Monday, August 16, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

August 16 & 17

Going home...


We got to London Monday afternoon. Paddington Station was huge. But we found a cab to take us to Inverness Terrace, which is just a stone's throw from Kensington Palace. We stayed at a nice little motel called New Kent Hotel which was connected to a string of other hotels. Our room was a triple, shared shower and toilet, private sink. We got breakfast also (eggs, bacon, toast, tea). It was 20 pounds per person...good deal. Alisa and Lacey stayed in Dean Court Hotel right next door, which is owned by the same people. So we visited with them quite a bit and heard about their trip to Scotland.

Anyway, Kim, Susan and I went on a walk through Kensington gardens and took pictures of the palace. The walk took us to Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall, and the monument to Albert (which was so incredibly ornate). We ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe (the original!) for dinner, which was expensive but very good.

It rained most of the day and we walked a lot of miles, so we decided to take the tube back to the hotel. We went through Notting Hill Gate... But anyway, we got back to the hotel and just hung out for awhile with Alisa and Lacey until we went to bed.


We got up very early this morning to walk Kim to the bus stop, since she had to get to Heathrow by 6. Then we walked back to the hotel (only a couple of blocks away) and went back to sleep. We woke up about 8, showered, then went to the breakfast room. Lacey and Alisa came to our room about 9:30. We left at 11, caught a cab to Victoria Station, then the train to Gatwick.

(Note: Of course I fail to mention how we almost lost our lives in the cab. London cabbies are not to be messed with).

We have now been on the plane about 2 hours. The takeoff was a little scary, but we're going smoothly now. I guess we're flying north over Scotland, over Ireland, perhaps the southern tip of Greenland, down through Canada, over Lake Michigan, and into St. Louis.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

It's after 1 am and we got in not too long ago from our night out. We went to Brown's, which is a rather swanky restaurant. The university paid for our food. I ordered the swordfish steak and mashed potatoes...yummy. I had toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce for dessert...really yummy.

(Note: And thus began my passionate love affair with sticky toffee pudding.)

After dinner we went to the Huntsman for drinks. Greg bought us all a round of drinks. The cider with blackcurrant was really really good...

Earlier in the day, Mary and I walked into town to sell our books. We tried so many bookstores and no one would help us until we went to the Guildhall market. I made 2.60 pounds from my books and donated what I didn't sell to the library.


Mary and I planned to go to lunch at Sally Lunn's. It was soooo good. I had half of a Sally Lunn bun with goat cheese and herbs and there was shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, tomato, cabbage, cucumber and bean sprouts on the side. It was one of the best meals I have had so far in England...

...Then we just browsed the shops. I bought two hand-made lace lapel pins - one for Mom and one for Grandma.

Monday, August 9, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Last day in Dublin - first stop: James Joyce Centre, where David Norris (an Irish senator) gave a lecture. It was really funny. Then we went to the Irish Writers Museum, 3 pounds to get in, but not worth that much. It was interesting, but not that much so. After that, Ray and I went to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is so beautiful, as are all cathedrals I've seen so far. I walked around for a long time and took pictures of everything and lit a candle. The gardens outside the cathedral were really bright and cheerful in the chilly grayness of Dublin. I really liked St. Patrick's Cathedral the best - it was so peaceful and I'm sick from yesterday, so it was a nice place to spend a lot of time.

We left Dublin at 8:00 and we are now on the bus going back to Bath.

Sunday, August 8, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Ok, first I have to talk about yesterday. We went to the National Gallery, which houses art from all over the world. I liked it better than the Tate Gallery in London overall, except it lacked a Pre-Raphaelite exhibit and there were no really famous paintings there (that I saw anyway). But I did see a Picasso and some Rembrandts, a lot of iconographic art, and an exhibit devoted to the paintings of the Yeats family (as in William Butler Yeats).

After the gallery, Greg, Mara and I went to lunch at some sidewalk cafe and just hung out for awhile. Then we went to the National Museum. They had a huge number of exhibits from every tribe that ever inhabited Ireland: the Vikings, the Celts, the cavemen, etc. The Celtic exhibits were particularly impressive. There was so much intricate Celtic knotwork on everything. My particularly favorite piece is the Tara brooch, worth about 20 million pounds and incredibly detailed. I didn't see all of the museum, but a good part of it anyway. I walked back to Avalon House via Grafton Street (which was packed)...

