I want to start off by saying that for my final blog I enjoyed the UK as whole. I loved most of the castles and cathedral we attended and the Bodnant gardens were both beautiful and peaceful. I also loved the spa day that we had and my trip to the zoo and aquarium was educational and new. I saw a lot of animals in person that I have never seen before and the aquarium had a lot of information on fishes that I never knew existed.
I will miss going out with different people from our class to different pubs, drinking talking and overall having a good time. Furthermore, I will fish and chips. I loved the fish and chips they served in Oban and I hope that in the future I can come back to UK even more fish and chips.
One thing that I learned while traveling through Scotland and Wales was that both countries still have a strong resentment of the English as the people of these countries see the English as people who took their freedom away from them.
Overall, I am going miss the exploration, the castles, the hanging out and interacting with people from our group and the food. I hope that I can return in the future and explore more of the UK. However, I am looking forward to graduation and returning to Minnesota.
For my third blog, I will be Gloucester Cathedral. I will be discussing the history of the Cathedral, my own impressions of the Cathedral and my impressions of the evensong that we attended as a class.
I learned from Noah that the foundation of Gloucester Cathedral was built in 1072 under the orders of William The Conquer. The foundations were built by Abbot Serlo. Furthermore, I learned that king Edward II was buried in Gloucester Cathedral and that there was a ship built of solid gold that was sent sit on the top of the tomb of Edward II. He was buried in 1327. Moreover, while exploring the Cathedral I learned that for about 70 years after Edward’s II death the cathedral was a major site for pilgrims and travelers because Edward was buried there. I also learned while exploring the cathedral that Edward’s II great grandson, Richard II held a parliament at Gloucester Cathedral. Furthermore, I learned from Noah that the earliest added segment of the castle was the lady Chapel added in 1222.
One interesting thing about Gloucester cathedral that I noticed as soon as I stepped into the cathedral was the distinctive two styles, the first part of the cathedral is heavily roman influence while the other half is gothic. I also learned from Noah that the stain glasses at the Cathedral are the second largest medieval stain glass in all of Britain, the first being in the cathedral at York. The stain glass are 72 feet high and 32 width. The cloister of Gloucester Cathedral is one of the earliest surviving fan vault that were designed by Thomas de Canterbury between 1351 and 1377. Furthermore, I learned from Noah that the choir also has some of the oldest perpendicular styles dating from the 1330s. I also want to note that while exploring the cathedral the size and detailed designs embedded within the structure was beautiful and caught me by surprise as I was not expecting such designs to have survived this long. Another part of the cathedral that I found to be amazing was the tower which dates from 1450-1457. Lastly, while exploring the cathedral I learned that it went through extensive restoration between 1873 and 1890 under George Gilbert Scott.
The evensong that we attended as class was something that I have never been to before and the experience was not bad, it just was not what I was expecting. The organ was a lot louder than I was expecting but the singing was beautiful and the prayer connecting the importance of water to our daily lives was impressive in my opinion. When the priest was discussing the importance of water and how crucial it is that we limit our wastefulness of water. I found this to be something I take for granted and that I wish others were more aware off. Furthermore, I found evensong to be very different from my own religious practice as I am a Hindu on my dad’s side. In the Hindu religion prayer is usually done in silent with a lot of offering to the gods and self-reflection, it is also done in private and individually. These are some of the comparisons that I found when comparing evensong to my own religious practice.
This entire trip has been a blast. I leaned a lot and I was able to see a lot of sights that I had on my bucket list. I think my favorite sites were the nunnery at Iona and Salisbury Cathedral in England. I really liked Iona for the beauty of it. Salisbury Cathedral was one of the largest cathedrals we saw on our journey through Scotland, Wales, and England. I think I’ll miss the diversity in food and the small towns that we went to. I liked the large cities because they were interesting but they were too crowded for my liking, especially London. This course has changed my perspective on how much different the culture over here is. It also made me realize how much we have in the US and how we take them for granted. I got a lot of things out of this trip. I learned a lot about the Egyptians when we went to the British Museum along with a lot of other information from the National Gallery which contains artworks by many artists including Van Gough. I’m also going to miss the opportunities to visit museums. A lot of the museums here, England especially, are free. Most museums, if any, in the states are free. On our free days, I spent time traveling to different museums around the area to look at exhibits I was interested in and learned a lot from all of them. As great as this trip has been, I am ready to go home. I miss my family and friends (other than the ones I have made on this trip) as well as just the feel of being home. I’m really proud of myself in the face that I made it through a month of being in another country, thousands of miles away from home. This experience was a completely new adventure and I adored every moment of it. So to Scotland, Wales, and England: thank you for a fantastic learning experience and I’ll catch ya later. 🇬🇧
Portsmouth is one of the biggest military naval harbors historically in England. Today, it is still used in some parts as a naval base and training facility for the naval academy. The HMS Victory was an impressive ship that was built in the late 1700s. It is the oldest ship in continuous military service. The second oldest ship is the USS Constitution. The HMS Victory was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar. Nelson is considered one of the best naval officers in British history. Nelson died at the battle of Trafalgar after the battle as he led his flagship the HMS Victory in the lead into the naval action. The HMS Victory barely made it back to port due to the damage it has sustained during the naval action. The battle at Trafalgar was a resounding victory for the Royal Navy (British). The French and Spanish fleet was resoundingly defeated. This battle took place during the Napoleonic Wars. The ship which is on display in Portsmouth Harbor is massive for its time. It had 104 cannons arrayed on its three decks along with a hold at the bottom of the ship. These cannons included 32 pound cannons, 24 pound cannons and an array of long and normal barreled 12 pound cannons. The poundage of a cannon is based upon the weight of shot that is fired from the cannon. This made the HMS Victory a ship of the line which were the main military ships of the Royal navy although as the flagship it was bigger and more heavily armed than most ships of the same classification. In fact, it was a first-rate ship of the line which means it was fitted with the best materials available and purpose built to be an important ship in the royal navy. It was commissioned by Pitt the Elder a famous tactician in British history.
