The Reflective Post. Official Post #4

For the Final Time Hello blog readers!

This trip has been a blast! I enjoy traveling, history, and meeting new people; all of which this trip has been full of. I have learned about the history and culture of Britain and have gotten traveling experience as well. Hostels are good if you want to meet new people and their self-catering kitchens make them a cheap comfortable accommodation. I am also much more familiar with public transportation and the process of keeping clothes clean without a washer and dryer.

When it comes to history my knowledge of British history has been greatly expanded and I understand just how much history is out there. Beforehand I knew more about modern history but now I know more of ancient history and have a better understanding of the daily life in that time. Learning about British history has also been interesting and how their history has influenced their culture today.

I have also learned about castles and cathedrals, which, surprise, is the title of the course. Castles built after Edward I often had an outer ward and then an inner ward built for additional defense. Other defense tactics that were built into a castle included arrow slits, murder holes, and drawbridges. A fun fact is that Welsh castles were built with larger windows because the Welsh would often throw spears at their enemies while English castles had narrow windows because they shot arrows at their enemies, instead of spears.

Cathedrals, on the other hand, were built for prayer rather than defense. If I had to summarize my experience with cathedrals in three phrases they would be: vast, intensely decorative, and highly historical. Vast because of the vast space in a cathedral’s nave, choir, and transepts. Intensely decorative because of the art that covers the place. There are saints and Bible stories portrayed on the stained glass. There are wood carvings in the choir and rood screen and, of course, there is stone work everywhere. Most of the artwork is religious or historically political. For example, kings will be portrayed next to saints. Which leads us to the final aspect of cathedrals which is that they are highly historical. Not only are saints and kings portrayed, showing what saints and kings were important, but there are also graves in the cathedral that can teach us about life in the medieval time period. The average life span can be determined from the graves as well as what sort of ailments were deadly at the time.

I have also learned that the British know of some great ways to relax and have a good time. Whether it is lounging in the park on the weekends, having high tea, or socializing at the pub. I also know there are daily struggles (late trains, rainy weather), but nevertheless I have enjoyed seeing how another country does life, both the good and the bad.

Lastly, (cheesy alert) I will miss our rambunctious group of travelers and patient professor. They have made the traveling, long train rides, constant tours, and evenings fun and memorable.

Hopefully you were able to follow those thoughts as they were a bit all over the place!

All for now,

-Alison

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