For dinner, we went to Planet Hollywood. I was adamantly against it, but I didn't want to eat alone, as everyone else decided to eat there. It was fun. Our waitress was named Sinead and she was really cute and a lot of fun to talk to. It was an interesting mix of American and Irish, since the food and everything was American, yet the servers and hospitality were unmistakably Irish. The food was good too, esp. the dessert. :)

After dinner we walked to the Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College to see Translations. It was really good. Definitely got my money's worth. It was so much better than I was expecting.

After the play, we all walked over to the Temple Bar area to go to a pub, but the pubs won't let in anyone under 23 after 10pm (only on Saturdays) so no one (except me) could get in. So we walked over to River Liffey, crossed the Halfpenny Bridge, walked back over to Temple Bar, and sat and watched people before coming back to Avalon House.

In about 45 mins. a small group of us is going to walk to the bus station to take a day trip to Glendalough.


Glendalough - the entire trip - was amazing. The bus driver was funny. he talked throughout most of the drive, telling us old Irish folk tales and making jokes. He pointed out celebrity homes to us: Bono, Daniel Day-Lewis, Paddy Maloney of the Chieftains, George Michael, Mel Gibson's former home, Bob Geldof, and Enya's castle. But the highlight of the trip was definitely the coastal and mountain scenery we saw along the way. It was utterly breathtaking. Dublin, of course, is along the coast of the Irish Sea, and we drove along the coastline through some small and charming towns (Dalkey and Black Rock come to mind). The coast was spectacular, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. He stopped along the way to allow us to take pictures. It was a bit misty because of the rain, but it only made it more beautiful and more mystical.

When we had travelled for a little over an hour, the bus made a stop at a beautiful little rest stop situated between the mountains. There was a shop that had nearly everything imaginable, a bakery, and a cafe. We stayed there for nearly an hour.

We got to Glendalough at about 1:30 and went to the tourist center to watch a short film. Then we took a guided tour of the monastic ruins, unfortunately, it was pouring rain. I got soaked despite my waterproof jacket. The ruins were really beautiful and there was a really old cemetery around it. In the middle of these ruins was a giant white cross known as "the wishing cross." Supposedly, if you put your arms around it and your fingers touch, you'll get married within a year. (Note: they did, and I didn't...although two of the girls who traveled with me got engaged within a year of putting their arms around the cross. My boyfriend at the time unceremoniously dumped me.)

On the drive back from Glendalough, we saw rivers running wildly alongside the highway, between the mountains and over rocks. It was again amazing...Ireland impressed me more and more with its natural beauty. I took more pictures. We drove past ruins of centuries old buildings, just sitting next to the road. We drove by miles and miles of coniferous forest. Ireland is the most amazing place I have ever seen.

(Note: What I failed to write about, which surprises me now, is that we ate lunch at the lovely and elegant Glendalough Hotel. And I remember the lunch being very good, even though I can't remember what I ate.)

When we got back to Dublin, we ate dinner at Bewley's. It was a fantastic place...really fun atmosphere. Then we came home to Avalon House to rest for a bit before going to Temple Bar.

Saturday, August 7, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Saturday, August 7

I didn't get much sleep last night since our hostel faces a busy street and is right across from a pub. It was noisy outside all night. But I woke up bright & early this morning, ready to face another day.

I took a shower (I'm still trying to adjust to unisex toilets & showers) and I went downstairs for breakfast: yogurt, a muffin, and juice. I ate alone watching life go by outside the window. As I left the cafe to go someplace quiet and read, an old Irish man stopped me to chat. He said something profound, something about how you have to live your life making the most of everyday. He was really nice to talk to.


I visited the National Gallery, the National Museum, did some shopping, went to see a Brian Friel play, and hung out at Temple Bar. I'm exhausted, so I'll write all about it tomorrow.

Friday, August 6, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Dublin! Ireland!

I'm so excited to be here. We left really early this morning and flew out of Bristol. We flew a 737, which wasn't bad, and I had a window seat. :) We flew over Wales, so that was cool since I won't get to see Wales at all.

We're staying at the Avalon Guest House here in Dublin, which is nice. I share a room with about 10 other girls. There's an upstairs loft that is divided into 2 rooms and I have the top bunk in one room. So far, I have the room to myself.

