As I write this I should have just returned from a trip to Istanbul. Unfortunately the now infamous Ash Cloud put a stop to that before it even started. I spent a Friday evening going through cancelling my flights, hotels and tour.

Dispiriting doesn’t begin to cover it.

But I wasn’t going to let something like that completely ruin my week. Limited to the UK, I decided to go to Salisbury and the near by Stone Henge, two places that I’ve not been to for a long time.

After picking up the hire car and driving out of London, I realised that I was a bit early to check into the B&B and decided to head straight to Stone Henge. Probably not the best option photographically (since the sun was almost overhead) but it worked well time-wise.

One of the bizarre things about Stone Henge is that it’s right next to the A303, a major road. (In fact last time I was here I just drove past in the car and never progressed into the visitors centre!) There have been suggestions that the road should be moved under the monument but, given the proximity, wandering around was remarkably quiet.

It’s an impressive sight. Like Giza’s pyramids, even today it would be a reasonable engineering task to build but it’s almost unimaginable how they achieved it thousands of years ago.

As has been noted many times before, the location has a certain atmosphere that’s difficult to put into words. It must have been a magical place, at least in times where people believed in magic!

After walking about the stone circle I got back in the car and heading down to Salisbury. It’s a pretty, old town.

The historic centre is the Cathedral. Again, it’s incredible to think that, in a time when most people were living in poverty, it was possible to construct a building as large and intricate as this.

Inside it was much brighter than many churches I’ve been in. Towards the centre of the nave was an unusual cross between a font and a waterfall.

Elsewhere in the Cathedral is one of four original copies of the Magna Carta. No pictures allowed in that room, but it was fascinating looking over such an important document. Since it’s all in Latin I relied in the translation on the wall. The combination of fundamental human rights and seemingly trivial details makes an interesting combination.

But the neatest thing that I could take a photograph of was this medieval clock, one of the oldest working examples in the world. Much more detailed descriptions can be found elsewhere so I won’t say much here other than note its significance.

After visiting the Cathedral I took a wander by the river, had quick drink and meandered back to the car. It was only a short trip, but it was good to get away.