Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stonehenge and the Spookies

Last Night I went on a walking Ghost Tour of Brighton. I admit the guy giving the tour was far more interesting than the actual ghost stories. It was more of a tour of "places-that-shady-things- happened-in-the-past" than "haunted places." The bubbly friday night atmosphere also didn't create much of a spooky mood. The most impressive part of it was "The Cricketers," which is where the man suspected to be "Jack the Ripper" used to stay and even left a map with a drawing on it that matched out with where the bodies of the first five victims were found. Now they have a museum of sorts with all the newspaper clippings about the murders in the room where this guy used to stay. It was hard to imagine something so horrible being associated with such a tidy room. The pub itself was definitely playing up the haunted aspect. It is known as the oldest public house in Brighton to start with, and the management installed a sound box or something so when you stand in a certain spot it sounds like barrels are "mysteriously" rolling in the cellar below you. In any case the museum was much more impressive.

Today was the Sussex in September trip to Stonehenge and the Roman Baths in Bath. The trip started really early. There was still morning mist floating around when we arrived at Stonehenge about 2 hours away from campus. Luckily it burned off before our tour started so we were able to get so awesome photos of the site. The actual site was interesting just because of the engineering skill it must have taken to erect the structures (thank you RPI). The entire site was not as big as many of the pictures I've seen in magazines and books suggested. The tour said that the structures were positioned in such a way that they look much bigger than they actually are from certain angles. There is no denying that the blue stone structures are montrous even if they aren't as huge as National Geographic portrays. I got some incredible pictures but I won't be able to post any until my laptop is resurrected.

After visiting Stonehenge, our next stop was Bath to tour the Roman Baths that were built back in the days before the Empire was converted to Christianity. We were on our own for lunch, so I went with three other girls to Sally Lunn's Refreshment House and Museum. It's a world famous for it's Sally Lunn Buns, which are light semi-sweet bread according to the menu. The building is the oldest house in Bath and has served such greats as Charles Dickens and other aristocrats and royal bathers. I had an awesome ham and chedder melt on a bun. It's a really good thing that the food was really good becasue the service was terrible. We sat for nearly twenty mintues before they took our drink order. We had wanted to go to the Jane Austen House/Centre but ended up not being able too because our service was soooo slowand we had to go back to the Baths for our tour.

The Roman Baths was also very impressive. The structure was discovered in the 1880s under the ruins of itself. The water is naturally heated and delivered the the bath by a hot spring. Hot springs are not common to that area of England which makes it even more special. The bath complex also included a temple to Sulis Minerva, a combination of the Celtic goddess Sul and the Roman goddess Minerva (Athena). Other than the Great Bath, the center is in ruin or covered over by the Bath Abbey or the surrounding shopping district. The Great Bath has been restored although it is nowhere near its former glory. In some of the ruins off of the Great Bath, that haven't been demolished, you can see how the building was converted to a Turkish Bath and then, later, modified again by the monks of the Abbey. After exploring the baths, a bunch of us went to ShakeAway which is a milkshake place where you can order 150 different types of milkshakes. I finally settled on a chocolate and cherry milkshake that kinda tasted like Cherry Gracia ice cream. Delicious. Overall, Bath was a very pretty city and I wouldn't mind going back to check out the rest of it sometime.

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