a couple miles off the track, so we figured we might as well stop by.The difference between the two days was much more than just the weather, since the crowds seemed to have evaporated along with the rain on the sidewalks! Granted, it was only about 9:30 in the morning, but still--I am not a morning person at all and after seeing that, I would willingly get there when they open at 9 to see it that quiet. It still wasn't quite the serene monument that the druids/pagans had intended it to be many years ago, given that two major roads meet at the base of the hill (which I have addressed in my "Future of Stonehenge" entry), but it was a far cry from the screaming children and loud American tourists of the day before.Even though it was a spectacular day that promised stunning pictures, I still lacked the motivation to pay another entrance fee to get slightly closer. I will freely admit that I am a picture-aholic, but I couldn't justify spending nearly £5 on getting maybe five unique angles of the site. Instead, I did just as many of the cheap younger crowd the day before had done.As Poppa pulled up on the A344, I quickly jumped out of the car and up to the dirt track created by the feet of penny-pinching backpackers before me. A fence kept us far away from the inner walkway, where those special people that paid got to go and I had been only the day before, and even further away from Stonehenge. Fortunately, English Heritage was not cruel enough to put up an exceptionally tall fence, and standing at 6'0, I could easily stick my hands above it and snap away to my heart's desire. And that I did, getting quite a few good shots (using zoom, of course). The clouds were still wispy and made an even better background than the plain blue sky, and the stones stood in stark contrast to it. The lawn leading up to it was lush and covered in tiny yellow flowers basking in the sun.Had I not gone in the day before, I would have paid, gone in, and enjoyed a nice stroll on a lovely day. Standing outside looking in was certainly a great alternative though, and I would recommend it. You'll still get some great vacation snaps and you don't have to wait in any lines, except perhaps for your turn to stick your camera over the fence on busy days...just watch out for cars while you are doing it!
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