Travel Journal

A Stones throw from London

(Sunday 22 August 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 11 – 8/15/10 Stonehenge
Up early, but not early enough as it turned out. Christine whipped us up some breakfast and Julie searched the internet for lodging that night as we expected to reach London. We made reservations and Christine would drop us off at the Plymouth train station – we didn’t have a schedule for London bound train but figured they’d be running at least hourly. Christine again doffed her tour guide cap as she showed us many of the local sites at Plymouth.
I did not know that the pilgrims set sail from this port and landed at Plymouth Rock in the US and that’s how the rock got its name. We also viewed naval instillations and parks as well as an open air pool before arriving at the train station.
We said our goodbye and profuse thanks for Christine’s hospitality. The clerk had suggested a 1 PM train to Salisbury via a connection but Christine saw an earlier one on the board and we ran to catch that train. Definitely nice having the rail pass as you can jump on any train you want without worrying about tickets. We thought we’d still arrive at Salisbury at the same time from the connection but happened to find another train just leaving which we hopped onboard and ended up in Salisbury a full hour ahead of the original schedule.
We just missed the tour bus to Stonehenge so we stowed our baggage at the Cat something, a nearby dive pub and walked the town a bit until the next bus was available. It was then I realized I must have left my hat on the train. I knew I would lose it at some point of the trip but not in the first 2 weeks! That with the loss of the camera case shows I must be more mindful during my travels. I sure any readers will miss pictures of me with the hat that screamed “I’m American!”
Anyways, we got on the tour bus to Stonehenge which we only paid the 11 pounds for the bus ride and not for tickets inside. It was about a thirty minute ride through pleasant country side to the spot which is exactly how I pictured it. A collection of large rocks next to a highway. We alighted and walked the parameter of the outer fence determining if we wanted to pay the additional fee to go to the inner fence. It’s not possible to actually go inside the Stonehenge circle any more unless you make special reservations before and after hours. Instead you can walk around an inner perimeter about 20 meters away that circles the monument or be cheap tourist as Julie and I decided and not pay anything and see half of the stones from 50 meters away. It’s hard to get into the awe and mystery of Stonehenge when you can really get to it, there are thousands of tourists milling about and a highway with cars and buses whizzing behind you.

We jumped on the next bus back to Salisbury. I wish we had more time to explore that city and see the cathedral there, but we collected our bags and boarded a train for London. We had no idea where our hotel was located and where would be the best stop to depart but with the use of the Garmin map and the train maps I did rather a good job of determining we should catch another train rather than get into Waterloo station and we ended up less than a mile from the hotel and walked there.
The room was okay and did include a fridge and microwave which would allow us to save a bit of money along with the free breakfast and internet access. We unpacked as we would be staying here at least three nights and walked the neighborhood. We were pleasantly surprised to find we were next to Little Manila district and I bought some Boy Bawang which I have missed terribly.


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