Bath, Avebury & Stonehenge

Tuesday June 10 was the day I’ve been waiting for a long time.

The morning started slow. I went to Starbucks in the morning to update my Flickr feed and maybe work on the blog. Then I headed back to the hotel and packed for our day out to Bath, Avebury and Stonehenge.
The bus was a little late, we left around 12:30 or so when we were told to meet at 11:30 for the bus. It was a bit of a long drive and along the way, Victoria (the same guide who met us at the airport) gave us information about the places along the way and as we approached Bath, she gave us information about the city, the hot springs there (which is the only one in the UK) and how it was discovered in the early 1900s that there were Roman era ruins on the site.

Bath was lovely. We got off the bus in one place to pose near what used to be governmental buildings for a group shot. We then went on and were dropped off to go to the Roman Baths which are located near the Bath Abbey.

The Roman baths were very interesting there used to be a temple to Sulis Minerva (the Roman version of Athena) and one of the most fascinating things found at Bath is the Carved face on the pediment above the entrance to her temple.

There are some interesting facts about it on the Bath website.

After Bath we all met up at about 5pm and headed towards Avebury.

Avebury is the remains of a large prehistoric stone circle complex. There are several stone formations, and a henge (a large embankment and ditch built around the circle area.) It’s much more accessible than it’s famous neighbor, Stonehenge, as long as you don’t mind walking among the grazing sheep.

We spent about 45 minutes or so walking around Avebury and stopped in the little pub that is part of the small village that is actually overtop of the circle remains. I decided to skip the pub because, given the choice of an ancient stone circle or a pub, the stone circle wins out every time. I spent some more time with the stones and called Patty from the circle. It seemed a good time strengthen that psychic bond that we have. I reluctantly left Avebury and boarded the bus to head for our appointment at Stonehenge.

We arrived and the complex was definitely closed, but the driver showed the guard our paperwork and we were waved through the gate. We parked and walked to the new visitor center which is nowhere in site of the actual stone circle. The new complex is actually kind of ugly. We looked at the outside displays and waited for the shuttle that would take us the last half mile or so. The sun was certainly getting lower and our appointment was supposed to coincide with the sunset. We were just starting to get anxious when the bus came down the road from the circle and dropped off a small group that had reserved ahead of us.

Our group of 16 was joined on the bus by a family of 7 and one gentlemen who was by himself with a bunch of photography equipment. The driver looked at the paperwork, counted heads and closed the doors. A few short minutes later we drove up the road and there it was. The sun was beginning to set. The clear skies weren’t very dramatic, but at least it wasn’t raining and the light itself was beautiful.

It was amazing to walk among these stones. We laughed and took photos. Group photos and posed photos. I took a couple of ghosted photos with my tripod. As the sun set the already chilly weather got colder. Many people wandered back to the bus as the moon rose higher and brighter. A few of us were determined to stay for every last minute of our allotted hour. I found myself too distracted to really concentrate on creating lovely images, but felt more like just walking around and in the stones. I found myself basking in the same wonder I felt in the temples of Malta. We built these. We humans built these. And they still stand. The magical hour passed, the guards counted the final minutes for us and then it was back to the bus.

We chatted on the bus, too pumped to quietly rest right away and as we drove away, the bus drove down one of the roads that rides past the circle, with the stones now silhouetted in what was left of the light in the sky. It was a lovely moment and one in which I decided that I must return to do this again.

Comments are closed.

See also: