Sunday, 30 August 2009

Part 2: Facts about the Mysterious Stonehenge

For Facts about Stonehenge click this link.

-Stonehenge was built between 3100 – 1100 BCE.
-The circle was aligned with the midsummer sunrise, the midwinter sunset, and the most southerly rising and northerly setting of the moon.
-The ground plan and structural engineering of Stonehenge incorporate sophisticated mathematical and geometrical understandings on the part of its builders.
-There were two types of stones used in its construction: the ‘bluestones’ (weighing as much as four tons and brought from 240 miles away) and the Sarsen stones (averaging eighteen feet in height and twenty-five tons in weight).
-It has been estimated that the construction of Stonehenge required more than thirty million hours of labor.
-More than nine hundred stone rings exist in the British Isles. Of these, Stonehenge is the most well known.
-The megalithic monuments of Britain and Europe predate those of the eastern Mediterranean, Egyptian, Mycenaean and Greek cultures.
-The Druids had nothing to do with the construction of the stone rings. Druids are known to have conducted their ritual activities mostly in sacred forest groves.


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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Bath in August

Walking down the cobble stone streets of Bath,I am transported immediately to 1827 Regency,England.I imagine I am wearing an elegant, flowing Empire waist dress(made in the finest dupioni Italian silk in perhaps ecru or champagne )and I am sneaking away to meet my paramour on a clandestine riverboat down the River Avon, because I am supposed to be marrying my boring rich cousin.( He's probably hunting somewhere in the nearby woods or smoking a pipe in his drawing room).Such was the life of many a young girl in Cromwell's England , since women weren't allowed to work or inherit their father's property.

When I was Bath I sampled afternoon tea at Hands Tea House,(7a York Street,just a few minutes from Bath Abbey)and had my typical Earl Grey tea and vegan brownie.Bath in August was gorgeous with fluffy white clouds and blue skies (think baroque rococo paintings Fragonard or Boucheron)and abundant sunshine. People everywhere socializing and lolligagging on the verdant green.I discovered the famous Assembly Rooms where in Jane Austen's novels they held the very elegant balls where debutantes would do the rounds in order to find a husband.

Next time,will plan a trip back where I will go to Therma Hot Springs Sessions start at just £22 and there is a roof top pool,that sounds like fun. (I better go before it starts raining again.Yikes !)Also, a Jane Austen Walking Tour is de riguer which starts at the Bath Abbey on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.(only £5). I am planning my next trip already. Will have to go back to spend a few days, because being a Jane Austen fan I can't get enough of this Georgian city.

Bath,England, is a unique city; its hot springs, Roman Baths, splendid Abbey and Georgian stone crescents have attracted visitors for centuries. Bath,one of England's most beautiful places to visit. Bath is the only thermal hot spring in the UK. Set in rolling Somerset countryside, just over 100 miles west of London, it is a beautiful and unforgettable place to visit. Designated a World Heritage Site, Bath was the first city in England to receive this prestige and proudly stands on the slopes of the River Avon. On my tour of Bath, I took in the Bath Abbey, which saw the coronation of the first British King in 973AD. I marvelled at the famous Pulteney Bridge, modelled on the Florentine Ponte Vecchio. Both are consdiered to be one of the most romantic bridges in Europe.



Some Interesting Links:
The Assembly Rooms

The Jane Austen Centre

Thermae Bath Spa

Monday, 24 August 2009

Part 1: The Airy Fairy Side to Stonehenge

Stonehenge on windy Salisbury plain under an umbrella of whispy clouds and is breathtakingly beautiful !! It is still a big mystery how the rocks got there in the first place. You think it's just a bunch of rocks, but it's much more than that. I have always wanted to come to Stonehenge just to say that I have done it. That it was another thing to check off on my overachieving list of things to do in life and places to see. But, upon seeing Stonehenge I really was inspired.

