Standing on REALLY OLD WALLS, and Other Such Things that Really Excite Me

All right, internet people. Studying abroad is a busy business (see what I did there?) and I’m sorry if you feel I’ve neglected you. It’s also exhausting keeping track of my official blog and this one, as I can’t possibly post two in the SAME DAY, heaven forbid. But excuses aside, I bring you the latest updates from my European Adventure (which is, mostly, a United Kingdom Adventure).

In so far as travels go, I have recently journeyed to both York and Nottingham. The York trip was much more extended, and thereby there is more that I can say about it. York is a glorious old town full of exceptionally old stuff–a motte and bailey castle, for instance, and a wall that goes around the city and dates back to ROMAN TIMES. That’s right, folks, ROMANS! Who, has I now know, were the first invaders of Celtic Britain (probably). And do you know what you can do in York? You can walk. On the wall. That ROMANS built. SEE?! (Disregard how stupid I look in this picture. Think about instead the fact that I am standing where ROMANS stood. ROMANS!) Can you tell I’m excited? I’m excited. I loved that wall. As my friend Cassie can attest, I was insistent about touching it. A lot. (But not in a creepy way. Proabably.)

The exciting Roman wall aside, York is a gorgeous little place. It has a great museum (I assume–we didn’t go in) that has excellent gardens. The gardens are free (even more excellent) and have various old buildings in them, such as the ruins of St. Mary’s cathedral, which looks like it must have been quite gorgeous at one time. Shannon and I enjoyed the feeling of putting our hands on the stone that was laid long long before we were ever even a whisper beginning to dare to disturb the universe (had to throw in the Eliot allusion, because I adore him).

Just me, conquering York . You know, do as the Romans do and what not.

Aside from the really cool old buildings and things, we visited the art musuem, which was free and glorious. There was a lovely exhibit on controversial art in which I spent a lot of time awkwardly looking at naked people and trying not to feel awkward about it and instead appreciate that it was ART (but also, it was BOOBS. A lot. Of boobs.) From there we made our way the famous Betty’s Tea Shop (though at the urging of our British professor we opted for Little Betty’s, which being slightly less well known is also slightly less crowded). After a (worthwhile) wait in line, we found ourselves seated in a gorgeous bay window area and enjoying the delicious Yorkshire cream tea and scones. I could eat those scones and drink that tea every single morning and never get tired of it. It was worth the wait and the cost (which wasn’t that unreasonable, really).

From there, we wandered into to COUNTLESS old bookshops. Full of, you guessed it, REALLY OLD BOOKS. I bought a glorious old collection of Tennyson poems (it’s a HUNDRED years old!!!). If you couldn’t tell, York was kind of amazing, even if it was really, really cold and really, really windy. If ever I were to leave good old Ohio for good, I think it would probably be to live in York. Above a secondhand bookshop, across the street from my beloved REALLY OLD WALL. London was fantastic, but York’s got that quaint atmosphere that a book loving writer like me just loves. And the history, well, it’s frankly inspirational. I could write a novel a day in a flat down there, that’s for sure. Up there? Wherever it is in relation from where I am now.

On the way home, our bus got stuck in traffic for a glorious two hours, but we survived it and came home to a dinner of toast and cereal.

The next day, a bit tired and a bit sore, I jotted off to Nottingham on my first ever TRAIN RIDE. The city was nice, and I look forward to going back and checking out the castle, as is proper.

That stuff we’re holding in the middle there? Haggis.

In other news, I had some haggis at our school’s celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. There was also a very miniscule amount of whiskey punch, which was whiskey and ginger ale mixed together and was also relatively good. The haggis was tasty, but my brain betrayed me while eating it so I had to stop. Maybe next time, though!

So that’s pretty much that, I guess. Words can’t capture the wonderful experience I’m having here, but if you know anything about me, you know that’s not going to stop me from trying. This weekend, it’s off to Edinburgh, Scotland! Adventure (and homework) await!

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