FHU Abroad

The Sights of South West England

Sep. 29, 2017

 

United Kingdom group trip

Day five of our UK group trip began at the crack of dawn, as we left London bound for Stonehenge near Salisbury. Later in the day, we would visit the ancient Roman Baths, capping up what was definitely one of my favorite days of our trip.

When we stepped down from the bus from Salisbury, we saw them—what we have all read about in history books and seen in movies. They were there, only a few yards away from us. The Stones of Stonehenge. The weather was what one would expect for England: overcast, rainy, and windy. But to be honest, I think it added to the mystery of Stonehenge. We all bundled up in our jackets with our hoods pulled tight while we took time to admire and wonder at the stone structures.

We listened to as many topics on our audio guides as we had time for, and we tried to take in as much of the information as possible—but it was a lot. Archeologists have several theories about the origin and importance of Stonehenge. Possible ancient uses for the site include a coronation place for Danish kings, a Druid temple, an astronomical computer for predicting eclipses and solar events, a place where ancestors were worshipped, and a center for healing. This latter theory was most interesting to me as I imagined people gathering about the stone circle, believing it to be source of healing for those in need. People of the Neolithic age would travel from far away to experience the healing powers of the "blue stones" that are positioned in the middle of the stone circle. The air in Salisbury was crisp and fresh, and the morning visit to Stonehenge was a refresher that I think we all appreciated.

After returning to Salisbury, our next excursion was to Bath. The Roman Baths themselves are below the city's modern street level. During the Roman occupation of Britain, the building actually contained three bathing areas that drew both nobles and commoners: a cold bath, a warm bath, and a hot bath. Bathers would visit all three areas during their visit.

After leaving the Roman Baths, we decided to eat dinner in a local pub, where I decided to have my first fish and chips of the trip. Before retiring to our hotel rooms, we wandered around the serene city center of Bath. The beautiful buildings, gardens, and even violin players painted the city with whimsy. At the end of the day, we thanked God for yet another unbelievable day.