The beauty of travelling alone is that you can adjust your schedule on a whim and nobody cares. I'm in Horley now... where is Horley? About a 10 minute bus ride from the Gatwick airport - handy, as I am flying to Dublin tomorrow. I decided I'm not going to Bath anymore (the city, not the practice), as I spent an extra night in Salisbury. I'm diggin' the small towns and country side, and I have made dodging big cities into somewhat of a sport.
Salisbury was great. While there, I took a bus out to Stonehenge to verify the accuracy of the stock desktop photo on the farm computer. On the way, the bus passed a pasture full of the biggest pigs I have ever seen... at first I thought they were large square straw bales, then as we got closer maybe overfed charolais bulls, but indeed just massive pigs (yup, my eyesight is THAT good!).
After Stonehenge, I jumped off the bus at Old Sarum, which was the original townsite for what is now Salisbury. Old Sarum is essentially recovered ruins of a castle built by William the Conquerer as well as the footprint for the adjoining cathedral. Climbing through the ruins reminded me a lot of when the boys and I used to climb around the old stone barn foundation - only I would have gotten in a lot of trouble had I dug any stones out of these walls... although that would have been cool, as the walls were made mostly of flint stones (yes Curtis, Fred, Barney and Wilma, but no sign of Betty). There were very few people at the Old Sarum when I was there, and the site is flanked by sheep and horse pastures, so I revelled in the peace and quiet and spent an extra long time there.
The real drawing card of Salisbury is the Salisbury Cathedral, home of the tallest spire in Britain, the oldest (possibly only?) working medieval clock, as well as the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta. The Cathedral was huge, lavish, and inside was filled with 800 year-old burial tombs... everywhere - in the walls, in the floor, and as independent monuments. Sue, this was definitely not a "running" church! It was very strange to walk around on top of all of the tomb stones. At one point, one of the tour guide volunteers walked up to me and asked if I had a camera. Thinking I might be busted, I confessed that yes, I did, but I was keeping it safely in my bag. "Well, pull it out and take some pictures!" OK, so not a museum as much as a living church.
I have been loving travelling by train. I get to see so much more countryside and farmland this way... OK, and one heavyset, elderly topless lady, but you know, noone likes tanlines! The only glitch to not having a rental car is that it takes a lot more creativity to get myself to the out of town attractions, but so far I haven't done too badly.
Tomorrow I head to Dublin, and spend the next 8 days touring Ireland on a hostel-based bus tour. Should be fun, could be crazy.