Friday, September 12, 2008

England, part I: Aug. 21- Aug. 24

As most of you know, I graduated in March from OSU with a degree in English. Shortly after, I moved home to help my parents at their new house in Medford, OR. My mother was very sick with cancer, and I acted as her full-time caretaker. Mom passed away on July 23rd. Her passing was peaceful and it happened while she slept. Though we all wish her cancer had not occurred at all, I truly believe that the end happened in the best possible way. Our whole family had the time to be with her and to say everything we could wish. I graduated at about the perfect time, as I arrived home just as Mom was beginning to need help. She was a fighter and had such a positive spirit, she was an incredible inspiration to all who met her. She is sorely missed!

My dad has a business in Northampton, England. Just before his last business trip, he asked me to tag along and of course, I gladly accepted! Our trip was amazing! Following are some photos and stories about our trip... I have only included a fraction of the photos we took, but if you would like to see them all, I have posted them at Enjoy!
I arrived in England after a 10 hour flight on August 21st. Dad picked me up at Heathrow and we drove our rental to Nottingham (as in Sheriff of..!). We saw lots of Robin Hood statues and we toured the castle of Nottingham, which turned out to be a mansion built on the site of the ruined original castle. Probably my favorite place in Nottingham was the place we ate dinner, called "Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem." It is the oldest known pub in England, built the year King Richard the Lionheart ascended to the throne in 1189 AD. It is a series of tunnels and rooms carved out of the rock upon which the castle stood. We had to duck under the doorways because they were so tiny!

Did I mention that Dad and I drove down a pedestrian only street? Oh yes, and not only that, we were driving on trolley tracks and were surrounded by crowds of people who stared and yelled at us. So so embarassing! We're lucky a trolley didn't come!

We stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast. Our room was charming with an old four-poster bed. Breakfast was served in a beautiful glass dining room set in a garden, but the food... well food in England is not exactly stellar haha. That morning and pretty much every morning after, we were served roasted tomato and mushroom, a fried egg, black pudding (blood mixed with a filler until thick), bacon (which isn't strips, but big pieces), and toast. I ate lots and lots of toast!

We left Nottingham and toured the Chatsworth House next. You might recognize this house as it has been in multiple movies. It was Pemberly (Mr. Darcy's house) in "Pride and Prejudice" and the new movie "The Duchess" with Keira Knightley is about a real woman who lived in that house... it is featured in the film. They had a display with all of the actors' clothes and information about the real duchess, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire.

I absolutely loved this house! It has a room of sculptures (it's in "Pride and Prejudice") and an amazing library with paintings by famous artists. The gardens are immense and they include a hedge maze. Dad and I had a blast!

If you're wondering why I haven't shown any photos yet, it's because my Dad thought that re-formatting a photo card meant changing the pixel format of the photos.... and he deleted all of the photos we had taken so far. *sigh*

So, I snatched a couple photos from the Internet of Chatsworth House:

Hedge maze and the painted hall

After Chatsworth, we drove to York and arrived just in time to go on a ghost tour in the most haunted city in the world. Legend has it, a little girl and her parents lived in York during the black plague. As her mom was tucking her in one night, she noticed that the little girl had the telltale boils on her underarms. Without saying anything about it, she left the room and locked the little girl in. In the middle of the night, the girl's parents left York, never to return, but they first painted a red X on the door so people would know the house was infected. Still today, people say they see the ghost of the little girl crying and scratching at the little window in the photo to the left.

The tour was fun and we also saw the York dungeons, but the highlight of York for us was the famous York Minster. The church is absolutely gorgeous with the largest collection of stained glass in the world. Under the church is the crypt, which was my favorite part. They had artifacts and tombs dating back to the times of Roman occupation. In fact, we also walked on part of the cobblestone Roman road upon which the Minster was built. Pretty cool!

When we left York, we traveled up the skinniest 2-way road I've ever been on to Bamburgh. On the way, we visited two castles:

Warwick Castle, which is mostly a ruins now,

Alnwick castle, an absolutely enormous practically town-sized collection of buildings and walls,

and lots of beautiful English countryside!

Bamburgh also has its own castle, which was one of our favorites. It's right on the North Sea and has views of two other castles. It was war-torn multiple times and displays a wide array of armor, swords, cross-bows, and rifles. The castle is complete with escape tunnels and ongoing archaeological digs. All very interesting and very old!

Okay, that's all for England: part I!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's really neat! I was in England two years ago and made a trip to Nottingham to visit some friends who attend the University of Nottingham. We also ate at the Ye Olde Trip and took pictures with various Robin Hood statues. Maybe the Ye Olde Trip is a required stop for foreigners like us. I was only there for a day, so I didn't see as much as you did, but I also made a stop at Warwick Castle on my way back to London. We'll have to trade pictures some time. :)

- Lauren D.