Sunday, June 7, 2009

On to London, To Write Personal Essays!

Current city: Bath
Cities (or places, since most have been anything but cities) I've been in the past week: Tintagel, Boscastle, Danywenallt (in Wales)

In 27 hours I'll be in London. Which means that there are only 2 weeks (to the day from yesterday) left. I'm not ready to go back home. This week has made me more ready to go back to the states though. I've been kind of homesick. Not much, but since we haven't had internet at all all week and then one of my best friends ever got married yesterday and I was halfway across the world and a bunch of other things, I just feel like I should have been home this past week. But that has passed now. I just love England so much. Anyway. I have internet now here in Bath, so I'll give you a little summary of the week.

The first few days we spent in Tintagel, legendary birthplace of King Arthur. It's one of my favorite places. The town was tiny. But the hostel was situated on a bluff right by the ocean. As in, you walk 5 feet out the front door and you're on a cliff overlooking out where we'd eat dinner and watch the sunset and then it was like a 10 minute walk to the ruined Castle/Merlin's Cave. I actually got to stay in a B&B, which was nice beacuse I got to hang out with the peeps at the hostel and then get a nice bed and shower and a really really good breakfast. The castle was a ton of fun to explore and then we played on the beach at Merlin's Cave--a couple of us even made an excursion later that night (because we were lame and weren't prepared earlier in the day) and sat under the waterfall and climbed clear through the cave during low tide and all this great stuff. Loved Tintagel.

We walked along the shore for about 6 miles to Boscastle, having class on the way. I love it when we have class outside. This shady coastal scene was beautiful. And our classes are always so great. Boscastle's hostel was really nice. The town flooded in 2004 and the hostel was basically destroyed then, so it's all brand new, basically. Big rooms, and the town was small and cute. Jon S., Kylie, Christine and I had fun talking and exploring.

Next stop was Wales. We stopped somewhere on the way, but I can't remember where it was at the moment and I don't have my journal/itinerary on me, and no one is close by to let me know what it was. Terry (our busdriver) drove us wherever we went and then we went to Wales. WAIT! We went to Glastonbury, to the ruined Abbey there where King Arthur is supposedly buried and then to Wells, to look at the Cathedral there, but we didn't get to go inside. THEN we went to Wales. Out in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful though. We sang Welsh rounds with Katy A. and talked and had fun.

Our main day in Wales was basically on our own. We got to hike around just doing whatever. I wanted to find a waterfall, but it was quite a walk and looked like rain, so I went off by myself and found this really beautiful spot off the main road (but mind you, it's in the middle of nowhere) with a bridge running over this little, rocky ravine that had a tiny waterfall in it. On that bridge I ate lunch and read scriptures and sang hymns and had a really beautiful experience. It was just me and nature and God. It was one of those moments where, although you're not on a mountaintop, nature is a temple.

Speaking of the temple, I'm starting to feel the effects of not having been able to go for a while. I definately miss it, although England has presented me with many experiences like unto the Spirit I feel while there, especially being surrounded by a community which is probably as close to Zion as a group of 30 college students can get. But in a week and 5 days I believe, I'll get to go to the temple in London! Hooray!

Anyway. Yesterday we left Wales, stopping at Tintern Abbey first. It was beautiful. It was lightly raining, and there was a mist over the trees. We read Wordsworth's "Composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey" there, of course. :) I love going to ruined abbeys. Seeing all the trees rise majestically to the sky through the empty windows that once held stained glass make me feel like nature is the stained glass God would put there, the stained glass that he has given us to make us happy in life.

After Tintern Abbey we left Wales (Sorry, I'm repeating myself) and came to Bath. At first being back in a city was weird. We haven't been in a real city since Edinburgh, I don't think. At least, not that I can think of at the moment. So all the hustle and bustle and especially the very crowded Roman Baths was kind of annoying at first. But the baths were fun and very soon we adjusted to the city. We shopped around in stores, watched street performers (including an awesome band, a statue guy, a unicycler 10-feet in the air who was juggling fire and tossed one under his leg, and a saxophonist). Our hostel here in huge. We really enjoy having the extra space, especially since our next stop is London. All 20 of us girls will be in one room, but at least we won't have to pack up and move for 10 days. :)

Bath is a beautiful city, especially at night. Last night Christine and I walked around town for a bit. The creamy limestone buildings were sillouhetted against a dark-periwinkle sky and it was lightly raining so the sidewalks were sparkling in the street lamps. It was so quiet that the sounds of the music festival that ended last night were drifting up to our bench on the hill. Random lights in random windows gave a gold glow to the city as well and the Bath Abbey, the central cathedral in the middle of town, rose up majestically. Then today after church the two of us went on another walk, this time all the way across town to the Circus and the Royal Crescent. Both so cool. One day Christine and I are going to come back and stay in the Royal Crescent. It was pouring rain for about half of our walk, which was 30 minutes each way, plus about 30 minutes of wandering around the park.

Today the ward here had stake conference over an hour away and so we had sacrament on our own outside on the lawn. It was a beautiful meeting, both because it was outside and because the people I'm with have the strongest, most glorious and loving testimonies. THe rest of the day was spent just on our own since we didn't have a fireside. Most of us read. All's Well That Ends Well. Or Mrs. Dalloway, but I've already finished that. Of course, I'm way behind in everything else.

Tomorrow we'll wander Bath for a couple hours after eating crepes and then we'll head to Stratford to see As You Like It, and get into London way late! Then our city adventure begins! I'm very excited! I want to see and do everything!

Anyway, I must go now. My time on Whitney's computer is almost up and there is a long line. I don't think Katy A. would appreciate it much if I went over. :) Cheers!

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