Adventures Across the Pond
Although I’ve been back in the States for 2 days, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down and type out a recap of my trip. I thought about doing a lengthy report but I think doing a recap will be easier for everyone. I have uploaded all the picture onto my Flickr gallery, so feel free to check those out.
Here’s what happened:
I left Friday night and spent a sleepless six and a half hours on a plane. I made a valiant effort to sleep, but with lights on, people talking, a baby behind me and the obvious fact that I was on an airplane made it pretty challenging to get any shut-eye. When we landed, I made my way through customs and onto a bus heading towards Bath on pure adrenaline.
After I settled into my hostel, the Bath YMCA, I spent a few hours wandering around town and getting myself acquainted with the area. Because of jet-lag, I had to keep myself awake until the appropriate time to sleep. I managed to stay awake until almost 10:00, and then fell soundly asleep until 9:00 the next morning.
I spent Sunday morning on a walk around the town of Bath as part of the Jane Austen festival, where our tour guide pointed out places relevant to the two books, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Afterwards, a girl I met on the tour and I went to the Costume Museum and the Roman Baths. Very enjoyable and I learned a lot about the town from it. They even have water from the hot springs (that’s where they get the name Bath) available to drink – a lot of people say it’s nasty but it just tasted like really hot tap water. We also had coffee and then attended a concert of early 19th century music before going our separate ways.
Monday was tour day – Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circles, the Lacock National Trust Villages (where we saw Harry Potter’s parents house and the archway where the first photograph was taken) and Castle Combe, plus a few random pit stops along the way. It was a great way to see the English countryside and get a little more out of my one week trip to England. When we got back to Bath, I stopped by the Bath Abbey to take some pictures. I attempted to read back at the hostel, but promptly fell asleep until well past the closing time for most restaurants so I had to settle on Indian food.
On Tuesday morning, I took a long walk up the side of a hill in the south part of town, where there were some really great views of the town. Then it was off to London on a two and a half hour bus ride! The first part of the trip, to Bristol, involved me sitting next to some foul-mouthed thirteen-year-olds. The second part was better, as I sat next to a very cute English boy. Too bad he was 17. Headed straight to my friend Melissa’s flat in London and called it a night pretty soon after.
The weather was fairly decent all week, but Wednesday it rained so I hit up Westminster Abbey, the Winston Churchill War Room museum and the British Museum. Afterwards I went back to Melissa’s neighborhood where I participated in her church’s discussion group held at a pub. We had a lively discussion about the economy and whether or not money is evil.
Thursday was a much nicer day, so I spent the morning walking around and taking pictures, like of Big Ben, before checking out Tate Modern and then heading over to Buckingham Palace. The Palace is only open during August and September (part of the reason I planned my trip for now) and it was BEAUTIFUL. We toured through some of the drawing rooms, the gallery, the coronation room and the huge ballroom where they hold all the state dinners with politicians. It was lovely and I encourage everyone to see it – if you’re into that sort of thing. That night, I went with my friend Melanie – an American living in London – to a Twitter meet-up called Twestival, where they were accepting donations for a food drive. It was so much fun and I met a lot of really cool people. Best exchange of the night: “So, are any of your followers here?” “Well, I’m an American…” “Ohhhh.”
I took a break Friday morning and slacked off a bit by watching the BBC and the horrors going on at home. America makes for very depressing television. Then I went off to Camden Town in the north part of London, where there was an awesome market set up with tons of punk and alternative style shops and stands. It reminded me a lot of Portland, so it was very cool. Afterwards, I wandered around Picadilly Circus and through Leicester Square before meeting Melissa and our friend Caroline at a pizza place. You can read her recap here.
Saturday was Oxford day, though I wasn’t feeling very well. Melissa went there, so she showed me a few of the colleges and the pub where Tolkein and C.S. Lewis hung out at. It was very cool, though my feet were aching and I had a bit of a cold so we went back pretty early. Melissa and I ordered in Indian food and watched Lord of the Rings before packing up for our mutual departures the next day.
I flew out Sunday morning and arrived back mid-afternoon. I managed to again stay awake until pretty late, so my internal clock is pretty much reset (I think). I don’t really think jet lag is something that affects me all that much, and which I am eternally grateful for.