It first started with a trickle. Those few drops of cold water had landed on my head, as I walked around the ancient city of Bath. My friends and I had just come out of the building housing the Roman Baths. We chatted about the green bath water and how warm it was (we had all touched it secretly). We talked about the different exhibits: the bust of the Roman goddess Minerva, the intricately carved stone statues, and the dioramas that portrayed the baths as they once were. I looked around the ancient city which was covered with cobblestone walkways and beckoning bistros, that offered a respite from the cold air blowing through the city. As I glanced up at the sky, I pleaded with the dark clouds to not ruin this day for me, this day which I had been waiting for since I came to England; the clouds had not listened.
What started with a trickle ended up in a never-ending shower of freezing water as we hiked around Avebury to see the trail of megalithic stones and up a huge field to see a Neolithic tomb that once held the remains of an early-ancestor of the human race. For our Introduction to Archaeology class and for any young adventurer, it was an exciting experience, but we all prayed for the rain to end.
My fellow group members were all tired and worn to the bone from the rain that had pounded on us. We entered the bus and collapsed into our chairs. Our energy drained with every drop of water that had hit our bodies. Mud from our trek was splattered all over my pants and on my soaked sneakers. I was thoroughly exhausted.
The bus did nothing to warm up our chilled bodies. The babble that had started at the beginning of the trip had quieted down to soft chit-chat. I looked out the window as we drove to our final destination. We whizzed by field after field containing farm animals or gigantic hay mounds. The occasional stone mansion passed us by reminding me of the England of old. The rain was still pounding on the windows as the bus started to slow down when we reached our destination. We had arrived at Stonehenge.
Gilly, our instructor, told us about the history of Stonehenge and that it had once been open to the public. But over the years, people had graffiti over the stone behemoths and chipped off pieces of the smaller blue stones which they believed had healing properties. Eventually the public was not allowed into the stone circle so as to prevent any more mutilation of the historic English monument. Luckily, we had the exclusive chance of being inside the Stonehenge circle.
We got out of the bus and walked towards the stone structure. I was smiling widely until my cheeks ached. I forgot that I was tired and that I was caked in mud. My mind was fixed on the great stones of Stonehenge. As I entered the stone circle, I was struck at how huge the stones were. No wonder archaeologists puzzled over how these stones were placed on the hill. They were enormous, taller than my house and wider than six adults. We all were in awe. Some stones had fallen down, while most of the megalithic rocks stood erect in a set pattern with arches designed to allow the sunlight to pass through. It was breathtaking and I’ll never forget when I got to meet the magnificent stones of Stonehenge.
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