Day 18 – Stonehenge and Bath

For our first full day in the Cotswolds, we decided to head to Stonehenge and check out the hanging rocks. Its was a miserable day, the sort you expect to find in England. This didn’t bother us, as we had been expecting this kind of weather anyway, so we just set out, determined to enjoy it.

More country roads/lanes, more little villages, more traffic parked in opposing directions.

Along the way to Stonehenge, we found Woodhenge, which was built around a similar time, and contained groups of pilings (originally in wood, now of concrete) arranged in 6 circles. According the the display, no one really knows what it is or was.

It would have been interesting except, it wasn’t. Nothing was left of the original structure, it was just some concrete. But the name got our attention, and we had our photo taken standing one one of the pylons just the same.

A little further up the road we found what we were looking for. Stonehenge is right beside the highway so we could see it well as we came over a hill and into the car park. We paid out entry price (everything here has an entry price, even 6000 year old rocks you can see from the road) and headed in.

They had these cool audio tours, a bit like an old mobile phone, which gave the story of Stonehenge (meaning Stone Hanging – Henge = Hanging). Some of the audio was on the physical appearance of the rocks, and the way they were carved and attached to each other. It was interesting to think about and see the remains of the 6000 year old craftsmanship.

Other parts were simply guesses as to how the rocks came about, why it came about and how it was used. They even had some of the more crazy stories, such as giants building it. These stories were entertaining, but they really were just stories.

The best part of the audio tour was as everyone had these to their ears, listening, which meant they weren’t speaking, which gave us a chance to soak up the significance of the Henge and take in the atmosphere.

It was pretty cool and pretty interesting.

It was also interesting at this point to consider how much things had changed with regard to how as a society, we now treat and view our historic landmarks. Whilst we were kept well back from the rocks themselves, it wasn’t all that long ago, that the blacksmith in town sold little chipping hammers, and encouraged you to visit the rocks and “chip a piece off” as a souvenir.

Following Stonehenge, we moved on to Bath where we visited a 2000 year old bath house, built by the romans. Built beside (and on top of) a hot spring, this too was incredible. The Romans managed to have hot running water and even steam houses, 2000 years ago. There was also a collection of memorabilia including coins, tool and even a coffin/casket.

The more I’m immersed in historical locations and consider the skills, tools and technology of the times, the more I wonder what went wrong, and what have we as a civilization been doing for the past 2000 years. Did we just forget stuff or what?

Whilst in Bath we managed to find another phone shop, and this time purchased a portable wifi hotspot, already connected. We even connected our phones (Ros, Mikeala and I) in the shop to make sure everything worked. You’ve never seen a happier family then the Ridleys, when we all had a good wifi connection. Our very own connection. For the first time since leaving Australia.

The smile couldn’t even be removed when we returned to the car and found we’d received a parking ticket.

Leave a Reply