I have had some really neat opportunities in my life. Some of my adventures I have undertaken alone, like my mission, and some I've shared with various family and friends. An experience that has changed me forever was living with my sister, Sara, (and 40 other people) in London for two months on a BYU study abroad.
I fell head over heels in love--it was like no other place I've ever been. I always thought I hated history until I started learning about Britain's fascinating, and often blood-curdling, past. I couldn't get enough. We saw several plays (Les Mis seriously changed my life. Twice.), splurged on waffles, hiked and rode the tube all over the city, spent hours upon hours in museums, and went running in Hyde Park several times a week. We visited so many castles and ruins I can't keep them straight, visited Stonehenge, saw (all of) Ian McKellen (ick) as King Lear in Stratford-upon-Avon, rode bikes on the Isle of Wight, toured Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, hiked Arthur's Seat in Scotland and walked for miles on Hadrian's Wall.
We visited St. Michan's Church in Dublin and saw the organ Handel is said to have played his Messiah on...and we also went to the crypt under the church and saw some naturally mummified remains. If you choose, you are allowed to touch the hand of the Crusader. One of our professors professed that if you touched the Crusader's hand, you'd be married in a year.
I touched his cold, leathery hand.
I got married almost exactly one year later.
Coincidence? Or did I really only stand a chance at marriage with the blessing of a 500 year old corpse?
I've been thinking about Europe a lot lately--for the past three years, I've wanted to move there so badly that I sometimes feel feverish. I know it's crazy, especially since dentistry isn't exactly an easy profession to relocate with, but I've got the itch.
My family--every blessed one of them except for me--is in Europe right now. Lisa is on some senior trip tour choir thing, and the rest of my fam (including my sister's new husband) is traipsing around the UK. I'm certainly not mad that they've gone, and I've known for a year this was coming, but the first couple days they were gone were rough. I've been homesick in general the past month or two anyway--every once in awhile it hits me that I can't just go home and visit whenever I feel like it--but this is somehow even harder.
Anyway, I've gone through all my photos several times since they left; it has been a fun walk down memory lane. For purely selfish and sentimental reasons, I am going to post a plethora of photos documenting some of my adventures.
Navigating the tube. How many blondes does it take to read a map?
London Bridge is falling down
Before our six-mile bike ride from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. In the rain. With no shoulder.
Why, yes; I believe we are whiter than the Cliffs of Dover.
Fountains Abbey--one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring places I've ever been. See the white speck in the lower left hand corner? That's me.
Hiking on Hadrian's Wall.
A brief stop in Wales. We bought fruit at a little shop and marveled at the signs written in Welsh.
At the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, straddling the Prime Meridian. (Incidentally, I have much more appreciation for this museum now that I've read Longitude.)
On the top of Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh.
The stones and henge at Avebury. Short, squatty stone, tall skinny stone (woman, man). We didn't get it either--as
k our humanities professor.
The Roman baths at Bath.
At the Jane Austen museum in Bath
Hampton Court--one of my favorite castles.
Sara and I at the beginning of our grueling nine-mile hike around Kent.
I call this picture "Time Flies"
We saw as many plays as we could afford. This was on Sara's birthday, and we sat front row center--it was amazing.
Glendalogh, Ireland--another of the most beautiful places I've ever been.