I went on a tour which is really the best way to see it. I also saw on the way
Windsor Castle and the elegant historical Georgian City Bath. Stonehenge was the last on the the things to do that day. The guide said once I had seen them I would not want to come back. But, I beg to differ I would like to go back during the Autumnal Equinox. Apparently, there has also been many pagan weddings that take place. I think it would be interesting to see Stonehenge to appreciate the historical connection it has with the Druids and the pagan community in England.Historically, The Druids had nothing to do with the construction of the stone rings. Druids are known to have conducted their ritual activities mostly in sacred forest groves. Stonehenge is blocked off by a small low fence. There is no entrance right close up to Stonehenge, since there has been unrestrained Graffitti writing in recent years. Damn ! because I was hoping to do gongyo ( As a buddhist gongyo is the recitation of a chapter of the lotus sutra which is known to wake up the chakras and reveal your onw innate buddha nature) right near the rocks. I talked to a member a few years ago and she said she did morning gongyo with a group of Buddhists.
How cool is that ! I am bit jealous of her. That would have been an unforgettable spiritual experience.

Supposedly the stones are said to have healing powers.
For example, the legendary Merlin tells King Aurelius:

Laugh not so lightly, King, for not lightly are these words spoken. For in these stones is a mystery, and a healing virtue against many ailments. Giants of old did carry them from the furthest ends of Africa and did set them up in Ireland what time they did inhabit therein. And unto this end they did it, that they might make them baths therein whensoever they ailed of any malady, for they did wash the stones and pour forth the water into the baths, whereby they that were sick were made whole. Moreover they did mix confections of herbs with the water, whereby they that were wounded had healing, for not a stone is there that lacketh in virtue of leechcraft.

There are many ways to get to Stonehege. You can take a train, bus, broom or car to Salisbury.But, I recommend going on an inexpensive tour with Gray Line Tour company for just £39 and £6.60 for public entrance. So about £46.60 to see one of the SEven Wonders of the World. There are many that will charge you upwards of £69. They leave from Victoria Station at 8:30 am. You can see Windsor and Bath along the way. Don't think you will sleep on the bus the tour guide Ursula is just as isightful about English history as she is hilarious. (She makes fun of the Royal Family especially that of Prince Charles, she thinks (well,most think) he has no taste in mistresses and presently Camelia is called "old trout" -Laugh !!)

Click on Photo to Enable Slideshow with Photos of Gorgeous Stonehenge

Jane Austen in Bath
The Great London Cathedrals.
HOW TO SAY Thank you Part 2.
Dating in London: I can't be botheredd
Stonehenge Part 2 The Facts Man just the Facts

( If I don't write you.. you'll konw why I am too busy writing my blogs !)

Friday, 7 August 2009

A Rainy Day in Oxford England

I had to get away from my Italian boyfriend he was buying me too many gifts and hugging me to much ( damn all that loving it's not good for your health !) so I spent 3 days in Oxford but it was mostly raining so I was not up for doing a big walking tour. I shopped around and putzed around, but did really nothing of consequence. I simply enjoy walking around imagining I am some important scholar in the renaissance times. London is only 1 hour from Paddington station on the fast train. There are plenty of vacant youth hostels. Many Spaniards arrive in Oxford to learn English
and reside in these hostels.

Oxford is known as the 'city of the dreaming spires' - a term first coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the gentle spires and harmonious architecture of the city's university buildings. As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.

Because of this famous school Oxford in which many great minds and scholars have attended, it's a town brimming with much intellectual activity and cultural stimulation. On a given day, you can see a new avante garde plays. A rendition of Romeo and Juliet was going on at one of the Colleges. As well as afternoon concerts of Mozart Concerto No. 5 (I am confusing it with Chanel No 5),and Vivaldis Four Seasons. The whole mentally chareged atmosphere is in the air and the whole aura of Oxford. I compare it to where I am from in America, Berkeley California. In my opinion, Oxford has that Berkeley feeling without the patchouli and the marijuana. Like Berkeley a vast majority of the people ride their bikes(like me), which I just love.(I have rode my bike Fee Fee for 4 years before moving to London.Now, I don't dare ride a bike on these crazy London city streets but I still love people that ride their bikes).I still love that old world, old fashion feeling Oxford has and can't wait to get back on another day trip, hopefully this time it won't be raining ( yeah right!). So watch this space, Oxford Part 2.


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