After deciding not to cheat to skip France, I had to cycle to the south of England and take the ferry to La Harve, France. It brought me visit the most spectacular place I longed to visit in the whole England, that is Stonehenge.
Riding from London to Stonehenge takes 2 days, it is along a canal again but this one is not as bad as the one going to Northampton. I stopped and stayed for a night in Basingstoke.
The road A303 can lead you all the way to Stonehenge, it gets really busy and even traffic jam after Andover. I didn’t know people have to pay to visit Stonehenge, it is like 14 pounds! The ticket office is 5km away, they have buses connecting it and the entrance. There are some traditional Stone Age houses near the ticket office.
Planning not to pay for the entrance, I cycled to another ancient site, Woodhenge to pass my time until sunset. Woodhenge is a bit disappointing, however it was still another highlight of ancient structure where our ancestors built for unknown purpose (probably worshipping or holding special ceremonies).
I cycled back to Stonehenge, on the way I saw a gate which is not locked. It was a foggy evening, the visibility was barely 10m ahead, so I sneaked into Stonehenge without any problem. I saw somebody using torches to look for any invaders after the official closing time, but they couldn’t see me. I set up my tent around 500m away from the site, but the fog kept everything in a mist, I had to wait for the next morning to see the gorgeous view.
The sun rise at around 7am, I knew the opening time is going to be 9am, so I slowly woke up and ate my breakfast. As soon as I finished eating, there was a shout outside my tent: “GOOD MORNING, GET OUT FROM HERE!!”, I was a bit shocked and knew that I was in trouble.
Security guard: You know you are sleeping in an ancient burial ground and just stepping on it could cost you 3000 pound fine! You have 2 minutes to pack everything and GO!
Me: I am so sorry, I didn’t know it. OK, I am now packing and I am going!
Packing as fast as I could, I ran away outside the fence, but the guard was still starring at me. Actually the view outside the fence was not that bad, before I left, I took some good shots of the site. Well, it is still possible to see the stone without paying!
Leaving Stonehenge, the A36 road took me pass through Salisbury and Southampton towards Portsmouth, go to Fareham instead of Gosport if you don’t want to take a ferry. It was an early start so I arrived Portsmouth at around 3pm, wandered around the harbor and the historical dockyard.
My hosts Alex and Andy welcomed me, I was happy to know they are planning for their next biking trip starting soon in New Zealand and Southeast Asia! We went to see Alex and her teams practicing a kind of South American drum, brilliant and full of energy! I was glad to do a yoga session with Alex in the morning, and gave her a cupping treatment. And of course exchange stories on our bike tours. Life is GOOD on bikes!
Portsmouth is one of the naval city in England, the castle wall served as defense purpose, but nowadays most of them are transformed into naval heritage and leisure facilities.
This natural 5 colors stripe is interesting.
Portsmouth Cathedral with autumn trees.
Just know that Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, lived in Portsmouth for some years and he wrote a few stories of Sherlock Holmes based on this naval city.
At night, there was a firework (in advance) celebrating the bonfire day (every 5th Nov) in UK. Totally reminded me those days watching firework in Hong Kong.
The firework wrapped up my journey in UK, I couldn’t expect a better ending than that. All the best to Alex and Andy’s upcoming journey, and I am sure we will meet on the road again!
The ferry from Portsmouth to Le Harve left at 11pm, I checked in at 9pm and queued outdoor for around 1.5 hours until they let me to go onboard, it was ridiculous! And I still don’t know why it needs 8 hours for the trip. But anyway, I like overnight boat trip, so that I can sleep while I am moving!
France, I am coming!!
London to Stonehenge 151km
Stonehenge to Portsmouth 91km