Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jane's House-- Chawton

We finally had a completely free day to do whatever we wanted so I went to Chawton with a some fellow English Majors who almost love Jane Austen as much as me. We had to go by train since Chawton is outside London and besides losing my ticket at the very moment that the train attendant was asking to see them, we got there without any problems. (My ticket ended up being exactly where I put it.)
The train dropped us off in Alton and then we had to walk about a mile through this cute little town into the Chawton village. We were all running around excited and running around taking pictures when we finally came to the house.


The house was really quiet--it was basically us and the volunteers. They laughed at how excited we were. My friend Rachel and I were having a "friendly" argument over where Lizzy meets up with Lydia and Kitty on her way home from Kent in Pride and Prejudice. I said it was Brompton but Rachel said it was Bromley. She said on the way home from our country walk in Kent (which is where the Collins lived) we stopped at Bromley and she took a picture there. Well, we decided we would ask the volunteers at the house so we did. They didn't know so they pulled out all these books like Jane Austen for dummies....It was quite the scavenger hunt. In one edition the names of the cities were blotted out with hyphens but finally in another edition (they were really determined volunteers) they found the city. It was Bromley. Rachel said it would have ruined her whole day if she was wrong so it was probably good she was right. Mostly everything in the house belonged to the Austen family. This was my very favorite thing. Jane Austen's writing table.

Here's her bedroom which she shared with her sister Cassandra:


And the closet without shelves. (Shelves in a closet? Happy thought indeed)

There was a cute little tea shop across the street.

This is Breanna, Rachel, and Katie

We sat down and then found out they had stopped serving lunch 5 minutes before. So we actually didn't eat there, but it was fun going in.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wicked

When in London, go to five plays in one week. It's nice. I've seen War Horse, The Tempest, Lion King,Wicked, and on Saturday London Assurance. (Not to mention one next Monday, Tuesday,and Wednesday)

Wicked! Ahh I've been waiting to see this play ever since I went to New York when I was a junior and couldn't see Wicked because Broadway was striking. I've been listening to the soundtrack for a long time, but I had no idea what the story was. It was fun to see how everything fits together and the music was incredible. The story line is clever sometimes as far as connecting it to The Wizard of Oz but pretty silly. This was the third time my friend Ariel has seen Wicked and she said Elphaba was the best one she has ever seen.


They only had single seats left when we bought tickets so we had to sit by ourselves. I was just reading before the play started when I started getting distracted by the people next to me. They were pulling out maps of London and guide books so I asked them if they were visiting London. (You know because I'm local now and not a tourist haha) We started talking and they said yeah they were just visiting. They were from the States. I asked them where they were from and they're like "Salt Lake City. Utah." No way. They almost died when they heard I was from American Fork. The husband said he would try to forgive me for that. Not sure what that means--Salt Lake isn't THAT different. They were definetly Mormon too. Isn't that crazy? I can't get away wherever I go haha

P.S. I took a country walk in Kent today with my study abroad group. Didn't see Mr. Collins around unfortunately.

Lion King

If you get the chance, go see Lion King. I wasn't planning on going, but I'm so glad I did. The singing and costumes are amazing.

Don't take illegal pictures in the theater. Especially with theater majors.

Keats House

I've been bugging people this whole trip about going to Keats House. The days are starting to get numbered so I finally planned a day and said we are going and so we went and it was an adventure!
We had to take the tube and then the bus and then walk because but we made it. Our teacher told us about this little house called the Kenwood House to stop by at first. It had an original Vermeer Painting: The Guitar Player which was awesome to see.

It was a bunch of old ladies and us walking around which was a good time. Look at this 18th century library. One day I'll have one of these in my house.

We finally got to the Keats House after walking through the cutest little town.



This is the home where John Keats wrote his greatest poetry and fell in love with Fanny Braune. I have to watch the movie Bright Star again (I've only seen it twice)when I get home now that I've seen the house. I asked if they filmed any of the movie there but they didn't. But they came to look at the house for ideas. The real house is a lot smaller than in the movie.
This is John Keats' bedroom:

There was this cute lady who was a volunteer at the house and she told us all about the house and John Keats. When I went upstairs to see his bedroom she came up a few mintues later. She said she hadn't been in it yet that day so she needed to come up haha. I love these people who volunteer at these houses because they love it and want other people to love it. She was carrying this book around about John Keats too.


