Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday

We have now put more than 800 miles on our Mercedes bus. With an 8 AM departure from our oxford hotel, we headed south toward the County of Wiltshire. A few miles west of the city of Salisbury, lies the iconic collection of prehistoric stones known as Stonehenge. It's only a couple of hundred yards from a busy four-lane highway, so people on ordinary business in the 21st-century drive past it every day; a monument that goes back 5000 years. It was an amazing experience, on a bright and warm day just prior to the summer solstice, which figures so heavenly in the history of this place.

We boarded our coach at 11:30, we headed toward the city, stopping first at the ruins of an ancient castle known as Old Sarum. For centuries it was well used by English monarchs, but was dismantled by Henry VIII I'm the 16th century, so that the stone facing could be used in other places. What is left are some flint foundations, interesting historical signs, and an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. We then went our separate ways to find lunch around the area of the market square in the middle of Salisbury.

Salisbury boasts one of the most prominent of the English cathedrals, and we enjoyed a guided tour by inexperienced volunteer. My only regret is that we were not able to stay long enough to enjoy choral evensong.

From the south central part of England, just 20 miles from the coast, we headed east through the countryside, bypassing London on a six lane freeway, and arriving in Canterbury, in the extreme south east of the country, at 8 PM. A three course prearranged dinner was waiting for us, for which we are all grateful. 

We are now on the outskirts of our pilgrimage destination point, the magnificent cathedral church of Christ, Canterbury.

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