January 7: Stonehenge, Bath, Daniel

Today the Chamber Choir explored two ancient, yet still extremely relevant places: Stonehenge and Bath. We started the morning off strong with our first English breakfast.  We were all excited to try beans on toast, among other British favourites.
We then got on the bus for a quick drive to the oldest monument in Britain, Stonehenge. This mysterious circle has had many different tales of its origin associated with it, from aliens to Merlin, but research has shown that ancient people spent hundreds of years building it, although we don’t know exactly how.  No matter the purpose and means of creating this structure, it was a feat of dedication and resilience.
As we stared at the ancient stones, we were all filled with wonder and awe. Why did these people build this monument? Why did they dedicate generations and generations to creating this site? As these questions circulated through our minds, we tried to imagine how much these stones meant to them, that they were willing to put the creation of the henge above personal safety and wellbeing.
We then travelled to Bath, which was just a short bus ride away. These magnificent structures were built Our destination would provide both a concert and a chance to see the baths built by the Romans around natural hot springs, renowned for their curative powers.
Before we entered the ancient baths, we got the opportunity to briefly explore the city. It was breathtakingly beautiful, with pale limestone buildings built in gorgeous Georgian style.
The baths were amazing and we were all awestruck by the longevity of the structures and a glimpse into Roman life in Britain.  Much of the baths and the temple to Silas Minerva were still intact or in recognizable pieces, which is a marvel considering how long ago they were built. We also enjoyed hearing Bill Bryson, a Drake alumnus and a well-known person in England, on the audio tour of the baths. We were a bit disappointed that we weren’t allowed to swim in the baths (something about the sulfur in the water being “unsafe”).  However, we were allowed to drink some of the water at the end.
Next, we went to St. Michael’s Without, a church immediately outside (“without”) the city walls.  We had an amazing concert there, which benefitted a local homeless shelter. I had the pleasure of seeing family friends who live in Bath and to introduce them to my friends following our performance.
Finally, we returned to Salisbury, where a couple of friends and I went to a local inn and ordered fish and chips to end our first full day in England. Now, I am sitting in my hotel room, writing this with fondness for the experiences we’ve already had, while eagerly anticipating what tomorrow brings.