So a funny thing happened on our way back. We wanted to walk through the heath back to the bus stop so we just started walking through this forest thing and hoped we would find our way back. We just went down any lane that looked pretty. We sat inside this big hollow tree. Just wandered around. So then we're coming up this path which ends on a road and when we get to the top we realized that it was exactly where we had gotten off the bus before. We had somehow ended up exactly where the bus stop was. It was really bizarre.

Tower of London

We spent the morning sprinting to the Tower of London on Tuesday. But we made it right as our group was going in.

I didn't know anything about the Tower of London except that the Crown Jewels are there. I was pretty excited to see them--they don't let you take pictures though so you'll have to go see them yourself.
Today was the first day of Parliament so the main jewel icon, The Queen's Crown, was gone because she was wearing. Ironic I know.
Here's me and Paddington. Back to the childhood days. (I tried marmalade at our Hostel in Scotland because Paddington always talked about eating marmalade and toast. It's so gross. I scraped it off and ate raspberry jam instead.)

Scotland

I'm sorry I've left you hanging so long on the rest of the trip...but I've finished all the reading I have to do for the semester so that's a good feeling. Only two more papers to write before finals!

Scotland is so so beautiful.
Here was my first impression of Scotland at the airport:

Yes, there are quite a few men running around in full kilt attire. (We were joking one day about those "squorts" we used to wear in elementary school-- a skirt with built in shorts underneath. I guess I wasn't the only one with a mom who bought her those haha. We wondered if Scottish people wore skilts instead?)
Our flight was at 6:30 am which meant we got up again at 4 am. I really don't know what we were thinking when we booked those flights but we got the full day in Scotland like we wanted to. The very first place we went in Scotland was of course Elephant House.

We were all starving so what better place to eat than the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. And it's true you can look out the window and see the Edinburgh Castle.


It was really quiet in there with old ladies drinking tea. Perfect place to write a novel.
Edinburgh is big city, but it seems like no matter where you are you can look up and see the Edinburgh Castle. It looks like one of those castles that sit on a huge cliff with lots of water below it, but instead there is this huge park called Princes Gardens which is gorgeous and the perfect place for basking.


My friend Sarah, who almost loves Harry as much as me, enlightened me on the art of basking. The correct form of basking is laying on a sloped surface in the sun doing absolutely nothing except basking. So during the middle of the afternoon we basked in Scotland. I think I even got sunburned which was exciting. We watched these guys play soccer ( and yes the ball almost hit me 200 times as usual) and finally these two policemen came over to reprimand them. But the I don't think it did very much good. The police were strolling through the park in neon vests, eating ice cream cones. What a life. Did I mention that Scotland was really hot the whole time were there? It's supposed to be freezing there so I bought a scarf and gloves before I went and packed all sweaters, a sweatshirt and a coat. I would have been fine with a T-shirt. But I love being hot so it was great.
So Sarah found the craziest thing in Scotland. We walked through this old, old cemetary and we were talking about Twilight, my favorite subject, when all of a sudden Sarah says, I think that grave says Isabella Cullen on it! Sure enough there it was. I think I'm going to sue Stephenie when I get home for plagarism. Then maybe I'll come back to Scotland with the money I'll win.

The second day we were in Scotland we decided to do a bus tour that would take us up into northern Scotland to see the country. Our tour guide was hilarious. He had this heavy Scottish accent and he enjoyed telling the most gruesome Scottish stories he could think of. It was nice. (Scottish accents by the way are way harder to understand than Irish accents. It took me like 5 minutes to realize this girl was asking me which "spice" I wanted and not what "side" I wanted at this restuarant.)
Scotland kind of looks like Utah in some places which was weird. But it is beautiful.

We went all the way to Loch Ness which was kind of exciting. Did you know Loch means Lake? You would have thought I'd hvae figured that out by now. You learn something new everyday.

We went on this hour long boat cruise on Loch Ness looking for Nessie.

Here's me and Sarah:

If you get a picture of Nessie you can send it in for a billion pound prize money.

