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Day One - Stonehenge

Arriving at 7:00am, local time, I entered the enromous queue for border control. It had not been a terribly good flight, as the seats seemed tighter than those on previous overseas journies. My seatmate this flight was Jodie, from Wales, coming home for the holidays from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her perspective on her homeland and Cardiff was quite interesting and left me fully expecting to witness a major scuffle or two before I left the country. She said there was a lot of fighting in and around the pubs. She blamed the grey skies of winter for the pent-up anger.

I collected the car I'd hired (a phrase that still amuses me) and set out towards Stonehenge, not a terribly long drive from Heathrow airport. It's an impressive sight as you drive up, the stones being cleary visable from the road. An up close and personal view of the monument requires a ticket, of which I'd secured ahead of time. The ticket gets you inside the fences and also equips you with an audio guide that you wear around your neck and learn more about the structure as you circle it.

Stonehenge
(Click to Enlarge)
Stonehenge
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Stonehenge
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Built somewhere between 3000 BC to 2000 BC, the circular stone structure is believed to be a burial site, with bone components being detected over a period of at least 500 years, most likely as a result of cremation. There are a lot theories and evidence that would indicate the site evolved over as many as 1500 years from ditches to stones, then rearrangement of and additions to the stones. With no real written account of the origins and only sketches over many years to go by, much of Stonehenge will remain a matter of speculation and debate.

Stonehenge
(Click to Enlarge)
Stonehenge
(Click to Enlarge)
Stonehenge
(Click to Enlarge)

Cardiff at Night
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Feeling as if I'd crossed a significant item of my Bucket List, I made my way west, towards Wales, passing through many charming smaller English towns. It's not at all uncommon for people to park their cars in one of the lanes of a two-way street, leaving essentially one lane to navigate, with cars taking turns, in a fairly impressive display of cooperation.

The Cardiff City Centre was well-decorated for Christmas and the streets were packed with shoppers and strollers. The only thing more packed were the pubs, with each one absolutely filled by 4:00pm. I found the Great Western and inched away a spot for a pint and a good veggie burger. Not exactly a typical Welsh meal, but perfect for the moment.

I finished the evening at an Australian-themed pub, somewhat unfortunately named The Walkabout. It was perfect, however, for taking in the evening football match in an unsual holiday Premiere League scheduling. With giant TV's and good beer, it was he perfect spot for the evening.

Click here for a Stonehenge slideshow.

 

Day Two

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