Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hey I think I see some old rocks?!?!?

Why did they put the stones so close to the road? hehehehe That is what many tourist ask when they visit Stonehenge for the first time. So confused are they to find that the monument is surrounded by roads and appears small compared to the daunting tour buses that are pulling in and out of the carpark by the hundreds! Where is the mystic, the mist, the haunting presence of thousands of years gone by? Standing next to the German teenagers, the Japanese middle aged couple, or the elderly Americans all toting cameras and name badges? You mean you have to pay to get in and you can't touch them for THAT PRICE? grrrrr

Tuesday morning we awoke to the delight in remembering that our German friend we had also meet on MFO was here staying with us for the week. She had flown in the night before and wanted to see Stonehenge while she was with us. Since I had never been either, Fruit Loop decided to be a tour guide and show us one of England's most visited sites. The drive is not long from Bristol so we arrived in less than 2 hours. Guess what? It looks just like you see on TV. Nope, no magic, DARN! I was really hoping to see it surrounded by strangely dressed Druids doing a fairy dance or sacrificing a goat! Don't worry, I know that is not going to happen, but only because the government won't let them! Actually we did see one crazy guy dressed as a Druid trying to protest that they are not allowed to claim the Stones as their own. Nobody seemed to pay any attention to him, so I don't think he will win his cause!

As we approached the stones it was disappointing that we could not run between them, touch them, and climb on them to declare our superiority over the planet! It had been a while since Bluefish had been to see the alter, but he made my friend and I both jealous because when he was a child you COULD play on the stones. However, it is a necessary evil for there preservation and protection. Everywhere you looked you could see tons of tourists who would all have loved to take a piece of Stonehenge home with them, or carve their name it. What I found amusing was that one stone was off by itself. We all laughed and declared it unworthy of being included in the actual design! RATS, they wouldn't let you touch that one either.

In about an hour we had BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, AND BOUGHT THE T-SHIRT! (No actually they don't really sell t-shirts here in the UK at tourist shops, strange huh?) Now I can confidently say I have seen one of the Wonders of the World and yes, it was close to the road!


Stonehenge Official Website

Monday, June 29, 2009

My first CASTLE and it was in WALES!

Saturday night (6/13) Fruit Loop and his brother took me on a drive and out to dinner. I was wearing my cute flip-flops so I should have known we would go for a walk! The drive through the countryside was nice and we kept catching a glimpse of the Severn Bridge that connects Bristol to Wales. Next thing I know we are taking a walk down a path to the base of the bridge. It was so lovely and chilly too! I kept thinking that maybe we were going to Wales, but to my disapointment me did not.

The next morning (Sunday 6/14) Bluefish and I got up to set off for the day on a SECRET adventure. I had no idea where we were going, and actually didn't even care! I just enjoyed getting in the car and letting Fruit Loop drive me around. Certainly ANHYTHING we saw would be a new sight for me! hehehehe To my joy we headed in the same direction as Saturday evening and then actually CROSSED the bridge and went into WALES!!! (If you remember your geography lesson from earlier...WALES is another country in the United Kingdom!) The road wound around and I wondered where we would stop. At a carpark we left the car for a journey into a quaint village with steep hills. It was very nice, but what I saw next was STUNNING. The sneaky boy had taken me to the outside of town to a place that would not give me a view of our actual destination, A CASTLE!!!! Yes a real god honest castle that was built years and years ago. When we rounded the corner and I looked up I was AWED! I actually stopped and sat down on a bench just to soak up the image. My head was spinning with tales of love, battle, and history. Over my 37 years I have read many a romance story where the girl lives in the castle and must wait for her knight to rescue her... ahhhhh.... so amazing.

Then I wanted to run up to the gate and actually TOUCH a stone. Can you truly grasp that this building was first erected in the 11th century (d. 1071)? Seriously! In Texas nothing is that old except the dino prints in the river!! Our visit to the castle was so romantic. Every nook and cranny I could imagine being used for a chaste kiss, so I would give Bluefish one! lol xxxx hehehehe! The views of the Wye river from the castles crumbling windows brought chills to my bones. This view was the same for hundreds of women throughout the years.

After the castle we continued to travel along the path of the river to visit Tintern Abbey, and Symonds Yat Rock. The Abbey was founded by the Cistercian Monks in 1131 and dissolved in 1536. What amazes me the most is how skeletal ruins look so stunning and even more spectacular than in-tact buildings. I think it has something to do with the immaginative eliment that is involved when you are trying to picture the ruin whole and in use. In the village of the Abbey we had lunch, a nice stroll, and shared some fudge. Next stop was the rock. Also adjacent to the river the Symonds Yat Rock provides a fabulous viewing point for the Wye Valley. The countryside is just shockingly GREEN, did I say green? Oh I am sorry I ment GREEN-GREEN-GREEN-GREEN!

As the day drew to a close we started our journey back only to be waylaid by a heard of sheep! I was so excited to see the sheep blocking the road. I had dreamed of this happening one day to me and had just told Fruit Loop that I wanted to take photos of the sheep, and to my wish came SHEEP IN THE ROAD! Once our friends had crossed to the other side, we too crossed the the other side of the Severn Bridge, back home to England