Saturday, July 31, 2010

Back Down in Londontown!

In case you were wondering, yes, I am still alive.
We spent the last week up travelling through northern England--
the Lake District.
It is known as one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and it was fannnnnntastic.

This would be a full-on blog post with the whole week's pictures and stories, but, upon returning, we learned that we are no longer supposed to upload photos from the London Centre, in order to help the struggling internet work more often.  
This is really going to cramp my working-on-blog-posts-at-2-in-the-morning style.
(If you know what I mean.)

Seeing as I can't upload photos from here and I don't want to walk to McDonalds at the moment (it being the normal 2 am blogging time), I will just have to catch up tomorrow.
I think this is going to be a problem.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I see London; I see France! (pt. 2)

Well, its been a crazy week to say the least. 
And, I am very, very behind on my blog.
So, you may get more pictures then stories this week. 
Getting right into things...

We drove from Paris straight to Amiens, France.
It was adorable.  
Amiens is famous for it's huge gothic cathedral at the center of the city.
So, visiting the cathedral was the first thing that we did.
Le Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens, as it is called in France, was my favorite cathedral we have visited so far. And trust me, we have visited a lot of cathedrals.

After the cathedral, we walked around and explored town- seriously the cutest place ever.

We had dinner, explored the town some more, then went to bed early (about midnight- that is early for us nowadays).

Friday morning, we woke up, boarded the coach, and headed back toward Calais.  On the way, we stopped at several WWI graveyards and monuments. 

my name on a WWI monument!

It was really interesting, but sad to see all the graves of WWI.  There were literally graveyards everywhere as we drove through the French countryside-- it was amazing to see them all.

As we drove on the coach one day, we were talking about how disgusting it would be if there were meat flavored chips. Two days later, one girl freaked out because her French "crisps" (as they are called in England) were disgusting.  I looked at them, and quickly interpreted that they were chicken flavored!! They literally tasted like chicken and stuffing... ewww! 

We reached Calais, went through UK customs, and boarded the ferry once more. 
Au revoir France!
andddd hullo England!

The next day, a few of us girls boarded a coach and went to Oxford!
The drive through the countryside was absolutely beautiful-- it was some of the prettiest English countryside I have seen yet.
At Oxford, the first place we went was Christ's Church.  It is the most famous of the colleges there (colleges are kind of like departments in America), and has a few famous areas...
(Yes, this is the very staircase the 1st years climb in the Harry Potter movies, before entering the Great Hall for the first time.)
And the Harry Potter Great Hall!!!! Ahhh!!!
(I'm kind of a Harry Potter nerd, if you couldn't tell...)

Monday evening, the whole program went together to see Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre!  I am not going to lie, I was not very excited to go. 
Luckily, I was very mistaken! 
It was one of the funniest things I think I have ever seen!  The actors were beyond hilarious, the storyline was really interesting, and despite having to stand for 2 1/2 hours straight, I loved it.  It was actually really vulgar in parts too, which made it funny because our BYU professors took us to it... ha!  The theatre was really cool too, as it is supposed to be an exact replica and stands in the same place of Shakespeare's Globe (which was burned down).

The Globe is across the Themes, and the name of the bridge on which we crossed the Themes is called the Wobbly Bridge.  We felt it was necessary to take a picture showing just how wobbly the Wobbly Bridge is.
The best part? 
We had to ask three people to take this picture because the first person cut half of us out, the second person tried to take the picture with the camera facing herself and the screen towards us, and the third person didn't know which button to push and took the picture without looking (hence why the final picture, this one, is sideways.)
Totally worth it though.

Tuesday, me and two other girls went and saw Wicked! It was soo fun!  Of course, it was completely awesome (dare I say Wonderful?... pun intended:]), and it was really fun to hear the songs sung with different accents! (Most of the actors had British accents, but a few were different.  Boc had a really strong Scottish accent, which was cool and totally added to his character!)
I have to get the pictures that we have from another girl, but they'll show up eventually.

The next day, we had another day trip.  This time, we started with the Sandham Memorial Chapel.  It is a little memorial chapel for WWI with 16 memorials covering every part of the walls, each depicting a different scene from the life of a soldier.  It was really cool, but we weren't allowed to take pictures inside (I hate that!)  The only picture I got was this lovely self-portrait, outside the chapel. 

The next stop was Jane Austen's house, in Chawton.  It was really surprisingly big and nice, and had beautiful gardens.
Jane Austen's bed!! 
(We weren't actually allowed to sit on it, so I am pretending:])
People were smaller back then...
...and Jane's actual writing desk! How cool!

Perhaps my favorite part of Chawton, however, was not Jane Austen's house or gardens, but the playground we found nearby.  It was splendid.
This is the world's funnest swing...

I rode it on by myself, with another person, and (my personal favorite) on my belly.  Awesome!
There was also a really fun teeter-totter.  Who knew those things still existed?

After the super-fun playground, we went on to Winchester, to see yet another Cathedral.  It was huge and beautiful, but I only have two random pictures.

Our final stop of the day was... Stonehenge!
Cool, huh? 
It was a gorgeous day, which our directors said they had never seen before (I guess it is always freezing, windy, and/or raining there), and it was awesome!

Our attempts at "jumping pictures".  They are harder than they look!

Thursday, we saw yet another show.  This one is called War Horse, and is about a boy and horse who both go into WWI and are split up.  I really enjoyed it! We were in the front row, with the stage literally almost touching our knees, so we were basically in the action.  There was even a part where the went into the "trenches", which were built right in front of us, and the actors were about a foot and a half from my knees.  I was soooo tempted to touch one, but I refrained. 
At the end of the show (contrary to the "no picture" policy), I couldn't resist jumping into the trench and taking a picture!

That is barbed wire in front of me, and there is a "body" somewhere behind me...
We also got neat-o War Horse pins to wear after seeing the show.

As an extra bonus, the theatre was on Drury Lane.  
"Yesss, I know the muffin man.. who lives on Drury Lane?!"

Friday, we went to Westminster Abbey, another massive, elaborate Cathedral.  There are a ridiculous number of crazy famous people, like Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, that are buried there and I saw!

 That night, we had a fun little adventure walking around and exploring downtown London. So fun!

Saturday, I went to the National Gallery and did a quick audio tour for one of my classes (the Life of Christ tour, which was awesome.  I swear, I could spend days in the National Gallery.  I love it.)  After I got back from that, we headed out to see a real, live polo match!
When we got there, I was giddy.  I just couldn't stop smiling and had the time of my life.  It was just how I imagined!! (And something that I can check off of my bucket list!)

Saturday night, I had to stay in to work on a paper (that was due that night.) Boo!

Tomorrow, we are leaving for five more days to go up through Northern England.  We are staying in Ambleside and York, but will be visiting a lot of other places too. More on that later!

One last thing-- I just want to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers for Spenny.  If you didn't know, he got in a really bad long boarding accident last week, has been in the hospital, and has had brain surgery, among other things.  With everyone's fasting and prayers, a miracle has occurred! He has gone from being non-responsive and not even being able to focus his vision to talking, eating, and recognizing people in just a few days! He is still in a lot of pain and has a long recovery ahead, but he has been incredibly blessed so far.  Our family, too, has been comforted and blessed through all of your support.  Thank you so much!