"England's mountains green" Glastonbury by Sjalen
Glastonbury Travel Guide: 133 reviews and 424 photos
How many books have I not read by Mary Stewart and the like, describing the Isle of Avalon and the Arthurian legend...I finally came here on a blustery February day and it was a perfect day as we had much of this sacred place to ourselves.
Glastonbury is a name that provokes thoughts on everything from the Holy Grail to rock festivals and like Paris or Venice, it is impossible to go there without certain expectations of what it will be like. Whilst some of these were met, there was still a totally different feel to it than I had expected. I think this was because it was smaller than I originally thought. There really is only the High Street area and then starts suburbia and what I certainly didn't expect was that the gorgeous countryside would be as close to the High Street as it is. Hop off the bus and you can chose whether to go shopping or stroll across fields full of sheep and cows!
I had also expected Glastonbury to be full of people settling here because of the New Age tolerance but maybe we were too off season as we never saw many "alternative" people. As everywhere in Somerset, people were extremely friendly though, and not just helpful but they acted as if they had known you forever! Maybe that's the effect this place has on people. :)
Climbing the path towards the Tor, we saw a rainbow as we looked back towards the town centre...in an almost sacred place like this, that made us feel very special. No wonder William Blake was inspired too, and wrote the famous hymn "And did those feet in ancient time" (better known as "Jerusalem" and England's inofficial national anthem) after a visit here:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
There is more to the hymn than just the pleasantness of course. Joseph of Arimathea, one of Jesus' desciples, settled here (read the tips) and the abbey is one of the most famous in christianity. The satanic mills Blake writes about were also not very quaint, nor found in Glastonbury, but despite all those hidden meanings, the view from Glastonbury Tor of the surrounding countryside is the sort of image the hymn gives most English people I think. Personally, I started humming it to myself to make the climbing of the Tor easier and found myself humming it throughout the day afterwards and I know I will now always have a special image in my head when I hear it.
- Pros:historic, stunning vistas, tolerant atmosphere
- Cons:I guess you'd find them if you settled...
- In a nutshell:"Oh to be in England"
Glastonbury isn't along the railway but buses from Bristol via Wells stop here (click on the website below to select... more travel advice
Also known as Wyrral, this hog's back hill (click to see it as it looks from the top of the Tor) is where Joseph of... more travel advice
Sjalen's Related Pages
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- "GLASTONBURY - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS!"
- "The Mystical Isle of Avalon"
- "Glastonbury - not just for hippies"
- "Glastonbury - Tranquility at it's finest!"
- "Glastonbury Festival"
- "England's mountains green"
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