The taxi driver we had to get here was so funny and nice. He drove by some of the big tourist attractions and joked around with us. He was great. We just came back from lunch not too long ago. We ate at Cafe Angelo and I had chicken nuggets and chips...very greasy - but good and cheap. We are getting ready to walk to Trinity College.


Today has been a long day. It's not even 8:30 yet, but we have seen a lot. We walked through St. Stephen's Green into Trinity College and went to see The Book of Kells and the long library. That was great. We familiarized ourselves with Grafton and O'Connell Streets. Then Greg walked us over to the Temple Bar area, where we ate Mexican at the Alamo Cafe. It was pretty good, and they even had fried ice cream. We went to some pub afterwards, but I didn't drink anything. I've spent more money than I have planned to.

There are a few things I have noticed about Dublin: James Joyce is practically worshipped like a god, music is playing everywhere on the streets (I've heard guitar, fiddle, penny whistle, and uilleann pipes on the streets), and the weather changes more drastically than it does in Ohio. It went from pouring rain to sunshine back to rain, and the temperature changed constantly. But Dublin is a fun place with a lot of history. Even the post office has a history. It's all so fascinating to me.

Saturday, July 31, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Saturday, July 31

Today was a good day, just long and tiring...Kim, Kerry, and I went to town today to do some shopping...We also went inside of the Abbey. It was so incredible inside. We spent quite a bit of time looking at everything. They had a prayer at 2:00, so we stayed for that. It was really awesome.


Sunday, August 1

At 7:30 we went to The Bell and I tried cider with blackcurrant. It was very good. I had a pint of that, stopped at Schwartz's for a milkshake, and now I'm having dinner.

Before I forget, a pretty amusing incident happened at The Bell. I was walking out to the patio and a woman stopped me to ask if I was wearing pants (underwear), and I said yes. She was explaining to me that she was arguing with the 2 men at her table. She said that women don't wear pants in the summer beacuse it's too hot. Then she laughed and said, "You're supposed to be on my side." Anyway, it was pretty funny.

Tuesday, July 27, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

(written on July 28 about the day before)

London Again!

Theatre at Shakespeare's Globe: Antony and Cleopatra

(Shakespeare had to be rolling in his grave. This production was more comedic than tragic.) I sat on the top level...great seats! Not that it mattered...the play was horrible.

Yesterday was a very long day. The bus left at about 6:30 am for London.

We got into London around 9:30 and the bus dropped us off in front of the Tate Gallery (note: it's now known as Tate Britain, not to be confused with Tate Modern). Some other people went to the Tower of London, but it's expensive to get in and too touristy for me. The Tate Gallery is free and has some famous artworks. I loved the Pre-Raphaelite section because those are some of my favorite paintings, particularly the ones that were inspired by Victorian literature, like "Ophelia" (okay, so that was inspired by Hamlet, but I love it) and "The Lady of Shalott" (a poem by Tennyson).

(note: on the next page, I pasted a postcard of The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, which I bought at the Tate gift shop.)

It was so exciting to me to see these paintings up close and personal. They beat the crown jewels in the Tower of London anyday.

After the visit to Tate, we walked over to the Parliament Building and right across the street to Westminster Abbey. There was a long line to get in, and a 3 pound admission fee. So Amy, Susan, and I pretended to go in to pray, and we were allowed in for free through the pilgrim door. We did go in a little side chapel and sat quietly for a few minutes. I couldn't really pray because I was trying to take in the whole feeling of just being in that incredible place. I was awe-struck. We each lit a candle (I lit mine in memory of Grandpa), and we all stood quietly outside the chapel and took in the surroundings. We did not have access to a lot of the abbey because we didn't pay to get in (we couldn't see where Princess Diana's funeral was held). What we did see though was gorgeous. We looked at some of the tombs small obscure one with the inscription: "O Rare Ben Jonson." There were other writers buried there too: Tennyson, George Eliot, etc. But we didn't go far enough into the abbey to see those.

