Today, I woke really early (about 15 minutes before I was supposed to be out the door), packed my bag and headed back to Knightsbridge. I had signed up for this King Arthur Tour that would include going to Stonehenge, Glastonbury and Avebury. I will admit, I felt that meeting outside of Zara on Knightsbridge seemed weird..in fact, I didn’t see anyone else for my tour waiting. I began to worry that this whole thing was a sham and that I just lost almost 100 quid on this stupid tour or that they would come riding up in a black windowless van and just expect me to get in.
I was wrong.
Right on time, came this little bus with the name “International Friends” a crossed the front (that’s the name of the company) and suddenly two other people appeared at my side who were also going on the tour. After having gone through the tour, I highly recommend this company. We did a lot of traveling in one day but we were only 12 people so it felt like a more personal experience.
Anyway! Once everyone was situated, we headed to our first destination: Stonehenge!!!!
Ok, so this isn’t the real stonehenge. This is a mural (just before you go to see the real thing) of what what it would have looked like completed. Cool, no? So here are the real pictures:
It’s quite impressive in person…unfortunately, this is as close as we’re allowed to get. No dancing naked among the rocks for me 😦 Oh well, you can’t have it all, I guess. It was cool. I’m glad I saw it. It dates back to about 3000 B.C. (that’s right – B.C. – it’s well over 5000 years old! How cool!) We were only here for about 45 minutes before we hopped back onto the bus to head to Glastonbury.
For those of you unfamiliar with Glastonbury: it is apparently where the Isle of Avalon used to sit. The same Isle of Avalon where King Arthur was buried. If you look at Glastonbury Torr (celtic word for big hill), there have been studies that’ve shown that the entire area was (at one point or another) surrounded by water giving it an appearance of an island. So here’s the torr:
That’s the town of Glastonbury at the bottom.
Then I did the climb down the other side towards the Chalice Well Garden:
The Chalice Well Garden is a sweet little tranquil area with healing natural mineral water:
This is the Chalice Well itself. Legend has it, Joseph of Aramathea brought the Holy Grail here and placed it underneath this well. The symbol you see is very popular because of it’s connection with the Holy Grail.
Once we had our little moment of tranquillity, we went to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. This Abbey was once a rival of Westminster (in London) until the rule of Henry VIII. When the Abbott of Glastonbury refused to submit to Henry’s claim to the “Church of England,” the King had the abbey essentially disemboweled. Over the years, the abbey continued to fall to ruin until it is what you see today:
During the reign of Edward I, it is said that the remains of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere were found in this very spot.
I wandered the town a little bit more, bought some absolutely delicious fish and chips, hopped back on the bus for the final leg of our trip: Avebury.
Avebury is a little unknown gem. It’s another stonehenge, but bigger. Stonehenge has about 30-35 stones overall while Avebury has 96 and has a little village sitting in the middle of it. Most of the stones are gone now, but they’ve left little markers to give us the full idea:
These two big rocks here served as the entrance of the the stonehenge. If you look closely at the one on the left, you’ll see the “devil’s seat.” It’s a little groove in the rock small enough to fit someone fun-size…like me!
Afterwards, I went to a sweet little shop called Henge Shop:
Before I knew it, we were back on the bus heading back to London. However, London was not my final stop. As soon as I got back into town, I made my way to Waterloo where I took the National Rail Service to Surrey where I made a new friend.
I went to Surrey to stay with my friend Claire. She came to IU to study for a year as an exchange student from the University of Kent. The new friend I made was Claire’s boyfriend, K. That’s right, K. His name is James King, but for whatever reason it’s K. Claire was working so K came to pick me up and we hung out for a bit while waiting for Claire to come home. This is where I am now. I’m finishing this post right before I hit the sack and start a new day tomorrow hanging around Surrey.
Location:Blackwater, Surrey, England, UK