Showing posts with label Stonehenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stonehenge. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Windsor Castle- The Oldest Inhabited Castle in the World

One day in August 2009, I embarked on a guided bus Tour to Windsor CastleBath and Stonehenge. I thought it would be wise to do so to understand the in depth historical background of each town I visited, without refferring to my guide book every five minutes. Windsor Castle was our first stop, I decided I didn't want to go in, somehow following a tour guide on a very glib and fast tour of this amazing castle didn't appeal to me. So, I decided that because  I was not a tourist and I lived in London, I knew I could come back and see the castle in all it's splendor in my normal gingerly fashion that I am accustomed to. So, I let the tour guide know, I wasn't going to enter so she wouldn't think the poor American girl didn't dissappear, and got lost in the enormous castle grounds. After that,I proceeded  in my joful solitude to go to the local pastry shop for a pot of Earl Grey tea and crumpet. After that, I wandered to the closest church yard and took a nap on the bench, (since I had only slept 4 hours the night because of my excitement), which by the way had tombstones around. I was blissfully dozing off, when I began to hear raucous sounds coming vaguely from the periphery and then building up. I wasn't very happy to be woken up, but to my amazement as I woke up what I saw before my eyes was the most beautiful array of gorgeous English soldiers marching majestically in predictable pomp and circumstance right pass me. I jumped from my bench, shook my head in awe, grabbed my camera and like some reporter from the National Geographic I ran after them as if my life depended on it.

I followed them around the corner to the front entrance of Windsor Castle. To my amazement, it was the Changing of the Gaurds. I hadn't wanted to see the Changing of the Gaurd at Buckingham Palace, it was always very low on my list, or if I wanted to see it I never seem to be able to go to Buckingham Palace on a day they were scheduled.  And so here it was in plain sight, when I least expected it. I must add, it was a beauty to behold. The majesty. The pomp and circumstance that the English are famous for, and of course, the Catholic Church. It  made it an unforgettable experience, one I shall always remember.

Queen's Guard are the names given to contingents of infantry and cavalry soldiers charged with guarding the official royal residences in London and in Windsor

 .Sentries of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment being posted in Windsor.

So does everyone else. I know it's cheesy but I had to put this photo in here.
After all,  They all look like they
are from Kansas City.

Built by William the Conqueror within what was a royal hunting forest (now Windsor Great Park) after theNorman conquest of 1066, Windsor Castle has been successively enlarged, adapted and rebuilt by monarchs from Henry II to Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family continue to spend most of their private weekends at the Castle and it remains an important venue for ceremonial visits from heads of state from other countries. It is also home to some of the greatest paintings and works of art in the Royal Collection, which are displayed throughout the Castle’s splendid interiors. On your visit you will see the State Apartments, the Precincts, the Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel (except on Sundays when the Chapel is closed to visitors). Please allow at least 2 hours for your visit

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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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 !)


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