Before I begin discussing the "spectacle" known as The Shard I will address the mystifying marvel that is THE Stonehenge (and compare and contrast the two). This mysterious place that was formed for many speculative reasons still holds something magical/medicinal/miraculous depending on your own beliefs, whereas The Shard has no such qualities whatsoever, or at least we don’t know that yet.
I understand many of you students were bored with Stonehenge acknowledging it was all a “pile of old rocks” and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible to return to your air con coach, but did any of you stop to ponder that maybe, just maybe the spirit of Stonehenge was VERY IMPORTANT to other people?
During our trip to Stonehenge I noticed a woman holding an umbrella standing completely still in front of a healing rock for several minutes. The weather was extremely warm on this day and with her back to the sun for who knows how long and her eyes always closed, I could tell she was up to something personal or spiritual. Of course I wasn’t going to interrupt and stop to ask this woman what the heck she was doing standing there like a mannequin in the blistering sun; we probably didn’t even speak the same language, but she certainly set an impression during my visit and all I kept thinking as I listened to the audio tour was ‘Whatever she traveled all this way to improve in her life, I really hope it comes true for her.’ An individual who stands out like that amidst dozens of obnoxious people really deserves the extra well-wishes. However, I was ticked off on her behalf for all the selfish loudmouths not honoring her practice or the mere atmosphere of this location for that matter. I bet bus-loads of people around the world would kill to see Stonehenge, just so they can live better!
Now for The Shard. Shangri-La? Okay, I can see the notion of creating that hotel inside The Shard, but it class-i-fies and separates society even further apart in doing so; limiting access to both spectacles combined. And like Stonehenge, where the stones themselves are fenced off so no one can touch or climb them, the “restrictions” are a commonality for both places; about the only commonality, though. I mean, at The Shard you can’t even get past the elevator lobby without proving you are a registered guest of the hotel. Fair enough for those privileged-enough to afford the luxury pinnacle of architecture, but really, it lacks its own essence, which Stonehenge already has and has had for eons. The following picture I took shows how small The Shard can look from a different perspective (can you even see it?), proving it still has insignificance to many people in this city.
Despite advertising its unique welcoming signature scent, and perhaps because it’s still too arrogantly new, the faux-welcomes at the entrance of The Shard are enough to make anyone with real class turn away and say, "I'd rather stay elsewhere and get a good view of London from either St. Paul's Cathedral or The London Eye." Perhaps this will change in the next years.