Mackenzie and I started our free day off with a tour of the main attractions in London. But not just any tour, a double decker tour,
because you can’t say you’ve been to London until you’ve ridden on one, right? Included in this tour was the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, boat ride on the Thames, Big Ben, Parliament buildings, Westminster, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, London Eye, and finally with the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. At first I thought this tour might be repetitive since I had already seen the majority of the city while wandering the past few days. However, this tour was worth every penny. It was so awesome to hear the stories from the tour guide that you do not get while experiencing the city on your own.
- The Tower Bridge used to open up 300 times a month when the river was more heavily used for trade. However, now the bridge is lucky to open that many times in an entire year.
- The river used to be so filthy that the beaches were black. But now the river is the cleanest in all of Europe.
- After one of the kings died (I can’t remember which one… oops) his two sons, ages 12 and 10, spent the night with their uncle in the Tower of London. The two boys were never to be seen again and the bones were later found in the wall of what is now called, Bloody Tower. Rumor has it the uncle killed them.
The most exciting part of the day was finally getting to see Stonehenge after seeing intriguing pictures my whole life. And boy, it did not disappoint. It was so majestic and peaceful at the sight.
There are quite a few theories behind the odd arrangement of rocks. Here are a few:
- Opposite ends of Stonehenge line up perfectly during both the summer and winter solstices. Some believe that this was on purpose and served as some sort of astronomical clock.
- Another theory involves worship of some sort. Many burial piles are found within sight from Stonehenge. Some believe that these people felt as if they needed to be buried close by.
- Others think that Stonehenge was thought to heal those who were sick with diseases. The skeleton found among the site has chips of stone under his skeleton, along with a bad knee. This is thought to have shown how he grabbed parts of the rock to heal himself.
- Some say it could have been some sort of athletic arena, however this is the least likely option.
Here’s a little summary of the things we do know for sure. The rocks are not native to this part of England, but only to the area of Preseli Hills in another part of the country. This means that the rocks had to have been transported to the site of Stonehenge by people. It is thought that the rocks were mainly moved on the water and river leading to this site. Since these rocks weighed tons, different techniques using logs and ancient methods, of what we would now use cranes for, to lift the rocks and place them into their current spots. Notches are carved into the rocks where you see the connecting band still running around parts of the outer circle.
More recent excavations have found that a city of close to 6,000 people lived nearby. These people could have been the force behind building Stonehenge (which is said to have taken over 1500 year to build whaaaaat). A miniature model that is similar to Stonehenge but made out of wood posts were also found in this community of people. Other circular rock formations also exist in other areas of England. If I remember correctly, I believe that there are six or seven others.
I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that scientists and archaeologists cannot pinpoint the purpose of Stonehenge. However, the astronomy theory sounds the most reasonable to me. A place to worship would make sense as well. What doesn’t make sense is the reason for using these exact rocks and not rocks nearby or another material.
Food for the Day (because food is always the best part):
- For breakfast, stopped by Pret a Manger for a mocha, grapes, and tomato and cheese biscuit. So good.
- For lunch, had a chicken and bacon sandwich and this wonder parfait consisting of granola and fresh bananas at EAT. This is my favorite place to eat lunch so far in London.
- For dinner, tried Giraffe located near our dorm. Highly recommended. Had their signature “giraffe” burger with their unique sauce and sweet potato fries. A pretty American meal, yes. But so good.
- Constantly surprised at how much easier and cheaper it is to eat healthy here.