Hello again! I'm in Stratford upon Avon at the moment, and connection to the world outside has been spotty since Barnacles. I'll just put up portions of the ongoing journal, and skip a few of the more boring days. Be warned, however, that this is a large entry!
April 30th 2010
Last day in Dublin!! We went and saw the book of Kells. Astounding detail, I could practically smell the candles burning dangerously close to the page as the artists bent over the pages to finish their noble task. I wonder what they had seen to inspire them so.
Oho, and then.
The Long Room.
Ireland’s library of libraries, located at Trinity College. Every book worth or capable of being treasured is cared for at The Long Room. Two floors of unbelievably beautiful works of literature turned to art. Busts and belongings of the greatest minds known to man, all gathered in one glorious room. It was, once again, breath taking.
I wonder if any of those men (and women), when they were struggling to make their livings , could have imagined or fathomed the impact they would have on the future.
Then came the Dublin Writer’s Museum. It was fairly cool, but not as full as I anticipated. I confess myself disappointed.
Then, a few other girls and I went to see Iron Man 2. I know, I know…going to see and American film when you’re in Dublin? On your last day, in fact? We figured that the different theatre and different crowds would be different and interesting enough to qualify seeing the show a week before it was available in the states. The movie was fantastic and the experience was fun.
Then, we set out on a hunt. I still hadn’t found a book store (I’d gone through five) that had the new Skullduggery Pleasant book! Could I have purchased it in another town? Yes. Could I have been happy just having it a bit earlier, or even waiting to buy it in the states? Sure, the story inside would have been the same. But to purchase it in the city where the author LIVES!!
My group agreed to hunt for one last store with me, following with me, following the directions of the previous book store owner.
It’s in my bag now. The best souvenir ever.
Then more walking around. An absurdly late trip on a ferry that turned out to basically be a cruise ship. Awesome.
Now we’re in Wales!
May 1st 2010
May 1st 2010
Visited a Cathedral that had sidewalks paved in old headstones. There was a wedding going on so we couldn’t go in, but there was plenty to see outside. It was masterfully crafted; an amazing ode to the Lord that men brought out from their own souls. The Roman wall in Chester was cool, too, and had these neat little windows shaped liked thermometers , and not large enough to stick your hand through.
The scenery in Snowdonia was by far the most lovely I have yet seen. The mountains were lofty but green all the way to the top. The trees were lush and looked soft to the touch. The colors were unbelievably vivid.
Ireland was gorgeous, too. But I believe the difference is that Ireland’s beauty is wild, whereas Snowdonia’s beauty is just lovely.
May 3rd 2010
Dove Cottage, Hawkshead and Grasmere.
Seeing where William Wordsworth lived was interesting, but not amazing like most everything else thus far. I didn't know much about him before, and there wasn't as much information lined up for us visitors as in the Bronte home.
What I loved was the massive garden at his long-time home.
I could just imagine with envy how wonderful it was for the Wordsworth children to wake up each day and see that and think of it as 'home.' What a splendid gift to give to a child.
I could definitely see where he gathered his inspiration in all of that outdoorsy glory.
May 4th 2010
In my journal right now, there is a monument made up of leaves, twigs and flowers taped to the page from Sherwood Forest. As you might have guessed by this, I was not let down by my visit.
I have dreamed of visiting Sherwood Forest since I was knee-tall to a grasshopper. I've been a Robin Hood fan...forever, and hearing that we were going there played a (large) part in convincing me to try and get signed up for the tour.
Robin Hood to me is more than an (extremely) entertaining story. To me, it's always been the story of a man who saw something that was wrong, and went beyond social custom and expectation to do what he knew to be right.
And also, archery is hot.
The forest itself was everything I'd ever dreamed. Walking into it felt like waking up from a dream and finding myself at home, at peace, and ready for adventure :)
There was an archery post, long bows, 5 arrows for 2 pounds. I shot a distant 'knight' straight through the heart on the first try, and then narrowly missed everything beyond that :)
The Major Oak was great. Massive and still going strong.
A fallen tree proved the perfect spot for a classic bridge battle. I challenged another girl with a small stick. She grabbed a giant staff and agreed. Photos and silliness ensued.
A forking tree was another ideal place for photos.
Then off to the store, where among other things I bought a paperback copy of the old, if not classic, collection of stories by Henry Gilbert. Thus far it's as brilliant as I remember.
May 4th 2010
Stratford upon Avon!
If anything could make leaving Robin Hood's abode bearable, it's entering the home of the Bard.
His birthplace, straddling the River Avon, where he met his wife, where he died.
We started out our 4-day stay here by seeing King Lear performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company (heretofore referred to as the RSC).
I'm not a big fan of tragedies as a general rule. I think they're stupid; everything that can go wrong does so as best (or badly) as it can, to the point of ridiculous...ness.
But Shakespearean tragedies always serve a double role as cautionary tales, and therefore are bearable and even enjoyable to me. I'm also not so much into King Lear, but the RSC did a fabulous job.
May 7th 2010
Castles and castles today! But the story here is about something different.
A lot of girls on the tour have been raging about these snacks called "Happy Hippo"s. Saw some in a Pound (ha) store and figured I'd give them a shot.
They're pretty good; hazelnut cream is pretty hard to screw up.
Figured I'd share one with Sara (roomie), as good as it was. Held the noseless (bitten off) beast out, and she grabbed the remnants of its head. Twist, Pull, Twist, Pull, SMASH!!!
Spontaneous Hippo Combustion.
Giggles and licking pieces of Happy Hippo off our fingers concluded the moment.