Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Westminster, Kent, Wicked, Bath, Avebury, Stonehenge

I've been traveling up a storm recently. Last Friday we visited Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster, where Parliament meets. I attended a mass (Holy Communion) with Amber and Kelli and was blessed by the female priest.

On Saturday we took a train and went on a 10-mile hike through the countryside in Shoreham, Kent, which is south of London. It was beautiful, and we visited a Norman castle, among other things.

On Sunday I had to teach two lessons in Spanish at church since Jeff, who usually comes to the Spanish branch with me, was home sick.

I spent all of Monday finishing reading Jane Austen's Persuasion. It ended a lot better that it started, and I liked it better than I expected. However, I wish that I read a lot faster, because it's no fun being cooped up in my room all day when I'm in London.

Yesterday evening I saw Wicked (the musical) with several people in our program. It was amazing. My favorite part was right before intermission (or "interval", as they call it here) when Elphaba sang Defying Gravity.

Today we took a coach and visited Bath (about 100 miles west of London), which is a resort city that is the site of an ancient Roman public bath. Amazingly, it's still there, although it was buried for some time and rediscovered in the late 1800's. We also visited a Jane Austen museum in Bath. She lived there for a few years, and it's the setting for parts of several of her books, including Persuasion. It was fun to see a sign for Marlborough Buildings when I had just read about them in Persuasion yesterday.

After Bath we traveled to Avebury, which is the site of a neolithic stone formation. It was fun because we could get right up next to the rocks and touch them.

Our final visit today was Stonehenge. It's roped off so that you can't get very close to it, but it's still impressive from a distance. I have to admit that it's a little smaller than I had imagined, but it's still an amazing feat of 5000-year-old engineering.

As usual, pictures are available:

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