Looks like I came on a lucky day!
All of us were sad to say goodbye to Scotland...my roommate was already planning a trip back with her friend on the way back.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dublin

I should have planned a little bit better when it came to getting ready for our travel weekend. I went to bed at 1:30 am Tuesday night and got up at 4:30 am to catch our flight. Bad idea. I booked us a cab to our bus stop because the tube station wasn't even open that early! The cab driver started calling our room at 4:50 saying he was out front. I think he left 4 messages and called 6 times. The thing is, he wasn't supposed to be there until 5 am. It was a great start haha We had everything go wrong that could have gone wrong as far as figuring out how to get us all to the airport. Britt and I bought bus tickets to the airport but then when the other girls went to buy theirs, the bus was full. So we had to get them on another bus and find a station that was close to the same bus stop as ours ect. ect. Then their bus was canceled so another one came twenty minutes late...It was adventure. Here's Britt and I waiting for the bus. We were trying to keep ourselves awake.

Here's our bus. We finally understood how it got full so fast.

When we finally all got into Dublin, we were all so happy that we all had made it that Dublin seemed the best place in the world. And getting another stamp in the passport was really exciting. Please do not look at my hair in the following pictures. Please.
We went to Trinity College first and someone stopped us and asked us if we were students there. We were very flattered.
Then we took a "writer's walk" and got lost more times than I can count, but the streets are just fun to be on. We found the corner where Oscar Wilde's wife stood him on their very first date.

Here's us with Oscar.

For lunch we had a picnic outside of a locked park haha. And then 5 minutes later we found a public park. I love Irish people! Their accents aren't too hard to understand and EVERYONE there tries to help. We were standing at a corner deciding which way to go when the old woman on a bike just starts asking us where we were trying to go. (Dublin Castle) She told us to go to the little library that was next to the gardens which had this photography exhibit that was one of my favorite parts of Dublin. Dublin Castle is beautiful.

Then when we were walking along the sidewalk (looking like lost tourists again) this cab driver who was stopped at a red light rolled down his window and gave us directions to the Irish Famine Memorial. Shamae jumped in the memorial too.

No one gave us the "Stop bugging me. You are a stupid American Tourist" look the whole day. It was really nice.
For dinner, we got to eat in a real Irish pub! We were exhausted( we had carried our backpacks with everything in them the whole day too) so it was pretty early so we didn't see anything scandalous. Everyone stared at us when we walked in though, but we've eaten in pubs before so we already knew that you had to find your own table and that you ordered at the bar. We kept getting excited that we were eating in an Irish Pub in Ireland. They had good water haha

The Real Thing

I'm taking a Shakespeare Class and a Theater Class and in our theater class we read this play called The Real Thing. To be honest I haven't loved all the modern plays we've seen until this one came along. Here is the advertisement for The Real Thing:

If you aren't freaking out like I was, I will give you another hint.


Ahh! Toby Stephens...aka Mr. Rochester in the new Jane Eyre movie was the lead role in The Real Thing! I could barely contain myself when the play started and I realized I was in the same ROOM as Mr. Rochester. (He will always be Mr. Rochester in my mind) I love the little surprises like this that London has to hold.

Bath

Driving into Bath, I felt like I walked onto the set of Northanger Abbey. All the buildings are Georgian style and the roads are tiny. The bus had to keep stopping so the cars in the other lane could go around us.

We passed the apartments that Johnny Depp and Nicholas Cage live in. Apparently Nicholas Cage loves Bath.


We stopped first at the Roman Baths. They said we should NOT touch the water it's super dirty.. they didn't mention it looked like green slime. A girl in our group still put her hand in the water. No idea why.

We saw a real Roman Goddess though. She just walked out and sat gazing into the water. How she got her hair that high, I have no idea.

We love audio tours.
This girl named Rachel loves Jane Austen almost as much as me and so she said we HAD to go to the pump room. She said she had been waiting her whole life to drink the spring waters of Bath. THEN when we get into the pump room Rachel tells me this is the room where most of the Jane Austen movies that take place in Bath are filmed! Whoa. Does it look familiar? I thought it did. Here's us being healed by Bath Spring Water. I don't think I've tasted grosser water in my life.




We had a few hours to wander the streets so of course we swung by the Jane Austen Centre. We didn't go in though because it's expensive and there isn't any of Jane's stuff in there, it's just time period stuff. However, the man dressed as a grandfather version of Mr. Darcy out front was hilarious. Then he brought up Charles Dickens so I'm not sure he knew which book he was supposed to be from haha. This is me and Jane together.