Category Archives: historic

Spanish Serenity

On a recent visit to Spain we decided to take a trip out to see the beautiful coastal town of Altea.

It was beautiful; a lovely beach, cobbled streets filled with shops and restaurants – and we only saw a small part of what they have to offer, I later found out it is a bit of a cultural capital.

We had been told about the church of the Virgin del Consuelo and that was really what we had come to see.

We took the bus into Altea and found ourselves at the sea front.

Without a map to hand we thought there was only really one direction we could go in to find a church … up!

cobbledstreets

And up it was. Quite a long and steep walk, but such wonderful scenery.

seaviews

The above photo was taken at about the halfway point, you can see the mountains in the distance. It would have been our coffee stop, but the restaurant was closed (!) so on we went.

As we wound our way nearer to the top the cobbled streets changed into a more patterned affair (sorry I don’t have a photo). As my friend said, you could tell you were getting close to the church as the last part of the street leading up to it had ‘gone all posh’.

outsidechurch

Finally we arrived outside the church. There was quite a bustling little town square and after a quick picnic sitting on the wall (and a rest from our climb) we went inside.

insidechurch

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A Visit To Stonehenge

stonehenge01I had always wanted to visit Stonehenge. Looking at a picture of bold boulders standing in a circle in an ancient configuration shrouded with mysteries comparable to the how, whys and whens of other wonders of the world such as the Pyramids of Egypt.

I knew I had to do it.

I made all the necessary preparations including extensive online research on Stonehenge and decided on date to make my maiden visit to this global icon. I decided to make the trip late last June as I wanted to try to have a sunrise or a sunset experience of the site. “Carry your camera and be ready for great shots” that is how every guide that I checkedseemed to conclude. I made arrangements with my friends and we decided to have an experience together.

stonehenge02The journey

We decided to go by car. This world heritage mystery is allocated 70 miles southwest of LHR airport. Travelling from London, I had to take the M3 and A303 to Amesbury. Amesbury was our spot for food and accommodation. We could see the Stonehenge and Woodhenge sign posts clearly from Amesbury. You cannot get lost while you are Amesbury.

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What it really is

There is a lot to Stonehenge other than the wonderful site and the exciting sunset. There is no other site in Europe that is comparable to this location when it comes to archeological richness. Visiting Stonehenge is more than just looking at a circle of stones, there are also other artifacts and exhibitions which can be viewed including re-created houses closely based on Neolithic houses dating to around 2,500 BC (which was around the time the large sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge) the remains of which were discovered just over a mile away during excavations in 2006/2007.

The experience

The stones stood above the ground dwarfing us. We could see the stones from the car park but once we were close to them, the view was different and the experience exciting. We took an audio guide that would take us through the tunnel and under the road to the site. We could not get as close as we desired initially because of the guided rope pathways and arranged for an early morning view of the sunrise.

stonehenge04
The huge mysterious monuments clouded the weak yet golden bleakness of the sun. As the sky turned from blue, to black, to grey and gold, the shadows became longer and longer. Then the first sunrays got a peak through the stones and cameras began to click. It was a truly beautiful sight spiced by long history of man’s civilization.

I grasped the fresh air that came from the pure unaltered land. The breeze was smooth to the face and gentle to the skin. All this is as a result of the preserved chalk grassland. The landscape is just majestic. There are a number of rolling hills and dry river valleys on the site. We walked and enjoyed the fresh air in the upcountry environment. Rummaging through interesting terrains, we were taken thousands of years back.

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There is also a lot of flora and fauna at this prestigious site and the surrounding countryside. It was my first time to see the Knapweeds and yellow rattle. Then there were the blue butterflies. I was told they are called the Adonis Blue butterflies. We also noticed a skylark.

At dusk, we headed to our camping site outside Old Sarum in Salisbury. Nobody is allowed to camp within the Stonehenge. However, we were told camping near Shrewton would have given us a closer view of the stones.