Greetings from The Realm! Today was a fabulous day! We got up extra early to catch a bus from bath to Stonehenge, about an hour away, but we still couldn't beat the tourists! It was pretty crowded when we arrived, but cleared up fairly quickly. I mean, there is only so much to look at...
In all serious though, it isn't just a odd assortment of rocks. It's actually a tribute to the winter solstice (allegedly), and possibly a burial ground. It's amazing to think of the engineering needed in order to transport this massive stones (some came all the way from Wales) and get them upright, as well as laying on top of each other. Pretty impressive if you think of it that way. The gift shop was a bit of disappointment though. And there are highways running along either side of the monument, which throws off the mood of the moment, but oh well. It was still pretty cool to see up close.
After spending about an hour in Stonehenge, we were back on the bus and on our way to Salisbury. Our first stop there was the gorgeous cathedral. The stained glass, tombs, and ornate walls were incredible, and the choir was even practicing while we toured, so there was a great atmosphere.
I was particularly fascinated by the tombs throughout the cathedral, including this one below of Lady Catherine Grey and her husband, Edward Seymour. Edward was the nephew of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife and the cousin of King Edward VII, Henry's only son. Lady Catherine, was the sister of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen for 9 days after Edward VII. She was beheaded by Mary Tudor when she came to power. Catherine and Jane were also the granddaughters of Charles Brandon and Henry VIII's sister Mary. They had a crazy family line...but you can see why I was interested. Catherine is raised up on the tomb because of her close relation to royalty.
To be honest, I didn't love Salisbury. The best thing there was the cathedral, which was brilliant, but we couldn't find much else. The most interesting thing beside the cathedral was an injured pigeon sitting in front of our bench as we ate Cornish Pasties for lunch. It just flopped around and looked up pathetically at us. Then, when we stood up to leave, it hopped up and flew away, perfectly fine. And to think I felt bad for it, and it was merely toying with my emotions.
After Salisbury, we drove back toward Bath, but stopped in the picturesque village of Lacock. Lacock is preserved just as it was in the 1400's. There are no overhead electricity wires, no street lamps, no obnoxious store signs. It was very quaint. Our first stop was at Lacock Abbey, which was first a monastery, but in the 1500's after Henry VIII dissolved all the abbeys, it was bought by a private owner. They ancestor, a man named Henry Talbot, invented photography, and the oldest known picture was taken of one of the window in Lacock Abbey. That's not the only famous event to happen in this beautiful place. Harry Potter was also filmed here. Below: Hogwarts' Courtyard. Needless to say, we were very excited.
Lacock itself also head the filming of Harry Potter, as well as Pride and Prejudice (the BBC Version). Dame Judi Dench has a TV show that is filming there now.
For dinner, we all went to The George Inn, which is one of the oldest pubs in the country. They served delicious food, like chicken, pork, and roast, and wonderful sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The best part, however, was after dinner. Outside, behind the pub, there was a party going on. It was the 25th anniversary of the owner getting his license to sell beer, which is big deal, apparently. Usually, they only have it for about 5 years, and then lose it for some reason or another, but he had had it for 25 straight years. There was a band and everything, so we went out to investigate. Needless to say, when 'Jailhouse Rock' came on, we all had to get in on the dancing! We definitely livened up the party! The man who the party was for even jumped on the table and started dance. It was a lot of fun, and then, out of no where, someone from the party produced an American flag. It was hysterical and I will definitely never forget my visit to the little town of Lacock. I doubt Lacock will forget us either!