Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A little Cambridge...

Historical (Charles Darwin lived on my street).
Reading...ful. Book...ful.
Somewhat overwhelming.
Towels and sheets with "Pembroke College" embroidered on them.
20-minute walk to class, but worth it.
Candy store with jars of candy from the groud to the ceiling.
Eating in Harry Potter-esque dining halls.
Sitting in the opening scene of A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.
Reading in King's College Library under the stare of Napoleon.
Reading in King's College Library!
Reading in Pembroke College Library!
First eating duck experience - the teryaki sauce helped.
Not getting lost while running - not as easy as it might sound.

And now for some visuals:

It's a library, of course. This is the inside of Pembroke College Library:

And this is the inside of King's College Library:

During last night's Formal Hall:

King's College - I'm on the grass. We're not allowed on the grass hardly at all.
Back of King's College Chapel.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Country Week

  • Item: one week
  • Item: one bedroom, all to one's self
  • Item: one fridge, already stocked
  • Item: one bathroom, all to one's self
  • Item: a wonderful hostess who doesn't allow you to lift a finger to help her
  • Item: all the best of the mid-western English countryside
  • Item: one of the best weeks so far!
Imagine you're watching a Jane Austen movie. You get to the part where it shows the rolling green hills and hedgerows sitting in a light mist. (pause the movie) I've been there!

Wednesday, Marion took me to Coughton Court, which has been the home of the Throckmorton family since 1405. It's a manor house owned by The National Trust here in the UK. The house is most famous for the family's involvement in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

Today we went to British Camp, also called Herefordshire Beacon. This is where Brigham Young came to pray about printing the Book of Mormon and a new hymnbook in England. It reminded me of Ensign Peak -it's a short little hike to the top and the view is incredible. Just take a look:

Then we went to Gadfield Elm Chapel, the oldest LDS chapel in the world. It was first owned by the United Brethren, who gave it to the Wilford Woodruff to use as an LDS chapel following their mass conversion.

After a stop in Ledbury for lunch (with a quick peek of the Ledbury Parish Church,

we went to Hereford Cathedral. This is where they have the Hereford Mappa Mundi, a map of how the world looked in about 1290 AD. I guess it was pretty different back then...

Here's the outside of the cathedral:

Now, off to Cambridge. Just to give you an idea of what I've been doing the other days this week, I've read 3.5 Shakespeare plays and 2 Virgina Woolf novels. Lest you think this is all I needed to do, note that I should have read 5 more novels and 3 more Shakespeare plays before...Monday. Ah well. I'm only in England once, right? It's ok to see the country instead of stay inside reading all day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Warwick Castle

I'm staying in Solihull, England for a week before I head off to Cambridge. Solihull is about 20 minutes south of Birmingham and 20 minutes east (I think that's the right direction) of Stratford-upon-Avon. I'm staying with some friends of my grandparents who work in the church offices here. Marion offered to take me to Warwick Castle, which is just a 45-minute drive away. Warwick Castle (said Warrick) is everything a castle should be. It's surrounded by beautiful countryside, and looks like a castle from a storybook:

The Globe

I've been reading a lot of Shakespeare recently, so going to the Globe was such a good experience. It's one thing to just see the place, but to see a play there is one of the coolest things I've ever done. Everything is done the way it would have been done in Shakespeare's time, except for the lighting and other safety regulations. In these pictures, the stage is set for Macbeth, but you can't say Macbeth inside the theatre. Inside the theatre, you call it "The Scottish Play."

Portabello and Borough Markets

Portabello Market, located on Portabello Road, sells antiques, food, and other interesting stuff. We had really good cupcakes there from Hummingbird Bakery. Mmmm...

Borough Market is in Southwark, just right next to Southwark Cathedral and near the Globe Theatre. Here, I tried a delicious little quiche and the best fudge brownie I've ever had. I think all the pictures of me enjoying my food are on other cameras. I must have been enjoying my food too much to take pictures.

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens checklist:

Peter Pan statue! Check.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountains. Check. (By the way, you're not allowed to walk through these. Oops.)

Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria lived before her reign. Check.

Italian Fountains. Check.

Got lost. Check.

Ok with getting lost in a big, beautiful place. Check.

Walked along the Serpentine River. Check.

The British Museum has not lost its charm

For those of you who don't understand this reference, please note the lyrics to "A Foggy Day," sung by Frank Sinatra and Michal Buble, among others:

"A foggy day in London town, It had me low, and it had me down. I viewed the morning with much alarm. The British Museum had lost it's charm."

The British Museum is really big, like most museums in London. I'm sure we only saw about 1/12th of it. The take-away message for me was "Holy cow - these things are OLD!" We saw the Egyptian exhibit with things from 1280 BC. BC! One of my favorite things was that I could take pictures! So, as usual, I took way too many. Here are just a few:

I really enjoyed the exhibits on the vikings. There were even displays with pirate and viking hoards! People actually did steal and bury treasure! I think this case shows some of the viking tools:

There was a series of rooms dedicated to the remains of the Parthenon:

Here's a statue of Ramses II. Jonathan, you would have loved these! All the Egyptian stuff is so cool, and the statues are gigantic:

Here's the roof leading from the entrance into the galleries. That's the sky you see beyond the roof. There was a plane flying in the sky, and I tried desperately to find it with my camera, but I failed. It would have made such a cool picture!

The front of the museum:

Westminster Abbey

This is a beautiful, beautiful place. We'd been by here before, but it wasn't open for tours. The Poet's Corner was my favorite place inside. After seeing only a few of the numerous names of famous authors buried there my eyes started to water. It was so overwhelming to think that the people who wrote the curriculum of English classes in schools all over the world, who inspire the minds of readers and writers, and who searched to find truth in math, science, history and life are buried right there. It's almost like walking through the Salt Lake Cemetery and finding the headstones of the prophets. Almost. Here's pictures from the earlier day when we couldn't go inside:

Jenny was still here that day!

They're just pictures of the outside because you can't take pictures inside. Inside is beautiful too. It's interesting to compare Westminster Abbey to St. Paul's Cathedral - they serve similar purposes, but they look very different. Where St. Paul's is stone and full of light, Westminster is darker, with candles and lots of wood. Both fantastic in their own ways.