British Library, Tower of London, Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Bath – it’s been a busy weekend!
As I don’t have class on Thursdays, I decided to head over to the British Library to see the artifacts of literature, music, history, and religion – all for free! Charlotte Bronte’s notes, Jane Austen’s writing desk and reading glasses, Mozart’s handwritten music, Beethoven’s tuning fork, and finally the Beatles’ handwritten lyrics to Help, Yesterday, Ticket to Ride, and Michelle – the gallery has some amazing things stowed away in it. Though I loved seeing all of these, I couldn’t get enough of the works of Leonardo da Vinci, a Gutenberg Bible, and a beautiful 14th century Hagadah from Spain. But more than anything else, I LOVED the Magna Carta! There’s something about this document that draws me in, and I’m minorly obsessed with it. Maybe it’s the fact that it attempted to establish liberties and trial by jury… but then again, maybe it’s just because it’s signed in the year 1215 (aka my birthday December 15).
On Friday, a group of us went to the Tower of London – possibly the best £14.50 I’ve spent yet! With so much gory history in one place, it was a fabulous way to spend Friday the 13th! First of all, the place is gorgeous. The buildings are all stone and just give off a vibe of being fantastically old, as if they are hiding the bloody secrets of the past. Looking over the Thames and the Tower Bridge, the location could not be more picturesque! Ever tower and room has been turned into a museum, so every place you turn, you get to learn about more history! I left the Tower feeling so much more knowledgeable but still wishing that there were more rooms to explore!
Today, I took a coach tour to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Bath – such a long but rewarding day! We began our day at 6:45AM and didn’t return until after 7:30, but the sights we saw made it entirely worthwhile. Beginning at Stonehenge, I was in awe by the structure. Though I likely will never know how it became, the crazy structure with the beautiful backdrop of bright greens and blue skies is fabulous. I understand why it’s so famous!!
From Stonehenge, we traveled to Salisbury, a quaint town that looks quintessentially English. When deciding to go on this day trip, I was 100% set on going to Salisbury – mostly to see the Magna Carta, of course. However, I hated seeing it in the Cathedral! There was a long line, so I felt that I only had the chance to glance at it. Hoards of people were crowded around, trying to catch a glimpse before our time was up. At the British Library, I spent a half hour examining the document, reading the translation and learning more about its history. Here, I walked in, took a look, and walked out. Thank goodness I’d already been to the Library or else this would’ve been the worst letdown!
Fortunately, the cathedral itself is majestic and reason enough to visit Salisbury! The 404-ft spire is the highest in the UK and the second highest in all of Europe. Plus, the church has beautiful architecture, amazing stained glass, and the oldest working clock (it’s been ticking since the medieval times)! They wanted to film Harry Potter at the Cathedral, but the church didn’t want to be associated with witchcraft – how lame! Nevertheless, such a neat place to visit!
Finally, we traveled to Bath for our last stop. I wish we had the chance to explore the city, but alas, we only were able to walk around the Roman Baths. But this just means I’ll have to come back to the adorable city! The Roman Baths were really fascinating to see – so much careful planning and fabulously built structures despite such relatively little technology. The ruins are really interesting to walk around, even though the water doesn’t taste that great!
To leave you with some fun facts from our tour guide today:
What makes a hamlet a hamlet? A church.
What makes a village a village? A pub.
What makes a town a town? A marketplace.
What makes a city a city? A cathedral.
As long as it has the latter, it’s automatically labeled the former!