This was quite interesting because I had higher hopes for Kensington Palace, despite it's #4 seed. Here's the breakdown.
Okay, by now I'm sure you've established that I'm a bit of geek, so let me reiterate that with my love of the Beatles and history, I also have a lot of cults. Yes, cults. As I mentioned earlier (see Tower of London vs. Westminster Abbey, now with more pictures), I am not a religious person. With that said, religion has always fascinated me, especially ancient religions and yes, cults.
Now, there are many debates on Stonehenge, but to me, it had to have been a sacred land where people gathered to worship someone...or something. This has not been proven, but I like to believe it, so let me just run with that, will you?
This past Saturday (April 2), my parents and I took an amazing bus trip to Stonehenge and Bath. The countryside views along the way were beyond description, but I'm sure you can imagine the beauty. In fact, between the landscape and Mumford and Sons in my iPod, I was able to pump out 10 pages for my book, so that should provide some insight into how breathtaking it must've been.
Our tour guide, a good-looking English professor (well, that's the story my mother and I gave him), told us the little known history of Stonehenge along the away. It was fascinating. The first stones were believed to be placed there sometime in 3000 or 2000 BC...BC! I didn't realize that it actually went through several iterations before it became what it is today with the last known construction around 1600 BC...BC! So that means, on Saturday, I was walking near a monument constructed nearly 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Tell me you have chills because I know I certainly do and did.
There are several theories as to what Stonehenge actually is/was, but what really stood out to me is that is served, and still does I suppose, as a clock and calendar. In fact, the Summer and Winter Solstices are the busiest tourist dates for the wonder because the sun will align with several of the rocks during those days. I mean, the rocks in of themselves are remarkable - I can't imagine what is must've taken to get them there. Simply amazing.
Last note on Stonehenge - I actually viewed it the same day Kentucky played in the Final Four. Considering this was the first time my boys have made it that far since 1998, I was a beyond proud (hence my picture). Though we lost to UConn and lame Calhoun, it's hard for me to be disappointed. We went further than anyone anticipated, leading me to win my office pool. Woo, freaking, woo!
Okay, I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting here, but it was a let down. All I knew of this place was that it was the last residence of Princess Diana before her untimely death and according to Mom, the residence of the other, slightly less important royals (translation: family to the queen who need some digs but aren't cool enough for Buckingham Palace).
I actually found the walk through Hyde Park to the Palace to be prettier and cooler than the Palace itself. The gardens were nothing short of beautiful, and I had a fun, small photoshoot with a squirrel that followed us for a short time.
Here are my mom and Pops standing outside the gates to Kensington. The gates were beautiful, but much of it was under construction. What was rather annoying was that because of the construction, the company heading up the tourist portion of the palace, erected an "Enchanted Castle" near the home. It appeared very fake and somewhat out of place for this historic Palace, and in my mind, took away from the sight.
In the end, it was very clear that Stonehenge would take this win, and deserving so.