The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Stone Circles and Spithead

Extremely quick report as we have had a busy day today and will have a busier one tomorrow! Our original plan was to spend lunchtime in Nottingham, visiting the castle and driving by the new ice rink that's on the site of the one where Torvill and Dean trained -- a place I've wanted to visit since I was in high school. But we turned onto the wrong road on the way down and ended up at the Sherwood Forest visitor's center, which seemed like a must-see as we are all Robin Hood fans, and which had big old oaks and archery demonstrations and explanations of the relationship between Robin of the Woods and the Green Man, so we spent some time there. When we arrived in Nottingham near lunchtime, it was absolutely mobbed and the parking lots were like a maze. Nottingham is what I expected Birmingham to be like -- crowded, neither antique nor freshly contemporary, though it has a very diverse population from what I could see -- everyone was converging on the shopping centers which are in the same part of town as the castle and museums. Having concluded that we could lose half the day just finding our way to the castle (we'd given up on the ice rink already), we decided to leave so we could make sure to get to Avebury and Stonehenge before the latter closed in the evening.

It was a gorgeous near-70 degree day, just like the last time we visited, and both places were exactly as I remembered them -- despite being warm in the perfect weather I had chills nearly the entire time. We got ice cream from a truck and walked around the stone circle at Avebury eating it -- is there anything better than mint chip in a place of that kind of power? Then we went to Stonehenge, arriving around 5 p.m. when the sun was visibly descending but still very bright, surrounded by sheep and burial mounds in the nearby hills, with ravens and other birds flying over and around the stones. The audio tour there is superb, but after awhile I shut mine off and just sat and looked; this is one of those places to which descriptions and photographs can't begin to do justice. I never believed that people could sense magnetism in the earth until the first time I visited it.

And then we drove to Portsmouth, to our hotel down by the water (though son #2 actually cried at bedtime as he missed the cottage and the animals!) While unpacking we saw part of the new Doctor Who! apaulled took the kids swimming before our very late dinner but I had to walk down to the waterside, and to my delight there was a statue of Nelson in the park between the hotel and the quay. I watched the gorgeous pink sunset before returning so we could all have dinner and get to bed early so we can make an early start tomorrow to see the HMS Victory.

One of the great stones in the circle at Avebury. Look familiar? See my icon.
Tags: britain 05

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