Saturday, 15 September 2012

Highclere Castle & Salisbury

On day 4 of our life in Oxford we were given the day off. It was nice to try and take the time to revamp from the jet lag. Traveling around England and dozing off on a coach is not the best medicine for a 6 hour time difference. We took the day to purchase groceries and better acclimate to our new home. We also went to an old pub called the Angel & Greyhound. Pubs here are like cozy little bars. They mainly serve pints (or ½ pints) of beer and food, while everyone just sits around and relaxes. If there is music playing it is usually older and less annoying than music today. the d├ęcor is mostly wooden and simple.

The fifth day we traveled to Highclere Castle, the site where the TV show Downton Abbey is filmed. Touring the castle was really cool and reminded me of the older/British version of the mansions we have in New Port, RI. The library of the castle was the most exquisite room, displaying a corner-to-corner wallpaper of ancient books on everything from politics to hunting. The other rooms were also impressive with luxurious furniture, beautiful design, and expensive family paintings and tapestries. My mom is a huge fan of Downton Abbey, so of course I got her a nice souvenir.

Day 6 consisted of visiting Stonehenge and Salisbury. The stones of Stonehenge were remarkably large and dated back from 3000 BCE. Researchers are still not certain about how the stones got to their current location, but they do know that the stones hail from all across Britain (over 240 miles away). We weren’t able to get too close to the stones, but we were able to see the formation from 360° by walking around. I even got my picture with a cross-dressing ‘shaman’ who claimed to watch over the stones daily.

After a quick coach ride, we arrived in Salisbury, where we ambled around town, and ate lunch. I noticed that the portions for ice cream here were underwhelmingly smaller than our US standards . After a stroll around the city we toured the Salisbury Cathedral. Built over a century starting in 1220, this Anglican church is a wonderful example of early English gothic architecture. It also totes the most complete original copy (1 of 4) of the Magna Carta, which we were able to view! We learned a lot about the Cathedral and were able to attend Evensong; a musical, evening service before heading home to Oxford.

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