Road Trip 3.1 (2007) – Stonehenge

I thought I was finally done with writing about my road trips in the UK, but I was wrong! I have almost forgotten this one! Lucky for me, I was going through my photos archive yet again the other day and noticed this bunch of photos.

This was a very short road trip that lasted less than 24 hours. It was also the very last of my road trips in England.

The last of our exams happened on a morning, from 9.00 AM to 11.00 AM. So what we did was, the moment we got out of the exam hall, we rushed to the car rental place, got our cars, and left Liverpool before 12.00 noon! It was going to be a one day trip with no stopovers for sleep or anything, so we didn’t even pack anything except for some food.

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The place we were headed was four hours drive from Liverpool. And unlike our previous trips, we spent a big part of it away from the M roads (motorways, expressways if you would) and on the A roads (trunk roads, sort of like what we call the old road in Malaysia).

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Where exactly were we headed? Well, it is pretty obvious from the blog title already. But in case you’re not paying attention, here’s a song to give you a hint, a song by the talented Norwegian Vegard Ylvisåker.

Yes, Stonehenge!

We drove really fast, because we left around 12, and the place closes at 6pm sharp. The sooner we got here, the more time we have to admire this ancient construction marvel (better value for money we paid for the admission).

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I think the Stonehenge is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Am I right? But it seems like there are many many lists of seven wonders nowadays. I might be both right and wrong at the same time…

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Anyway, what’s this Stonehenge? What’s it do? Or did?

No idea. Much like Ylvis, I am pretty much dumbfounded as to the real purpose these stones were erected. Maybe it is just like what Ylvis said, maybe it really was just some bored Stone Age dudes who spontaneously decided to build a henge or two for no apparent reason

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Sure, there are many theories put forth by renowned experts all over the world as to what the Stonehenge really is. As if there really is such a thing called an expert of Stonehenge. But they’re all theories. Unproven theories. So for all I know, these are just a pile of uniquely piled up stones.

But they’re very famous stones. That’s why we drove 4 hours to come here to see them!

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There was one thing I was pretty disappointed with this historical site though. You might have imagined that for such an important historical relic, they would wall the place up and make it difficult for people to access it. But no..

Take a look at the picture below. This was taken with us INSIDE the paid area, right next to the famous henge.

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As you can see from afar, those are roads. Public roads where cars and trucks travel through. So this means anyone can get pretty close to these stones, making them less of a novelty.

So here’s a cheapo travel tip for you: if you don’t want to pay to get close to these stones, you can just drive along the trunk roads near it and see it from afar. And it is not like you get to touch the stones if you pay. You will still be watching the stones from quite a distance away. Closer, but still away.

It might be good for cheapo tourists, but I don’t think it is very good for an ancient relic to be exposed to so many motorized vehicles passing by, unleashing tonnes of carbon monoxide to the atmosphere.

Here’s a rendition of what some experts think the original Stonehenge looks like…

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Might be true, might be just the imaginations of the person who came up with this. Actually, I thought there is a very high possibility that this Stonehenge might be an ancient castle that somehow just got ruined and turned out like this pile of stones. I mean, have you watched Narnia 2, the one with Prince Caspian? The Cair Paravel (the castle) that those kids used to live in turned into ruins that look quite similar to the Stonehenge, after a few thousand years. So who is to say the Stonehenge could not be the same? Right?

Here’s another interesting thing. There are two stone slabs right outside the paid entrance. According to the tour guides, these are the same type of stones used to build the Stonehenge. But since they are not part of the henge, we get to touch them.

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According to the tour guides, these stones have mythical properties. Because at any point of time, the stone will exhibit both hot and cold temperature at the same time. When one side is hot, the other side will be cold. We verified that claim, and it is true! According to the tour guides, this is magic.

I suspect the tour guides think us tourists are idiots, or they are the fools themselves. Could you come up with a logical explanation for the “one side hot, the other side cold” effect? Come on, I’m sure you can…

You can’t? Oh gosh… Okay… let me tell you…

The stones are outdoors, exposed to the sun. Apart from the short period of time that is the afternoon, the sun will only shine at one side of the stones while the other side will remain in shadow. Obviously the exposed side will be hot, and the hidden side will be cold! That’s simple logic!

And I’ve run out of photos for this Stonehenge. That’s basically all we did here. We took a four hours drive to come here and spent under an hour to stare at some stones, and then we left. Pathetic, isn’t it?

18 Comments

  1. It is more than just a pile of rocks! There is so much more, the historical aspect, the mystery of it, the way the rocks are so well positioned according to the movement of the earth around the sun, that the rocks are not local and no one has been able to figure out how they were transported, etc etc. Would anyone call the Great Wall of China a long pile of rocks? Anyway, would highly recommend the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army in Xian. Was there 3 hours and it just was not enough!

    • You know I am writing this in the context of a commoner, right? Of course, I cannot represent ALL people, but I believe a great many of us think along similar lines, as you can see from some of the comments. I think most of us are not very attuned to historical significance when it comes to seeing tourist attractions, and when we pay a huge chunk of money to go traveling, we want value for money. And we count value for money with by how many sites/attractions/monuments we can see, and how spectacular our pictures look. On both counts, the Stonehenge comes up short.

      Sure, on the historical aspect, this is a great pile of rocks, not disputing that. Still… when we talk about pictures and accessibility, it is a ruin of rocks, and all by itself far from many other attractions. At least the Great Wall is LONG and you can actually see intact walls and towers and even get onto the wall. This makes more value for money for the commoner tourists point of view. I’ve been to the Great Wall before by the way, but it was when I was 7 or 8 though. I cried after climbing the walls across 3 towers. 😀

  2. Lol!! I was thinking… duh, the cool side is because it’s in the shadow. I cant believe you drive 4 hours to see it and then back the same day. I don’t think I would have bothered to go that far to see a bunch of stones! But I do think it’s pretty incredible and mysterious how this was constructed so long ago.

    • I didn’t think I would go there too. I guess I went along due to peer pressure. Someone suggested this crazy one day trip and everyone cheered and I sort of just went with the flow. 🙄

  3. I think it was worth the trip, I mean this is after all a historical site and to see it in person is an experience. At least you can say, yeah, I’ve seen Stonehenge with me own eyes!

    • Yeah, I suppose so. Strange that I could endure four hours to see a pile of stones in England, when I couldn’t endure a 30 minutes queue to get the tickets to go up the KLCC bridge.

  4. I thought it was commonsense that the sun shone on one side of the stone and not so much on the other, as you said 😀 It would be nice to play hide-and-seek around those rocks 😀

    • The game would be endless! Those stones are quite massive, so the hiding one could just move around and never be found!

  5. If you had known you could access this ancient marvel without having to pay, I’m sure you wouldn’t have, right? I think the marvel is not in the Stonehenge itself but how it was constructed in those times (especially the horizontal slabs) as they weigh helluva lot!

    • If I had known, I wouldn’t even go there in the first place to be honest…

      Must have been aliens who built those rocks.. 😐

  6. I visited Stonehenge within a few months of being in UK. Reason being it is one of the nearest attractions to where I was staying. I did not touch the hot and cold stone because I did not know about it. Guess I did not read the pamphlets. The tour guides you were referring to are tourists books/manuals/pamphlets or tour guides as in a person working as a tour guide?

    • When we went, there were pamphlets as well as a briefing from a man before we were set free to roam around. That was the tour guide I meant.

  7. i remember 20+ years ago, we also purposely drove there and then stay for an hour and then left.. it was early spring and late afternoon when we arrived, with the chilly wind, the stones were probably cold both sides since there was no sun, hahaha!!

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