What I’ve been up to!
I haven’t written in a while because I have been busy and haven’t had access to wifi for the last two days! Here I go trying to remember exactly what I’ve been up to in the good old UK!
On Friday it was our last day of classes until the travel week. We all got done around 5:30 and met up with the kids who were done earlier. We decided we were going to go to a place called “The Court” that night to hang out (not the Court in WV though ha- ha)! It was a lot of fun to have a relaxing night with friends over a cider and chips. We met some locals who were nice to talk to as well who asked us all about American “Spring Break” because they have heard it is the big thing that college students do in the US. We explained to them that our spring break is only a four-day weekend and lots of students don’t get to go anywhere. The night was going swimmingly and we walked around Soho to see what it was like at night. The lights were awesome but we definitely saw some weird things. We were getting pretty hungry so we stopped at “Wok Walk” for some Chinese food. I sampled the chicken I wanted and got some lomein and even a sprung for spring roll… and then… I went to pay… and couldn’t find my credit card! It was a tragedy. I tried calling Mom to see if she saw anyone spending money on it but could not reach her until later that night—my time 2 and her time 9. But we decided since it didn’t have spending on it that we would wait to cancel it until tomorrow after I checked at The Court if it was there because someone turned it in. So that was my Friday! Wonderful with a dash of drama—I was pretty bummed I didn’t get that Chinese food.
On Saturday morning we (Mallory, Alyse, Tara, and I) had a big day ahead of us. We went to The Court first thing and I walked up to the counter, expecting nothing and asked if my credit card was found and described it—“It has a bull on it!” The kind lady went into a cupboard and pulled it out, gave it to me, and didn’t even ask for my name! I was SO GLAD we found it! We were thrilled and ate Pret for brunch <3 and then made our way downtown. We started the day with a tour of the Globe Theatre exhibition—Shakespeare’s theatre!!! It was amazing. We learned a lot during the tour of the exhibition but were bummed that we didn’t get to tour the actual theatre. After we finished there we went to St. Paul’s cathedral. It was 85 degrees out that day and we climbed all the way to the top! It was 530 stairs one way! Going up the first 200 or so wasn’t bad at all because they were not steep, but as you got further up it was more steep and narrow. Getting to the top was breath taking! The cathedral floor was really elaborate and beautiful. On the hand held tour I learned that the church was actually left open for a very long time and animals like horses used to roam around inside! It took them four years to clean up the inside and the outside after. It was also really awe inspiring that a church has been on that piece of land since the year 600. 600!!! Going to St. Paul’s was definitely something that I think people should put on their bucket list. To finish off the day of sightseeing we went to platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station! That was a lot of fun but not exactly what I expected. I chose Gryffindor as my scarf and Alyse chose Hufflepuff and the Hogwart’s guy made everyone cheer for her because nobody ever chooses Hufflepuff! We got our pictures, went and bought be a coat at a store which is AMAZING called Primark, and then headed home—exhausted. Mallory and I met the rest of our group at an Indian restaurant called Taste of India—my first experience with the cuisine ever! It was great. I can’t remember what I ordered but I would definitely order it again. We went home after to pack and get ready for the travel weekend!
