Small-Town Girl - Big Opportunity: Experiencing Stonehenge - My Family Travels

Being from a small town, opportunities to travel do not come up often.  Any invitation to explore someplace different is always thrilling. When I received a letter from Cambridge University Scholars’ Summer Programme, I was ecstatic at the thought of studying in England. Unbeknownst to me, that summer held the best trip of my life.  I was able to experience Stonehenge. However, unlike most who only get to view this amazing megalith from a distance, I was lucky enough to go inside.

Stonehenge was constructed sometime around 2500 B.C., but its origins and purposes are surrounded in mystery. The towering bluestones are said to have come from Northern Wales—over 250 miles away from where they stand now. Thousands of years before machinery, the Neolithic people somehow moved the two-ton bluestones 250 miles to their current site, aligned them in three circle formations, and also aligned them with the pattern of the sun. This fact bewilders modern-day archeologists just as much as it does the average public. The mystery of Stonehenge enchanted me, making my experience all the more enjoyable.

I took a bus to Stonehenge on a trip with my archeology class at Cambridge University. From my window, I saw the outline of the stones across the green, British landscape. I trembled with excitement as we unloaded the bus towards the entrance of the site. Jumping the rope that barred most visitors from the Stone Circle was only the first of the many exciting things to come that night. Entering the stone circle is magical. I journeyed in the circle from the south—astounded as the stones towered above me. Being barely over five feet, I was even smaller than the stones lying on their sides. The stones were cool to the touch; some covered in moss, while others lay bare to the wind. One stone was embedded in the ground. Still, after thousands of years, many stones not only stand but also support the weight of the stones above them.  As the sun set, I could see the alignment of the sun with the outermost rock—an almost perfect line pierced straight through the middle of the formation.

My experience was magical; I know future visitors will experience the same magic I felt inside the towering stones of Stonehenge. For those who wish to visit the mystery of Stonehenge, information is provided by the English Heritage Website . Located in Salisbury, England, Stonehenge is one of the most sacred—and most visited—monuments. It is only 90 miles west of London—a short, comfortable drive away. Stonehenge is available to the public every day usually opening around 9 or 9:30 a.m. and closing at 6 or 7 p.m. A gift shop and café are also located right outside the stones. However, Stonehenge is roped off to most visitors. In order to journey inside, one must schedule far in advance to secure a place in an exclusive tour of the stones. Private tours are available either before opening time in the morning or after closing time in the evening. Tours can include a visit to nearby Salisbury Hill or to the Avebury stone circle just a short distance from Stonehenge. Private tours are available at the English Heritage Website as well as another Stonehenge touring site.

Stonehenge is an awe-inspiring site to behold. Visiting the mysterious Stonehenge was not only an unforgettable experience, but also a simple trip to plan. I encourage anyone looking for an exciting and educational experience to visit this magical megalith.

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