Follow this link to my second blog to read my final post of the semester about my harlaxton home.
Remember how I said my trips just keep getting better and better? Well, this past weekend in Barcelona was no exception and I’m so glad I saved the best for last! This last weekend was our final free weekend to travel and I think it’s safe to say I made the most of it by taking a trip to Spain. I think what makes this trip stand out from all the others is the difference in culture. This trip felt like a true study abroad experience by being in a place where you didn’t speak the dialect, didn’t look like anyone else and felt a bit like an outsider. In many of the places we’ve traveled, as long as you keep your mouth shut, no one will know you’re an American. I felt like this weekend I had American written in Sharpie on my forehead everywhere we went. It was also similar to my trip to Milan, in that pointing and gesturing were most helpful in communicating because of the language barrier. Barcelona was hands down the most beautiful city I’ve experienced this semester. The architecture & vibrant colors splashed throughout the city were unbelievable and was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. All of the places I’ve traveled to this semester have been extraordinary, but they start to look a lot alike. Spain, on the other hand, was not like anywhere I’ve ever been & I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience the wonderful city of Barcelona!
The costume ball was probably one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had this semester at Harlaxton! It was so much fun seeing everyone dressed up in such awesome costumes. The night was full of singing, dancing and colorful lights. I finally had the opportunity to dress up as Pocahontas, my favorite Disney princess, and show off my Native-American side. After the party wound down, we stayed up and watched UK win their 8th national championship! What an all-around good night it was.
Just when I think Harlaxton can’t get any busier, life gets even crazier and I never even have time to relax or take a nap. Today we turned in our British Studies honors research papers, so I finally have a tiny bit of free time to update! (Thank goodness!)
Over the second long weekend I ventured off to France for five days of fun in Paris. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip to go on over the long weekend. It was such a lovely city to spend a few days in & a little trip to Disneyland Paris didn’t hurt anyone either! Our journey consisted of taking a train to London and then changing over to the Eurostar (the Chunnel) which we rode until we arrived in Paris. We rode the Metro to our hotel, where we quickly checked in, unpacked, and set off to explore the magnificent city of Paris. It was already dark outside, so we knew the first thing we wanted to see was the Eiffel Tower in lights! Seeing the tower for the first time was absolutely amazing, it was one of those movie moments where we all squealed and gasped a bit as we excitedly skipped off in the direction of the tower. (Or maybe that was just me?) Either way, it was so perfect and lovely to see in person and I couldn’t believe it was actually right in front of me. Thursday and Friday were two days jam-packed with plenty of sight seeing. On our first day of adventure we made it to the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, climbed the Eiffel Tower and spent some time lounging in pretty parks. On Friday morning we took the train to the Palace of Versailles and spent the first half of our day enjoying the palace and gardens. Upon returning to town, we made it to Notre Dame, The Film Museum, Basilique du Sacré-Coeur and Moulin Rouge. (All before crashing in our comfy hotel beds after two very busy days!) Every minute of Saturday was spent pretending I was eight years old again in Disneyland and making new friends with French children. The long weekend was a great break from a busy end of the semester and took our minds off of research paper writing for a few days. I could go on & on about how beautiful everything was and what a spectacular city Paris is, but I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking!
This afternoon Dr. Andrew McMichael of Western Kentucky University shaved his head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money for children’s cancer research. (He raised $565!) Bill McClure and Griffin Frugé spontaneously volunteered to join in on the fun and also had their heads shaved to help raise awareness. The bald heads suit them all well, if I do say so myself!
JUST LOOK AT THEM!
I think the pictures of these precious baby lambs speak for themselves. Honestly, they were too good to be true. The man who farms the land that borders Harlaxton brought these sweet little babies over for us to love on and play with. After finishing the second British Studies exam that sucked all the energy and life out of me, playing with these darling newborn lambs was the best therapy I could have asked for! (Best reward ever!) The lambs were three-days old and the most loveable creatures you could ever imagine. I think they also enjoyed being the center of attention and having their first baby pictures taken!
It feels like it’s been forever since we were in the Lake District; this week has been so long! After having two quizzes, an individual presentation and our second British Studies exam, I’m just now finding time to finally write about last weekend while I catch up on four giant loads of laundry. (What an exciting Friday night, right?) Today we had classes to make up for our three-day-week coming up, so the majority of the population is staying put this weekend. Plans for trips fell through after realizing we had only two days for travel and a huge research paper sneaking up on us way too fast. (Sadly, 3,000 words won’t write themselves…)
I wish I could have had a whole week in the Lake District to explore; it’s such a magnificent place! This trip had you feeling truly relaxed and dislocated from the world around you. Something about the mountains, lakes, rivers, rolling hills and forests makes you forget about British Studies and how much homework you have waiting to be done when you arrive back at the manor.
