So much has happened since my last blog post! I’m sorry for being so behind!
My first week of classes was a whirlwind! My Jane Austen class, taught by a wonderful Oxford professor, is probably my favorite so far. It’s also a very nice location because it’s located in my house, so all I have to do is trudge downstairs casually without bringing a bag with me. The classroom makes the class feel very intimate. It mostly consists of girls, with the exception of 3 guys. Luckily there are about 4 UMW students in this class (there’s two sections) so it’s not terribly awkward. So far we have discussed the biography of Jane Austen, gone on a walking tour around Bath to places where Jane Austen stayed and places in Bath that are mentioned in her novels, and discussed Northanger Abbey. The only downside of this class is that the protocol for getting into our house for class has not been truly organized so I’ve had the misfortune of opening the door for the earlier class to let them in, while wearing my pajamas. Dr. Fallon, was running up the stairs to let them in and saw me in my polka-dotted pajama pants. Awkward.
The Oscar Wilde class, taught by Dr. Foss, is a nice class too. It’s truly intimate because it’s just UMW students and by now we are used to each other. This week we’ve had an introduction to Wilde’s biography, his poems, and some of his lectures. The class is located in Nelson’s Cabin, which is in the Nelson House right across the street from where I live, so it’s a quick walk to class. Luckily I have an hour and a half break between my two classes to grab lunch and watch some TV. During class, it’s personal enough that we can get easily distracted between making fun of Tricia and Foss’ nautical jokes in reference to the strange noises we hear in our class.
Wednesday we had no class because we took a day trip to Stonehenge and Glastonbury. This was an amazing trip, even with the rain that was scattered throughout the day. Stonehenge was a classic sight and our group took many photos. We next went to Glastonbury and went to the Abbey to see the ruins. It was again, really pretty! We had lunch at a restaurant that specialized in fish and chips. The group all had some, and it was soooo good, and so filling. The next adventure was to Glastonbury Tor, which consisted of a steep hike up a big hill, with a beautiful view of Glastonbury, to the top of the hill where there was a huge tower. It was a breathtaking experience; I felt like I could write a poem about it.
Our next big excursion was our weekend trip to Cornwall. On Friday we went on a bus to Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. I had a major geeky moment explaining to a friend about the movie “The Mists of Avalon” which tells the story of King Arthur, etc. Tintagel and the castle ruins were beautiful, as well as the amazing cliffs, caves, and coastline. The only problem was the awful rain. This wasn’t the standard English rain which starts and ends in 5 minutes. It continued throughout the entire visit. Everyone was soaked while they were trying to eat their packed lunch while also trying to take pictures and hike up the slippery staircases. The steps reminded me of the stairs that Frodo and Sam climbed up, led by Gollum, to the inside of Mordor. By the time we were leaving Tintagel, it stopped raining. Typical.
After Tintagel we went to the coastal town of Coverack, where we were staying for the weekend. Most people stayed in a very nice youth hostel. The town was tiny and intimate. For dinner the whole group went to dinner at a pub (which we barely fit into) and had traditional Cornish pasties and I had cider and finished someone’s Guinness. YUM. Saturday we left Coverack and went to the peninsula and the most southern point of England called The Lizard. We had a very nice tour guide, who knew all about the area, including the geology and seemed to be a naturalist. He led the hike around the peninsula, stopping every now and then to tell us about the birds, flowers, geography and interesting random facts about The Lizard. One interesting fact was the connection he made to King Arthur: the local birds, called the choughs, supposedly earned their red feet and beaks from pecking at the corpse of King Arthur on the battlefields. The coastline was gorgeous and the hike wasn’t too treacherous because we went at a nice pace.
Departing from the Lizard, our group went to St. Ives, the town with a beach and cute shops. While trying to enjoy our pasties on the beach (cautiously) we were interrupted by the gulls; one flew at Tricia, hit her in the back of her head and stole her pasty. The gulls are that aggressive! We left the beach, hastily finished our lunch and bought some fudge/ice cream and explored the shops. We almost got lost on our way back to the bus, but with luck we caught the right bus back to the parking lot. After St. Ives we went to Roskilly’s Farm (dairy and meat I believe) and had a nice BBQ dinner, cider, and some yummy ice cream! Sunday we went to Knightshayes Court, a great Victorian style house with beautiful gardens and sheep. After that we headed back to Bath. It was really a long and tiring week, and we soon found that we were referring to our houses in Bath as home!
Today, in between classes, a few friends and I went to the famous Sally Lunn’s restaurant, and had buns with chocolate butter (recommended by Foss’ daughter) and tea! It was great! Also, Thursday night, I had my first try of Pimm’s: it’s a really yummy alcoholic drink with gin, lemonade and fruit…kinda like sangria.
The food is good here; people should stop hating on English food!
That’s all for now, din din time!