A new day..a new beginning..And a new set of destinations..
The last day was hectic indeed. The majestic London night, along with the daylong excursion had taken a toll on the body..but certainly not on the spirits..And why not?? Today was a date planned with the crowning glories of the British history..a tete-a-tete with the whelms of the bygone fantasies which are still relevant in the legends, fables and folklore..
So here was the deal for the day:
A window seat, a bottle of water, a beaming horn from the bus, and there I go again…
- Windsor Castle
We drove to the west of London into the lush county of Berkshire. Not even an hour had passed, and there I stood right in front of the historical Windsor Castle, the largest and the oldest occupied castle in the world. And majestic it truly was. Standing tall since the 11th century after the Norman invasion, the castle has since then been the face of the English Royalty in general, and of the British Empire as a whole.
A walk across the castle compound was enough to make me understand just why Windsor has always been the preferred weekend residence of the Queen!! The castle grounds cover nearly 5 hectares; and the Long Walk, a paved avenue of trees,runs south of the castle for 3 miles in a straight line !!!
If the castle radiated grandeur from the outside, it was a showcase of opulence and splendor from inside. The awe inspiring state apartments were nothing short of a visual masterpiece showcasing lavish decor, royal furnishing and treasures from the Royal Collection.
My only regret was missing out on an entry to St Georges Chapel, that houses the tombs of ten sovereigns, including that of the legendary Henry VIII. The 14th century Gothic masterpiece, remains closed on Sundays..Alas…..
The bus cris crossed through the hilly county of Somerset, considered by many as the most beautiful in Europe. The first look of the city of Bath said it all!! There was a sheer elegance written all over the place. The neo classical buildings radiated royalty and blended harmoniously with the green and hilly landscape, thus creating a city personifying a surreal charm and allure.
A step inside the Roman bath complex, and I felt having been transported 2000 years aback. I made an entry into the Great Bath, which is the heart of the complex, situated alongside a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess of healing , Minerva.. Since the complex is constructed above Bath’s three natural hot springs, the water constantly remains above 45 degrees.
The city is not that large and is surely best experienced on foot..I followed the same policy and walked through the cobbled streets to explore the city’s best known corners like the Royal Crescent, Circus, Pulteney Bridge among others.
Having spent some quality time in Bath made me realize just why it has been declared a UNESCO world heritage city..It is suave yet contemporary, sophisticated yet traditional. It has been, and would always remain, a crowning jewel among England’s architectural masterpieces.
As I left the left the beautiful county of Somerset behind, and gradually forayed into the open unending lush green fields of Wiltshire, I knew it was coming..”There it is”, the driver announced and I looked straight in the direction of his pointed figure. My eyes sparkled on the first sight. How beautifully the circle of cream stones merged with the greens of the grass and the blues of the sky!!
It was windy as I descended from the bus and went towards the legendary Stonehenge, probably the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. Built in several phases, the initial process commenced in around 3000 BC, with the final stage of construction being somewhere between 1600 BC to 1500 BC.
Stonehenge’s purpose, however remains shrouded in mystery till date, as the builders left no written records..Some speculate it to be an ancient burial site while others presume it to be an ancient temple. Another school of thought claims to be erected as a memorial to those who got slayed by the Saxons.
I sat in the open fields..trying to unravel the mystery..trying to soak in the mysterious aura..visualizing the bygone era..supervising the construction process..dreaming about the splendors that the world has to offers..Hope life had a pause button!!!!