Harlaxton offers four activities that you can sign up for while in the Lake District: ghyll scrambling, kayaking, mountain hiking & rock climbing. My choices included morning ghyll scrambling and afternoon rock climbing, which we participated in on Saturday. On Friday we had a free day in which we decided to go on a 10-mile hike from Ambleside to Grasmere. The hike included walking along the “Rydal Water” where we enjoyed many stops along the way as we took in the beautiful scenery.
I couldn’t have been happier with my choices of activities. Ghyll scrambling is basically climbing up a running river… plus a few waterfalls along the way! Despite being particularly cold and wet, ghyll scrambling was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do. We were so lucky to have an awesome guide who took pictures of our group along the way and wrote a blog about our trip on the company’s website. Read it here: half-day-ghyll-scrambling-sessions-in.html
After drying off and getting a warm change of clothes, our group was ready to set off for our rock climbing adventure. This was definitely much harder than I expected, but I learned a lot and enjoyed making it to the top! (I wish I had my own pictures from rock climbing, but sadly I didn’t bring my camera to our Saturday activities since so much water was involved.)
On our way back Sunday, we stopped in Keswick for lunch and more sight-seeing. Keswick was a beautiful town and the weather was perfect for exploring and eating lunch outside! Lake District is a must see for anyone coming to Harlaxton or visiting England in general. Not only was this probably one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever see in my life, it was also a great get away/ laid back escapade!
It may sound a bit crazy, but this past weekend was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had at Harlaxton since I arrived. Everyone, including myself, can get so caught up in traveling and trying to escape the manor that you don’t take the time to really appreciate where you are and the cities that England has to offer. I’m so glad I took this weekend to sit back, relax and thoroughly enjoy where I’m so lucky to be living.
On Friday I was signed up to go on a free day-trip to Liverpool. (The Beatles class was going on a field trip and just so happened to have extra spots available on the coach.) Originally I was a little disappointed about this plan, as it was a backup after my plans to travel to Croatia fell through. (No denying that it wouldn’t have been a lovely trip, but staying close to home was exactly what I needed this week.) After traveling non-stop-every-weekend since I’ve been at Harlaxton, my body was ready for a low-key trip to Liverpool and some quality time at the manor. (Especially after the “Harlaxton Plague” struck & left me sickly after returning from Milan.)
We left bright and early on Friday morning for a three-hour bus ride to Liverpool. I didn’t really know what to expect in Liverpool besides the infamous Beatles Museum. Turns out, Liverpool is also home to Liverpool Cathedral. This cathedral is not only the second largest cathedral in Europe, but the sixth largest cathedral in the world! We also took a jaunt through Cavern Club, which is the rock & roll club where the Beatles played hundreds of shows. (Around 290-ish, if my memory serves me correctly.) It was such an awesome feeling to sit right in front of the stage and sing along to Beatles songs that were actually performed there LIVE by THE BEATLES once upon a time. We also had a crazy-little-old-man behind our table singing, dancing and putting on his own quite entertaining show.
Saturday & Sunday were spent resting, eating, doing homework, laundry, reading and enjoying time spent with friends! I wish I had the time to spend more peaceful weekends at the manor! Unfortunately, this is both my first and last free weekend without travel plans. From here on out, I will be going-going-going until I return to good ole’ Merica. Regardless of the lack of rest that comes with this crazy lifestyle, I will always cherish every trip & the memories made!
I was reminded of this quote when I saw it painted on the side of a pub in Liverpool…
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
A taste of this evening’s Harlaxton “Variety Show” & of course a video of the faculty’s MAAAAAHVALOUS performance!
Came to England for some fun
Settled in at Harlaxton
British Studies starts at dawn
The Greg’s not far away
Harlaxton has got some bells
When they’ll ring no one can tell
We’ll sleep through it, what the hell!
Harlaxton’s our home
We won’t run the naked mile
Fat and flab are not in style
For the locals we would rile
Harlaxton’s their home
Ziggy leaves at ten past two,
Put your books down, use the loo—
Grantham’s where your dreams come true!
Harlaxton’s our home
Chicken curry, beans and rice,
Eat potatoes each day twice,
Sunday brunch we roll the dice!
Harlaxton’s our home
British Studies make it so
I’ll learn till it’s all I know
Inch by inch and row by row
Harlaxton’s our home
Count your blessings, thank your peers!
Thanks the UK malts and beers,
Raise your glasses, all say “Cheers!”
Harlaxton’s our home!