Thursday, April 02, 2015

Stonehenge, Old Sarum & Salisbury

On the fourth day, we took a train to Salisbury. There's a tour bus that takes people from the train station out to Stonehenge; their website said you buy tickets from the driver. We were out on the sidewalk, no one else around, waiting for the tour bus when a man came up to us and asked us if we were going to Stonehenge. When we nodded, he said he had the tickets but he only took cash, no cards. He did not identify himself; no one was around; website said buy from driver. I politely told the guy I was doubtful because the website said to buy from the driver. He became quite offended! He had a little mini-rant. When the bus finally arrived and we DID have to buy tickets from him, he sarcastically asked, "What, my face looks trustworthy now?" I had told the guy throughout that it wasn't personal, he did not identify himself, asked for cash and the website specified "buy from driver". Dude gave me an earful and then complained loudly to the driver. Whatever! I didn't know him from Adam and he wanted cash. We did get on the bus.

Comfortable train from London's Waterloo station to Salisbury. It was one of the few times we were completely warm, and we both dozed off.


Double decker tour bus ride out to Stonehenge.


Once we got to the Stonehenge visitor's center, we had a choice. Cram tightly into the center's shuttles (many people standing) out to the stones, or walk a mile or so. You walk along the road, and can then detour into the forest and walk through the fields and burial mounds. Easy choice.

Here's Mitch climbing over a stile.


Then we walked through the fields. We only saw sheep.


Mitch walking through the fields to Stonehenge. You can just make out the stones in the distance, on the right.




The stones were wonderful. Definitely worth a trip. We walked back to the visitor's center, passed by several shuttle buses with visitors crammed in like sardines. We made it back just in time for Mitch to grab us a takeaway picnic lunch and we got on one of the last tour buses back towards town. On the way, we stopped at Old Sarum and had our picnic. Old Sarum is a ruin. It was once an Iron Age hill fort, and later a castle with palace for King Henry 1. I wish we'd had  more time there.



From the ruins of the castle wall, we could see a woman training a German Shepherd near the remains of the original Salisbury Cathedral. Later, in the parking lot, the dog was heading towards the car with two tennis balls in his mouth. I laughed and said, "He's got them ALL!" and she laughed too and said, "He took them, because he's tired and he doesn't want me to throw them anymore."


We made it back to the road in time to make it on the very last tour bus into town, and found present-day Salisbury Cathedral.



Then we headed back toward's the town center, hoping to find a place we'd seen while on the tour bus...an English pub with Thai food.


And we found it! We had excellent food, beer and company of two gents who were already inside. Local regulars.


We still had some time before the next train back to London, so we popped in the New Inn for a half pint at a table right next to the fire. Ahhhh!



I was relieved when we were able to find our way back to the train station. It's not a big town, but when you're not from there...but thanks to good directions from a waitress in the New Inn, we got there and made it back to London.


Where we bought tickets for the next morning, to Windsor. Hey...is that couple arguing?


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