On Sunday morning I woke up at 6:45 to get ready for the 8 o’clock departure to Stonehenge! The bus is a really nice charter bus and I got a seat all to myself so I was able to sleep on the way really well! When we finally go to Stonehenge it was much hotter outside than we anticipated. We hopped off the bus and saw that the actual stones were roped off—not what we had seen in the movies! We waited in line and loved all of the sheep running around. We walked through a little tunnel and there it was—a wonder of the world! We were taking millions of pictures of the crazy rocks and got some good pictures of the group. I was really fascinated that the stones are actually longer underground at this point because gravity has made them sink over the centuries of its existence and that we still have no idea how they got to be that way or why! I attempted to do some cartwheels in front of the landmark but failed. Ashley noted that I looked like a bear… needless to say I deleted all of these pictures. We got back on the bus after about an hour and went to the ruins of a castle—(NAME OF THE CASTLE HERE)—which was really beautiful scenery. It was the first experience of the whole group seeing the rolling hills of England. We were re-energized after the bus ride being outside and getting to walk around and explore a little bit. We then travelled to Bath, which was famous for the Roman Baths, but we didn’t get tickets in time to visit them. It was still a lot of fun because we toured Bath Abbey (the church) for only 2.5 pounds! I lit a candle for my friends and family, which was nice because I have never done that before. I liked to think about it burning even after I left. The stained glass was amazing—I know Dad would have loved it! Later, I went into a gift shop and wanted to buy all of the beautiful glass work for my family but and hoping I find something even better in Ireland (we get there on Thursday). That night we slept in a medieval castle that the Queen still owns to this day in Wales! When we arrived at the castle (St. Briavel’s Castle) we were treated to a medieval meal—no silverware allowed—something I have always wanted to do! We started with vegetable soup out of a goblet with bread. I liked dipping the bread into the soup, but it felt very unnatural to drink it! We also had: potatoes, chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes, and some type of salad. The chicken was delicious but we had to tear it off the bird with our hands—it was HOT HOT HOT! For dessert we had a honey cake that I didn’t eat because I was so full. We then heard a little bit about he castle from our guide, Simon. He told us that it was used as the King’s hunting castle because the grounds were so forested back then it was the best place to go. If a person was born within a certain vicinity of the castle and had a home birth even today, that baby would be a “Forester” and would have certain rights that other people don’t have. He also informed us that the castle is haunted! I was not happy to hear that whatsoever. He said that there was a couple who brought their little boy not too many years ago and the little boy said that he had met a new friend named Tom. There were no other children staying in the castle at that time… but that Tom was a ghost! I didn’t get much sleep that night because I was very scared, but I was not the only one so I felt better about that! It was a lot of fun and made me want to go to a renaissance fair!
Monday rolled around and we woke up to a delicious breakfast at the castle. After we finished eating it was time to get back onto the bus! We stayed in Wales and visited another ruin of a church. This time it was a church that had been purposely torn apart during the reformation by King Henry, TINTURN??? Abbey. We spent a few hours here exploring and taking group pictures! I finally participated in a huge group pyramid and I was very ecstatic about it. We were very hot and tired and took naps on the bus as we made our way to a coalmine to tour! We were here much longer than anticipated because our guides thought we had to make an appointment so we waited from 12-2:30 though we could have gone in at any time… little things like this made our sleepiness show because we were just laying around wherever we could! The coalmine was really interesting and made me so grateful that I wasn’t born in the Victorian Era. Children of 6, boys and girls, had to work in the mines as door operators. They would be underground for 12 hours a day 6 days a week! I cannot imagine how they were brave enough to do it. A very old man at the time was 42 years old, for perspective. It was very cold 90 meters underground which was a nice blast of cool for us who had been in the sun all day. I realize now how romantic movies portray that time. After we got onto the bus again we travelled back into England to the metropolitan area Bristol and stayed the night at a hostel that was run by the same company who worked in St. Briavel’s castle. We were really happy with the lodging because it was a hotel turned hostel so it was only four of us to a room and we had our own bathrooms! We opened the window to let it air out while we went to dinner at a delicious Latin eatery called Las Iguanas! It was to die for and we had so much fun talking at the table. Bristol was like a mini London on the water—I liked it a lot for only being in the city one night. When we got back to our room though, we saw at least 150 gnat type bugs on the ceiling. It was awful! I climbed on each of the bunk beds and smashed them all with toilet paper so we could sleep bug free! It was so hot in the room because we had to close the window that we were all sweating the entire night! We are excited for air conditioning again—why has the UK not embraced it as much as the US?! Oh well—this trip has been amazing and I have already seen so much during the travel week I cannot wait to see more!
Today we woke up and had another breakfast at the hostel and got back on the bus! We headed into England again to see another castle—Carreg Cennen! It is by far my favorite thing we have done on the trip so far. I would not mind living on top of a hill overlooking the valleys of Wales every day and night with the clear sky above me! The scenery was something you would see from Lord of the Rings in Middle Earth or something: open, green, and almost untouched! So the castle was apparently built by the British and fought over for centuries between the Welsh and Brits—the battles were gruesome. When men would try to climb the walls the soldiers from the inside would pour boiling oil on them from above… not pretty. We stayed at the castle for a few hours and had lunch complete with apple crumble and homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert, how perfect! We then had a wonderful bus ride and arrived to our hostel for the night— on the beach, literally a 2 minute walk! We went straight for the water for an hour or two, came back for dinner, I had MGT class, then went back to the beach with everyone for some fun beverages. It is finally not 85 degrees here so we are all thrilled! Going to shower and actually blow dry my hair tonight— ready for a good night’s sleep and my big day tomorrow here in Broadhaven <3