Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury

Very long day today. We woke up early to go on a tour bus out of London, and spent the whole day moving from place to place!

Bath was really enjoyable, such an appealing city! The Georgian style houses were gorgeous and it was easy to picture Jane Austen there! We only had an hour and a half there, because of the tour timing, which was unfortunate. There was a lot more there that I would like to see, so maybe I'll try to find a way to go back! We opted to go visit the Jane Austen Centre since that was my primary motivation for going there. Apparently you can only visit the exhibition on the tour every half hour, and we got there right after a tour had started, so the lady told us to go have tea in their tea room. The tea was really lovely, and when we told the waitress we wanted to make the next tour, she told us that they could let us into the tour late. That was not true, so we missed our tour and were unable to wait until the next one :( That was a major bummer, but we did have a nice tea so that was good. We completely missed the Roman baths though, so I think another trip is in order.

The next stop was Stonehenge, and I was concerned that I was going to be underwhelmed. That was not the case. Stonehenge is really incredible! When you are there, and you see how amazingly HUGE those stones are, and consider that they did not come from that region and that the people who built it did not have any kind of machinery, it totally blows your mind! They were also so smart to have it set with the sun! I have a very poor sense of direction so maybe that contributes to my disbelief - I need my phone to tell me which direction I'm facing!

After Stonehenge, we went to Salisbury to see the cathedral, which was very beautiful. While we were there, a local choir was rehearsing for a concert to be held tonight, so we were able to tour the church with beautiful background music! The church is really incredible. It's huge, first of all, and again when you consider that it was built by hand, so long ago, it's even more mind boggling. The tour guide also told us that the foundation for the church is only four feet deep! It is really incredible that it's stayed up for as long as it has! I spent some time just looking at the stained glass. Most of the windows are not the ones built with the church originally, but they are so gorgeous. It brought me back to stained glass class in high school; ever since taking that class I have a new-found appreciation for how hard that art is!

Rebecca and I are both incredibly tired from the day, so  I think bedtime is in order. Tomorrow we are going to have a much more relaxed day, doing a little bit of shopping and walking a different part of London. Until then!

Friday, January 27, 2012

This is London...

Today was the first full day in London! I have a much better feel for the place now and I absolutely love it! I walked from our hotel near trafalgar square to the tower of London. For history nuts or people who love the tutors as much as I do, this is a definite must. All of the history came alive! Then Rebecca and I went to see big Ben, the parliment buildings, and Westminster. Unfortunately we got there after Westminster was closed so we couldn't go inside, so maybe we can go back.

Tomorrow we go to my mecca-bath!!! I get to connect with my Jane Austen obsession! We also are going to salisbury and stonehenge, both of which will be fantastic as well I'm sure! We have to wake up early to leave, so I better go to sleep!

Good night, and good luck!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

London Calling...

First accomplishment: I have not yet been hit by a car, but stay tuned. Every time I see a car approaching from anywhere my automatic reaction is to jump because I'm so convinced I'm about to die! In happier news, people in London are, in general, fairly nice and helpful, and it only rained on us for about 10 minutes today! Second accomplishment: I am currently enjoying a Strongbow cider :)

Rebecca and I landed around noon, and then spent the day trying to get me a cell phone for my time here, which would have been much easier had the hotel concierge not given us total crap directions to T-Mobile. But we got there and it's all sorted now! It's a droid, and I have to say that my iPhone snobbery is kicking in...I want my baby back! Out of all the possible things that could have (and still might) go wrong though, I'm counting my blessings!

Very very excited to go to sleep, but I'm not letting myself until at least 8 PM, and optimally 9 so that I can get adjusted to the time here. Not exactly sure what's on the agenda for tomorrow, but I think Rebecca is interested in doing a bus tour of London which would be cool to get us oriented, and then who knows! Maybe fish and chips!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

'Twas The Night Before London...

Well, this is my first official blog post! I got to Seattle today on a somewhat sickening plane ride, and then managed just fine to take the bus from Seatac to Bellevue with my big bags, which has made me a little bit more confident about getting all of my stuff around Europe!

I'm sitting in Eva and Horst's living room; the wind is crazy outside, but they have a really nice fire in here so it's really cozy and warm. This place is so familiar and comfortable; it feels like a major juxtaposition to what I'm about to experience by launching myself into a completely different realm. I definitely can't comprehend what's coming up. It feels really surreal to me that I'm about to leave the U.S. tomorrow and not come back for five months. I feel sad about leaving my family and friends and familiar territory, and at the same time I'm so excited and anxious for everything to get started! I've been in limbo waiting for this trip for so long that I just want to be there, get lost, and have fun.

So tomorrow at 6 PM, Rebecca and I leave for London, where we will be until February 3. Then, I'm going to Brussels for a few days with Elena, my friend who's coming up from Germany. THEN, I will fly on the 6th to Edinburgh for my study abroad orientation, then to a homestay for a few days, and at long last, I will start my semester at Stirling University!

I'm so excited, so nervous, and so ready to start!

Until London!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Here we go!

The Road Not Taken   

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  Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.