Castle, Henge, and HostelOctober 25 in the United Kingdom
After an interesting night full of tripping over other people's bags, trying to get my toiletries in total darkness, someone having socks on the heater next to my bed (ew), and then making sure I got up early enough to not get a parking ticket... I finally got started.
When I went in to Cardiff Castle, again in the city center, I was all set to just explore but when they offered a tour for just £3.50 more I jumped at it. I learned that it was a roman fort built 2000 years ago, but was abandoned by the 5th century, and then became a normand castle. The whole place was in disrepair by the 15th century, until the Victorian period when it was taken over. I wish I could remember by who. The clock tower was built in 1869, and took two years to build, but three to decorate; and that was just the clock tower, the whole thing took 19 years. With the zodiac signs along the roof, windows displaying days of the week, and in the corners the times of day (i.e. sunrise, midday, etc.) My favorite part was the greek monster typhon above the entryway to scare away women from the "smoking lounge." It was an amazing tour, and I know I've said this before, highly informative. If only I had an eidetic memory. The tour lasted about 50 minutes, and I knew I had time to spare on the parking pass, so I made sure to climb the keep that was there. A lot of the castles I've been to have seen almost removed from society, but from the top of the tower was old mixed with new; looking out you could see the castle with new skyscrapers dotting the background. It was quite the juxtaposition. Once I had climbed down, I decided it was time to head to my next stop... Stonehenge.
After a fairly easy drive, stopping only when I saw something of interest (I still don't know what it was), I'd made it. I really don't quite know what to say about this place. The techniques required to build it is astonishing, but along with that is why they built it, a topic still debated to this day. The types of stones were brought from different areas, and it was also a burial site that they had brought their ancestors to. The stones even align with the sunrise and sunset during the winter solstice (if I remember correctly.) It was astounding, and honestly, I think I've yet to grasp how amazing it was. So, after walking around, and visiting their museum (and gift shop) I decided it was time to head off. Not before I made a new friend though, who also happens to be staying in London, so we exchanged information and said we would meet up later.
Making my way to London was a breeze, driving in London, not so much. I think my left leg is going to fall off from holding the clutch down so much in traffic. Although not as bad as LA traffic, I'll be pleased to be dropping off the car tomorrow. Once the hostel was finally located I felt a huge sense of relief. This is where I'm going to be spending the next week of my trip, and the reception could not have been better. There was a group of people playing a game in the front, and everyone was laughing and chatting. For a moment I thought maybe it would be a little like a clique, but they quickly included me in their conversation. Once I got my things set up in my bunk, the most spacious one I've had so far, I decided to head downstairs and check out the situation. Within a couple of minutes someone was asking if there was anyone who was willing to play a game of chess, and being a glutton for punishment, I said I'd play. It may have been the best game of chess I've ever played, but I did still lose. Fortunately my competitor wound up being excellent conversation and was able to give me tips about what to see on my stay here, as well as when I head to Edinburgh. Although I only saw two sights today, I'm utterly enervated, and after I return the car tomorrow I think I'll spend the day planning the rest of my trip in London. I'm thinking an actual day of rest might be a good way to keep me going.Read more