I know. It’s been a while (again). You have to trust me when I say I’ve been trying to put this post up for a week now. The Internet/Wordpress/my pictures don’t like me and it’s very difficult to get pictures onto my blog. And wow, so much has happened to me in the last few weeks, I don’t see how I will be able to fit it all onto one page. Be prepared for pictures!
On Saturday I went with Celine, Courtney, Isabel and Alyssa to Salisbury and Stonehenge! We spent about three good hours on the site of Stonehenge, which is entirely too much time to be spent looking at rocks, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
Stonehenge is dated at about 3,000BCE, and was used for ritualistic means and as a burial ground. The structure is built out of cut sarsen and blue stones, and aligns with the summer and winter solstice.
The “front” of Stonehenge is discernible due to the quality of the sarsen stones used. These stones are more uniform, with less imperfections, and as you can see standing stones still support their “lintels.” Amazingly, these structures were created by carving pegs and holes into the stones, and fitting them together like a puzzle!
All around the site of Stonehenge, there were what looked like unnatural hills. We learned that these were the burial mounds, or barrows, where the ancient buried their dead!
Stonehenge was roped off and so we weren’t able to go near the structure, but there was a replica sarsen stone outside of the visitor’s center that we were obliged to try and move.
After Stonehenge, we headed back to Salisbury, specifically to check out the Salisbury Cathedral, where an original copy of the Magna Carta is held! (It’s also said to be the best preserved copy). The copy is held in the beautiful Chapter House. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed. 😦
The cathedral was by far the largest, most beautifully intricate structure I have ever been in (supposing I’ve never been in a cathedral before). It also houses Britain’s tallest spire, and the world’s oldest, working clock!
Because of the gorgeous weather, we spent a lot of time outside of the cathedral, taking pictures. Here are a few of the best:
The inside of the cathedral was huge, and I don’t even think my pictures can do it justice. There was such an amazing vibe of peace and faith throughout the cathedral… I spent my entire time there in silence.
The cathedral, which houses four wings, was so big that my camera could not capture it all. Not to mention, every inch of the cathedral was filled with elaborate detail…
After our time in the cathedral, we all decided to head back into town and finish up at a pub. We ended up at a place called “Coach and Horses,” at the suggestion of the lady in the pharmacy. It was a great choice, and a great end to an amazing day!
Last week marked the conclusion of tutorials, which, for me, was bittersweet. I no longer have to write five thousands words in essays every week, but I am going to miss my instructors. It’s a different feeling, knowing I’m going to be leaving the country at the end of it, rather than sticking around for several years like I do at school. My last poetry tutorial was held outside, and my tutor pointed me to a path along the Thames which I had not yet been made aware of. I discovered that this path – which is a joy to run on – is more than 180 miles long! Theoretically, you could WALK along the path from Oxford to London, without running into any obstacles. Here are some things Hannah and I discovered running along the Thames path:
Last week Hannah and I also went to Christ Church Meadows! It was my first time, since the weather has been so poor and the area had been flooded until recently. And, oh man, was it beautiful! Christ Church is the most prestigious College in Oxford. The crème-de-la-crème.
Since the weather is conducive to outdoor exploration, I have begun to see a side of Oxford I hadn’t before experienced. On Saturday, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I took a solo expedition to Old Road on Shotover Hill. I didn’t know what to expect – but what I encountered was a beautiful sunny day, on top of a hill with amazing views, birds singing, aromatic trees and overall the most wonderful feeling in the world. I ran, I walked, I hiked… I took pictures, but they can’t even begin to capture how amazing it was. I felt so good, I had to call Mom and Dad just to express my joy. 🙂
Now is the time when I tell you something I wish I didn’t have to mention… It was Saturday. It was the middle of the day. The road (like any other park) was packed with people and families. I stayed along the main path, and there were always people in sight. But still… I was harassed. Followed. Whatever… there were a ton of people around, and I enlisted help to make them go away. And then I sprinted home. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’m being safe. But I don’t think I’m going to embark on any more solo adventures. I returned to Shotover Hill on Wednesday, this time with Hannah in my stead.
Monday night, for St. Paddy’s day, I went out to the Irish pub down the road called Oneill’s. They had a live performer, and the place was packed, but I had an amazing time. We all danced and stamped our feet to Irish songs and drank Guinness for a good many hours. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.
Like I said, Hannah and I took another expedition to Shotover Hill. This time we visited (trespassed) the grounds of the manor, and took a side path to Lewis Close, the location of C.S. Lewis’s old house. We saw an amazing 18th century pavilion, a pond/woods that reminded us of home, and horses – including a Shetland pony! Yay!
There are more pictures, but they haven’t yet made it onto my computer. I’ll post them later. Also, check out this sunset!
For the past several days (week, really) I had been working on my final research essay for my seminar. Yesterday, I finally finished it! Now, I am done with seminars and tutorials, and all I have left is the easy four week integral course, full of field trips and fun, culminating into one easy 3,000 word essay at the final week. I feel so relieved – I believe I may have forgotten what it feels like to be “stress free.” On the horizon, I have Paris, London, and Dublin planned, and then I come home! Honestly, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to be home again.
While I was writing my essay yesterday, it was raining. But after I finished, a rainbow appeared! I believe it was the biggest rainbow I’ve ever seen, and I actually was able to watch it form. It lasted only ten minutes, but I take it as a sign…. Life is good. 🙂
So, that’s that. The things I’ve seen and done have been pretty amazing, and I’m loving every minute. I hope all is well back home, or wherever you are. If not… watch for the rainbows!