07 June 2007

Follow Me... to Winchester, Stonehenge & Bath!

Today, Kat and I set out for a tour to Southwestern England.

On our way out, we passed through this exclusive town in London, apartments start from 2 million £. Once I move to Earl's Court, I will explore more of SW London, a part that I have neglected this past year. Did you know that Hugh Grant went to a private school in Earl's Court and then went on to study English at New College, Oxford on a scholarship?

... is the old capital of England during Anglo-Saxon times and today probably twice as big as Mödling. Our Sean-Connery-without-a-beard-tour-guide who alternates swiflty between English and fluent Japanese all the time, shows his Wedl streak: "There is no point in taking pictures now when you come back later anyway!"

The cathedral which you see below, is partly in 11th century, partly 16th century design, claims to be in possession of the Round Table (as do numerous other cities throughout the country) and is burial place of Jane Austen.

Kat and I decided to see Wolvesey Castle, 12th century ruins of the Norman bishop's palace. Queen Mary Tudor and King Philip II of Spain were guests before they got wed in the cathedral. On our way, we passed a house where Jane Austen lived six weeks prior to her death. Maybe I should let my Viennese flat to sickly writers and bohemians to secure eternal revenue. Hm...

Stonehenge & Salisbury Plain:
First impression: The stones are smaller than you imagine. Since everyone knows what they are famous for or can look it up online, I'll just give some quick facts:

The possible explanations include it being a solar temple, a lunar observatory, a source of healing power and an extraterrestrial monument. Others believe, some of the stones were brought over by Merlin from Ireland or by giants from Africa. Some even said that Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father, is buried within the circle. There are also some burial sites nearby.

Magnetism: There is a high magnetic field surrounding the stones. I don't know if I imagined that or not but I indeed felt some tingling in my calves shortly before the tour guide said we were crossing some magnetic line. Also, his microphone went rustling for a second but he might have manipulated it for the sake of us tourists.

The area is also famous for the most UFO sightings in the UK or so, even though this is probably due to US-Air Force test flights. And on the summer solstice, some 30 000 (?) people gather around the stones. In case, you want to be part of it this 20 June, go and have a look at the Stonehenge website. You have to register in advance, I think.

The Salisbury Plain in which Stonehenge is located is well... plain. In fact, around the archaeological site there are just highly used motorways. Therefore, I had to pay four f$%$! Pounds for a Cheese and Onion slice (2,5x the average price) at the museum snack shop!

is something like the Austrian Baden because it is famous for its Roman spas and thermal springs. There is a whole cult surrounding the baths, involving the goddess Minerva. Read about the whole mythological framework in this short article (sorry guys but there is a limit to blogging like a machine).

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