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    (Miss)adventures: A weekend travel through time

    (Miss)adventures: A weekend travel through time

    Photo By Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog | A woman celebrates after the winter solstice at Stonehenge, England, Dec. 22, 2018....... read more read more

    RAF LAKENHEATH, SFK, UNITED KINGDOM

    12.22.2018

    Story by Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog 

    48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    We walked in silence through dead grass as dawn drew near.

    Approaching the stones, dark clouds swirled above but could not dampen the spirit of the ranks we would soon join, swelling in both numbers and anticipation.

    Rows of cameras on tripods shifted nervously as everyone hunted for the perfect spot to capture the first rays of sunlight, which would bring to end the longest night of the year.

    Positive energy was everywhere, with Druids drumming and singing while others joined in spiritual dancing.

    It was an experience I can honestly say I will never forget.

    A year ago, pushing carts at a Wegmans grocery store in upstate New York, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be watching the sun rise above Stonehenge after the winter solstice.

    Everybody dreams of traveling the world, seeing different cultures, and experiencing how others live, and I am amazed that has become my reality.

    As a first-term Airman, I feel fortunate to be stationed at the Liberty Wing for my first assignment. The mission and location provide opportunities to visit new places and experience different cultures, both on and off duty. I hope to inspire others to get out and explore the world beyond their comfort zones.

    My first real adventure was a short weekend trip to Stonehenge for the celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

    Stonehenge has silently marked this event for thousands of years, according to the English Heritage website. The stones were shaped and set up to frame at least two important events in the annual solar cycle – the midwinter sunset at the winter solstice and the midsummer sunrise at the summer solstice.

    My friend Alex was my co-pilot on this trip. The night before the event, we drove three and a half hours to Andover, a town about 15 miles from Stonehenge. We stayed at an upbeat pub/hotel that was lively and very affordable.

    The next morning, we got up early and left for the Stonehenge visitor center around 6:15 a.m. There's usually an entrance fee to visit the site, but attending the winter solstice celebration was completely free.

    As we started to arrive, lines of cars backed up on every road leading up to the park. I didn't realize there were going to be so many people at this event, but it was the winter solstice, after all, and one of two days each year you can enter the circle and touch the stones. It has been a tradition for thousands of years for people to celebrate and worship during the solstice at this ancient prehistoric site.

    After parking, we walked through the wide-open fields to reach the monument. There was a shorter road leading directly to the stones, as well as shuttle, but Alex and I wanted to get the full experience by walking through the land.

    At the circle, people touched the stones with care and closed their eyes to meditate; it was beautiful to experience and the energy was astounding and spiritual. Many visitors wore costumes, and music and laughter filled the air.

    After Stonehenge, we ventured off to visit Bath, just an hour away. The town features natural hot springs, Roman ruins, examples of 18th-century Georgian buildings, and was home to British author Jane Austin from 1801-1806.

    Driving into the town was unlike anything I had seen. The hillsides, architecture, and houses were breathtaking.

    We found parking in the town center, a short walk from the Roman baths.

    There were musicians playing in front of the Bath Abbey and children running around chasing after pigeons. After stopping at almost every building to take in the view, we made our way into the Roman Baths. The baths and view of the Abbey were as beautiful as I expected.

    After the baths, it was just another short walk to the iconic Pulteney Bridge, which stretches across the River Avon and was completed in 1774. More recently, it was featured in the 2012 film version of Les Misérables, and looks almost exactly like it did in the movie.

    In just a single weekend, I was able to travel back in time to the Neolithic age, then transition to the Roman Empire, pause briefly in the 18th century, before arriving back in modern times.

    Having the ability to travel and see the history the world is built on is one of the greatest things anyone could ask for. I'm planning to take every opportunity I can while I'm here to seek out new adventures and share my story.

    Editor's note: This is an article in a series about travel opportunities while stationed in the United Kingdom. No federal endorsement is intended or implied for any of the events or places described.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.22.2018
    Date Posted: 01.18.2019 11:26
    Story ID: 307524
    Location: RAF LAKENHEATH, SFK, GB 

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