Today we started out bright and early to visit Stonehenge. I was able to get permission for the students to actually enter the stone circle. Since the 70s, visitors have to stay quite a ways away from the stones. We arrived right on time and had a sunny, cold morning to explore the circle basically by ourselves for an hour. There were 4 other guests (22 people total including our driver, Bob). It was just amazing to be able to wander through the site with so few people there.
Stonehenge was begun as an earthen ditch about 5000 yeas ago. Then about 2400 BC, the 80 blue stones were added. These were quarried in Wales and moved 240 miles to the site. Within a few years after that the large stones were brought to the site. Most of these weigh about 25 tons and came from a quarry 19 miles away. The largest stones, however, weigh closer to 45 tons and are over 20 feet in hight.
Basically, the site was used for approximately 1500 years before it was abandoned for unknown reasons. This, by the way, was 800 years before the arrival of the Celts who had nothing to do with Stonehenge, no matter what the neo-druids say.
After an hour, it was back on our coach for the drive to London. We had lunch at St Pancras and then boarded the Eurostar for Lille. We had a smooth trip and arrived around 5pm (with the time change). We walked around the town a bit and then stopped for dinner. Tomorrow, it is off to Reims.
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