Tuesday, 1 September 2009

First Few Weeks

After being in Alnwick, England for a few short weeks, I realized I would most definitely regret not keeping an online record of what I have done and seen while here.

I left Minneapolis, MN on a 10:30 a.m. flight August 18th, 2009. After switching flights in both Cincinnati and JFK, we finally arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland at around 8:30 a.m. on August 19th, 2009. I have never been so exhausted in all my life. We then took a coach to Alnwick which took approximately 2 hours. I woke up on the bus to the site of the castle we would be staying in- Alnwick Castle, home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. It was immediately overwhelming. It's impossible to express the feeling other than waking up to a fairy tale.

The first day was spent with orientation where we were not able to sleep in hopes we'd recover faster from jet lag. I remember nothing from the first day. After getting settled and going over rules/procedures/regulations, Friday arrived. Although normal weekends for jobless college students are filled with laying around and beer, we have planned field trips. Saturday marked out first trip to Newcastle, UK. It's one of the larger cities in England and I had a fabulous time exploring. We were able to visit the Milennium bridge (everyone should google this, the architecture is amazing), a famous monument in Newcastle, China town etc.

The following Monday marked the first day of classes. The week was outrageously busy with classes, making travel plans, birthdays, homework etc. I'm enjoying my classes; two are taught my British professors- the culture differences in the classroom setting alone are extremely interesting. It is rude to even yawn during a lecture let alone wear sweat pants or drink coffee. I'm also taking some performance studies classes which are intriguing but definitely pull me out of my comfort zone. More on that later.

This previous weekend (August 28-29) we were able to visit the houses of both William Woodsworth (the famous poet) and Beatrix Potter (most famous work: Peter Rabbit) It's overwhemling to be surrounded by so many historically significant things. We were also able to visit Hadrian's Wall which was built during the Roman inhabitance of England in the 4th century. We also saw a celtic stonehendge which is dated back even earlier than the Roman wall. The scenery here is just breathtaking. We got the option of climbing a large mountain called the Lion and the Lamb. Although my legs felt like jello at the end, it was still worth it. I have never seen such beautiful hills and lakes. The picture above is of Hadrian's Wall.

Finally, this evening we received a private tour of the keep of the castle- (the centrally located portion where the Duke and Duchess still live with their 4 children). The Duke is worth over 300 million pounds- the keep of the castle holds millions and millions of pounds worth of artwork from van dyke to michaelanego. There are also "state" houses in the castle which are suitable for the Queen to stay when here. It is crazy. Anyway, time for homework.


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