Day 1: March 13, 2018
As we arrived at the airport it all felt too fast. I felt like I hadn’t prepared myself properly. The last couple of months I was so focussed on other things that I wasn’t even thinking about the trip. Then all of a sudden it was here. My parents dropped us off and we walked into the airport. I broke down in tears in front of the WestJet desk. It had finally sunk in that I wasn’t going to see my parents for another month. I don’t think that is the typical emotion seen at the departures section of the airport.
Our flight to Calgary was very non-eventful. It’s always so much shorter than I expect. We grabbed some pizza not knowing if we would get supper on the plane. We did not however, plan on not getting fed at all. Cookies or pretzels were the only option unless you pre-purchased meals. We didn’t even get a pillow or blanket. I was freezing the whole time!
Day 2: March 14, 2018
We arrived at London Gatwick and took our time getting to customs. We are usually in a rush to get to our next flight so it was nice to have a leisurely mindset. We had a good chat with the customs agent about our trip plans, grabbed our bags and went to find a restaurant to calm our starving bellies. We picked up a SIM card with unlimited data for 45 pounds not thinking about the poor exchange rate. The card ended up being 83 CAD, which I suppose is less than I was paying for my phone at home and it has unlimited everything.
We started our drive and Danny got into the groove of driving on the wrong side of the road pretty easily. He said it’s like riding a bike. We stuck to mostly the major highways until we had to turn off to head to South Downs. We stayed in a nice little Airbnb in a farming area. The place was a cabin behind one of the houses. The place was quite cozy and they had cookies so of course we thought it was fabulous. We took a walk that was supposed to be a loop, but we didn’t know when to loop. We ended up walking through some random fields to get back to our cabin. The countryside has been quite pleasant.
Day 3: March 15, 2018
We had planned a couple of things to see the night before. Danny had Googled Downton Abbey was filmed so we headed there first. We arrived at High Cliffe Castle and walked around looking for the right angle that they might have used for the show. We had convinced ourselves that it must be the angle from the back. When I Googled it again however, we realized the mistake. Downton Abbey was filmed at High Clere Castle not High Cliffe Castle. Regardless, it was quite a nice place and we enjoyed looking out to the English Channel.
From there we drove over to Stonehenge. We walked through the exhibition and then walked approximately two kilometres through fields to get to the stones. There was a bus you could take there, but we wanted the experience of the pilgrimage. The set up was quite smaller than I imagined, but there were ropes preventing you from walking too closely. Maybe up close they are actually bigger. It was still impressive to think how far the stones had come and the feat required to put them in place. The original site was created about 5,000 years ago and the stone circle was built around 2400 BC. The stones standing up are the “sarsens” and assumed to be from 32 km away in Marlborough Downs. The stones on top are the “bluestones” and are from Preseli Hills in southwest Wales. It is believed that Stonehenge was a temple built to align with the movements of the sun.
Click here for more information: Stonehenge
We decided we still had time to check out High Clere Castle. When we got there it was closed to the public and didn’t open until March. All my Downton fantasies were ruined!
The more local roads do take a bit of getting used to. We definitely do not have roads like them in Canada. Single lane with small pull outs to pass. At one point there was tons of traffic coming the other way and we just had to wait. Everyone is quite courteous though so you do move quickly. The sides of the roads are quite high or there are stone walls so sitting on the left hand side of the car was a bit nerve wracking. I kept waiting for the mirror to be torn off.
We drove on to the Avebury henge and stone circles. It is the largest henge monument and was built between 2850 BC and 2200 BC. It acted as a ceremonial site. These stones are smaller than Stonehenge and set farther apart, but the scope of the henge is vast. We walked around the small town to view the stones. Some areas were closed off due to erosion.
Click here for more information: Avebury
The drive on to our next Airbnb in Edington was non-eventful. We stopped on the way for some groceries for supper and lunches. Our place was a glamping site. It was smaller than I imagined from the pictures, but we were able to cook, sleep and use the washroom.
Next we are on to Wales!