After that, we walked to this cheap Italian restaurant in Soho, where the service was really bad. Then Kerry, Kim, and I went to Knightsbridge and visited Harrod's. I didn't buy anything because everything there was so overpriced. We stopped at McD's for sundaes and cokes before catching the tube to Monument to walk across the bridge to the Globe Theatre. We had to attend a lecture prior to the play, and I kept dozing off. I was so tired by that point. At 7:30 the play started, and it was ghastly. The audience laughed during the death scenes, and there were some ludicrous parts, such as when Cleopatra hoisted a dying Antony up onto the 2nd level of the stage. He was laid onto a sling. It just looked ridiculous, and all the drama of Antony's death was lost. In the last scene, Cleopatra appeared onstage with no hair, obviously making her more masculine (as she was played by a man) but also not making clear whether Cleopatra just went mad and cut off all her hair or what. It just made no sense.

Thursday, July 15, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal


Right now I am sitting in a park between the River Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It is so pretty here. But it is a little chilly and windy. This is a charming town, but obviously very touristy. When we arrived here, we went to lunch at this pizza place called Ask. They had really good food and I ordered a pizza with an egg on it. It was very different and very excellent food.

After lunch, we decided to go to Holy Trinity Church to see Shakespeare's tomb. I paid 40p to get in, which was worth it. The inside of the church was so beautiful, probably the most beautiful church I had ever seen. I was so much in awe of seeing his grave. After we left the church, we strolled along the streets and explored the shops. I bought a really large amount of postcards and stamps, and a Buckingham Palace Guard teddy bear for mom.

Stratford is best when you just sit by the river. We sat for hours, watching the little boats on the river and the swans and the people coming and going. It's peaceful and has pretty gardens and a huge statue of Shakespeare with Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Falstaff and Prince Hal. I took a lot of pictures.

It's crazy, but we ate at McDonald's for dinner. It was cheap and we all spent a lot of money today. We wanted to go to Shakespeare's birthplace, but it cost 5 quid to get in. So we just took pictures instead.

(Note: This is one of my great regrets from this trip. Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Shakespeare, so to not see his birthplace was incredibly foolish.)


We just boarded the bus after seeing Othello. All I can say is, wow. It was so amazing, emotional, powerful, gripping, etc. etc. We had excellent seats in the third row. There were times when tears came to my eyes. There are very few times when I have seen better theatre. Actually, I think it was the best play I have ever seen...

After the play, the actors came out to answer questions. It was really interesting to see how each actor approaches their character and the play in general. This has definitely been one of the best days I've had since I've been in England.

(note: And that continued to be the case. The very next day, my grandfather died, and I had to go home for his funeral. I came back a week later to finish my program, but my entire attitude about it had changed.)

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

After class we walked into town to go take a tour of the baths. It cost 5.20 pounds to get in - way too expensive. It was interesting, but not worth the price of admission. After that, we had dinner at All Bar One, which had really good food. Kerry and I shared a veggie plate with tomato and gryere [sic] pancakes, potato wedges, and garlic bread. It was so yummy.

Saturday, July 10, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Glastonbury and Stonehenge

I really enjoyed our excursion today, as much, if not more, than yesterday. We drove for nearly 90 minutes to Glastonbury, and passed some pretty towns along the way, including Wells, which has an incredible cathedral (which I didn't get to see). But Glastonbury itself is beautiful, with two huge and beautiful churches looming over the town. We had a choice of walking among the ruins of the centuries-old Glastonbury Abbey, or walking up an extremely steep hill to the Tor. I could see the Tor from the bus as we arrived, so I opted for the ruins. They were magnificent and beautiful and it is really hard for me to imagine what the abbey must have looked like. We saw the burial site of King Arthur and the abbott's kitchen. There were a lot of ruins on that site, and foundations that still remained where the buildings did not. I was so in awe of the place and it was so peaceful and calm there despite the crowds...

...We left for Stonehenge at about 1:30 and it took nearly 90 minutes to get there. It wasn't nearly as impressive as I expected it to be. In fact, it's much smaller. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people there, and I heard several different languages being spoken among them. We hurriedly walked around and took some pictures and then went to the gift shop.

Friday, July 9, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal


Today was an absolute blast! London is fantastic. I was not terribly impressed with it until we reached the Thames. Then we saw Big Ben and the Parliament building and I got really excited. We got there at about 11:30, so we had two and a half hours before Julius Caesar started...

...Kim and I finally decided to go off on our own and we took the Riverwalk along the Thames, which is absolutely bursting with people. We made it back for the play, stopping for ice cream on the way back (I'm getting addicted to Magnum bars and I can't get them in the U.S.). The play was interesting, particularly the costumes. There was a mix of Roman, Elizabethan, and contemporary clothing, since there were actors in the audience. I was really tired and had a headache and fell asleep during the first and second acts. But the third act had all the excitement in it anyway.

