Ok so I know this post is wayyyyy overdue, but I figured better late than never. I have lost count of what number destination I’m on because we take so many side-trips.
First off, we went to York on Friday as a group. We saw Clifford’s Tower, part of York Castle. We also saw the "shabbles" -a medieval ghetto where we get the phrase "it’s all in shambles," meaning a mess. It’s full of cute little shops now.
Then we toured the minster (i.e. really super old cathedral. built when the Romans were here.) we saw the famous "rose window." Everything was so beautiful and ornate.
Then we took a train to Scarborough of Scarborough Faire fame. The faire was actually going on while we were there but we didn’t make it. It’s kind of like a little kid circus. Our group of 8 girls was at three different hotels- Kaitlyn and I were at the Grand Scarborough hotel, a Victorian seaside resort. Seriously. It had an Empress Suite made for her. The lobby had an enormous gilded staircase that looked identical to the one in Titanic, in my opinion. There was also a cabaret show on a stage in a room off the lobby with an attractive young man and three backup dancers singing and dancing to a wide variety of classics such as "Cotten-eyed Joe," "Candyman" and some Michael Buble style songs. haha it was awesome. We were THE only people in the room under 65. I’m sure. It was like the retirement resort of England. It was also incredibly easy to pretend we were back in the Victorian era since they haven’t redone much on the rooms since. 🙂 It was an experience.
While in Scarborough, we walked along a boardwalk area on the beach right beside our hotel. it was the North Sea, so we couldn’t exactly go swimming, but Kaitlyn and I drew our names in the sand and took a seashell each. The next day we visited Scarborough Castle, which was one of the best views we’ve seen yet. It was a beautiful ruins site with a view over the bay and a field of flowers. We took a taxi to the train station and rode to Whitby where we climbed the 199 steps to Whitby Abbey. It was the inspiration for Dracula, so Jennifer and I listened to Kaitlyn read the copy she had just bought. It makes me want to start a book club when we get back to Waco where we just go to Cameron Park and read on sunny days. We were very lucky to have all sunshine with a light breeze. The colors could have been taken from a Crayola box: green grass, baby blue sky, royal blue water, yellow flowers, tan ruins. 🙂
After this Jennifer headed off to the bus stop since she was continuing on to tour the moors for the afternoon and the next day. Kaitlyn and I had agreed to meet up with the group. We were early so we got ice cream and watched out the shop’s window. Well there were 10 million tourists there, it was sooo insane. We barely caught a glimpse of Margaret once while waiting, but running out onto the street proved fruitless. We found out later that they had meant us to meet in a different place. o well. We headed back to the bus station and quickly found out that it wasn’t where we thought it was. So we got on a bus that looked right and was going the route we last heard was The Plan, to go back to Scarborough. We got on and looked up and there was Jennifer! hahaha she was like "what are ya’ll doing on this bus? didn’t you want to go to York with everyone else?" And we just kinda stared at her for a bit, then laughed and decided to just take the trains back from Scarborough to York and then to Oxford, like how we came. We laughed about it some more and texted the other girls so they didn’t worry about us. Later on the train back to Oxford, we looked up after boarding and there were the other girls from our group, on our car! haha. So, moral of the story is, all things work together for the good.
Then Monday we went to Stonehenge and Salisbury. It was amazing to go see the rocks because I have wanted to go since I did a pick-a-random-country project in 7th grade history class. We also saw the highest steeple in England in Salisbury. It is the only other place that has an original Magna Carta besides the British Library. We took a train (surprise) back to Oxford just in time for dinner in the Great Hall.
Yesterday we visited The Kilns, the home of C.S. Lewis (which may or may not have inspired me to pick up a special something for a devout C.S. Lewis lover in my life *winkwink) since I have just recently become a fan, first with the Narnia movies and now with Mere Christianity, it was full of cool facts that I had never heard before. I think the tour guide was kind of pleased that we had a background enough to know who he was but not know the back stories. While there we saw a pond near the house that they used to swim and boat (called punting here) in. It also had a brick bench on the side that Tolkein and Lewis built as bffs. I didn’t even know they were tight, but apparently everyone else in the world knew that it was Tolkein that brought Lewis back to Christianity, leading to the rebirth of one of the greatest Chistian authors and apologists of modern times. Sweet, right? In fact they edited each other’s books at a little pub here called the "Eagle and Child." We went inside the other day on our tour of the city.
Today Jennifer, Micah and I just wandered around in the rain. We found their hall of ceremonies. It had this amazing painted ceiling with angels and clouds. We took the stairs to the top dome where we could see out all over this city of "dreaming spires." Soon after Micah headed back and Jennifer and I went to the big all-university library since our college’s is closed. It was quite an adventure. We asked if we could just go study inside and one lady said to ask the "library admissions desk" so we go inside this little office and the ladies basically bite us to pieces with sarcasim and disbelief that we would even ask to "just go study in a library. preposterous" or something like that. they expected us to have already done extensive research on what we wanted to "study" in their collection and to have looked through their catalogue. This did not sit well with us, especially Jennifer who is a Great Texts major and has looked through their catalogue, but at the stuff that they don’t let just anybody see. They even asked how we knew it was a library since there was no sign. we were like "uhh… we looked at a map…." Plus it had different versions of "biblio__" and "schola___" rooted Latin words engraved on every building. Since she knows Latin and I have studied two foreign Romance languages, we both even knew what each section held. HA. We left slightly irked and put out that someone could be so rude about it and that a library wasn’t for just any student to study in.
We leave for Paris tomorrow. I should probably go pack, lol, but all this rainy weather is making me so sleepy!
Video blogs coming soon.