After the play, some of us split up and the group I was in took the tube to Piccadilly Circus. We hit the tube at rush hour, so it was crowded, hot, and miserable. But it was very fast and very cheap, so we got there fairly quickly. We stopped in China Town for dinner, where I had the best Chinese dinner in my life and tried (in vain) to learn to use chopsticks. It was fun and our waiter was entertaining, making Jackie Chan and Mr. Miyagi impersonations.

We left the restaurant and walked around Piccadilly Circus for a bit, which was really neat but a bit too crowded for me. I saw most of the theatres.

We walked through beautiful St. James Park so we could see Buckingham Palace, which sits at the end of it. I got a ton of pictures. Then we walked through Green Park and over to Hyde Park. We stopped by a pub before meeting up with the bus to come back to Bath.

Thursday, July 8, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

This evening we took the "Bizarre Bath" tour, which was a lot of fun. It is more or less street theatre and a comedy show. I thought I saw most of Bath already, but we walked on the other side of Pulteney Bridge, which is quite breathtaking. Despite all the walking, it was a fun evening. And we got Baskin-Robins afterwards. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

...we met Helen outside to walk to the center of town for a bus tour. The tour was wonderful and gave me the opportunity to take some really good pictures (hopefully). After the tour, part of our group went out for fish and chips and we sat by the Royal Crescent to eat it. Susan, Leslie, Kim and I walked back together, stopping at a little shop to buy postcards and ice cream. All in all, a gorgeous day...warm and sunny (but not hot as the Brits keep complaining). But I am so anxious to see more of England. We are going to Stonehenge on Saturday, and of course, the London trip on Friday.

Monday, July 5, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

We are getting ready to leave the hotel. I thought I should take this opportunity to write some more. We finally arrived in England yesterday and flying overhead, we saw openings in the clouds that revealed England's hilly and green landscape. We had a smooth landing at Gatwick, and Susan and I went through customs and met up with Sam and Leslie. Sam took us to a pub in the airport to buy us lunch. Then he walked us to the train station in the airport, where we caught the train to Bath with a connection in Reading. The train ride here was nearly 3 hours. We watched the English countryside speed by, and I was just in awe of the beauty of it. Everything is just so green. We talked to some interesting people on the train. Finally, the train pulled up at Bath Spa and I nearly burst into tears at the beauty of the town. It is so hilly and has so many gorgeous little shops and buildings...

...The hotel sits on the River Avon, with pastures (and sheep) and a castle in the distance outside our window. We explored a little around the river last night and went to bed early, as jetlag was setting in. Then we all found ourselves awake in the middle of the night, but fell asleep again. This morning we had a traditional English breakfast, which was quite good, but very greasy.


We are now settled in at
Somerset Place, which is absolutely beautiful. I was a bit surprised by how sparse my room was, but I will make it nice...


All settled in and had orientation about Bath itself - where the important places were (post office, banks, etc.) and we walked a lot. I saw many tourist sites, including the Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge. We stopped at the Bell for a drink (I had cider) and heard a band play before we walked back.

Sunday, July 4, 1999

Remembering Bath 1999 - excerpts from my study abroad journal

Sunday, July 4 10:13 GMT (TWA flight 722)

Less than 2 hours to go until we land in London. This plane ride is taking forever. My first flight to St. Louis was lovely, although the plane was really small. The views were breathtaking: a patchwork quilt of farmland with the occasional speck of civilization thrown in. We flew by downtown St. Louis, which looked tiny from above, but the arch gleamed brightly in the late afternoon sun. And I saw the mighty Mississippi for the first time in my life, which is the only thing that didn't look small from the plane.

The layover went surprisingly fast, and before we knew it, we were boarding our flight. Susan and I lucked out and got bulkhead seats, so we had a lot more legroom. Nighttime flying is incredible. The lights are really beautiful and at one point, we watched a lightning storm. As we rose higher and higher (41,000 feet), everything became pitch black outside the window. But as we headed further eastward, the sunrise soon came and beautiful streaks of red began to appear in front of us. Right now, it is so cloudy that I cannot see if we are over land or water. It looks like snow, it's so thick. But anyway, we have just been served brunch, so I will write more later.