Portsmouth is also home to a World War I ship HMS M.33. This ship was a small bombardment ship meant for coastal duty with two big 6 inch guns that have a range of at least 6 miles which allowed them to cover the amphibious landings on Gallipoli. The ship had 4 siblings all of which were destroyed by enemy artillery fire during the landings. This was due to their ½ inch thin hull which any direct hit by an artillery shell could destroy the ship. HMS M33 became known as the “luck ship” as it was the only one that survived. The ship then saw service in the support of landings in Archangel in north western Russia to cover the White Russians’ retreat. The ship was repurposed in World War II as a mine layer and a floating office for some officers who were never of note. The ship was decommissioned soon after World War II. The ship is one of three remaining ships that served in World War I and the only surviving ship from the Gallipoli campaign. Portsmouth harbor is a fine reflection of some of the history of the Royal Navy’s illustrious history.
Our trip is finally coming to an end. I have been all over the United Kingdom and I am nothing short of impressed. I have had days where home was all I was thinking about, and I have had days where I did not want to leave. Today, the day before our last day, is a day that I feel at peace with going home. As much as I have enjoyed my stay in the United Kingdom, there just is not quite a place like home. I have learned a lot in my time across the pond, I have tried new things, and have made many friends. There have been experiences that I have not enjoyed so thoroughly and other experiences that I will never forget. I have become a scotch whisky drinker, I have come to enjoy tea, and believe it or not I have become accustomed to people driving on the left side of the road. My favorite sites that I saw while here were Stonehenge and Fountain’s Abbey. I really enjoyed Stonehenge because the sheer mystery of it all. I liked looking at the massive circle and wondering how it all came to be. I think my favorite part was that there was no answer, it still remains a mystery to this day. It let my imagination run free, and I was able to analyze the past and appreciate the present. I really enjoyed Fountain’s Abbey because of the nature and wildlife. I got to sea massive gardens that were filled with flowers, neatly trimmed grass, and large ponds with fountains. I also got to go see the Royal Deer Park and was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon a herd of deer and I came within fifteen feet! I also really enjoyed seeing the Harry Pitter sites. As an avid Harry Potter fan I thought it was one of the coolest things to see where the actors stood and relate it to the movies. To be in the same spot as Harry Potter was a once in a life time experience for me. I think that I will miss traveling the most. I am someone who does noting sitting on trains or planes and I really enjoyed moving to one place from another because it always guaranteed that you would not get bored. Going from small rural towns to massive cities was a cool experience because I got to see the changes in culture from one place to another. Although there was food I did not enjoy I know I will miss fresh fish and chips the most. It was my first time eating fish and chips and I instantly enjoyed it! The experiences that I have had over here I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I have learned to not take the things in my culture for granted. There are things that I did not know I would miss and when I got here I did. I missed the ease of everyday life, grocery stores, and the ease of transportation. Another experience that I have taken away is that our culture is not very fashion forward. The people in the United Kingdom are very well dressed all of the time and I have come to appreciate that. I will take away many things from this trip but the thing that I will take away with the most gravity is the understanding that all people are different. Their ways of life, the things they eat, and the activities they do are all different AND THAT IS OKAY! I have learned to embrace everyone’s differences and appreciate them for who they are and not how they are different from me. At the end of the day we are all human.
The Mad Max tour is a bus touring company that we used to get from place to place today. The company was called Mad Max due to the owner of the company Madeline or Mady for short who owns the company. When she gave bus tours, she would bring her dog Max with her and thus the company became known as Mad Max. During this tour, the class visited ancient places such as Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle. The Avebury Stone Circle is located in the town of Avebury in England. This stone circle is connected to Stonehenge by an ancient road or route that is about 17 miles long between the two sites. The surrounding area is has a high concentration of chalk which has not helped the scientific dating because chalk does not preserve pollen which is used to easily tell what plants lived in the area at that time. The scientists thus turned to snail shells as they are incredibly diverse and many varieties exist according to their environment. Through this process scientists have learned that in the Avebury area a giant oak forest once stood. The site at Avebury is by far the largest in size for that period in England with the next closest being a quarter of the size. The henge seen at Avebury that can be seen today started construction in roughly 3000BC and was added to periodically until 2400BC. It is expected that prior to the placing of the stones in Avebury and other henge sites that there were once wooden poles set which served the same unknown purpose as the stones. The purpose of these stones are unknown although one can surmise that they had a religious purpose and that it had to do with the sun, moon, and stars. At the site, there is a rock that has a natural outcropping which is called the devil’s seat as bad luck has been said to befall people who sat in the “seat”. Long after other people came to the area such as the Romans who left the stones intact. It was not until the late medieval period that people saw a problem with the stones. England at this point had converted to Christianity and they saw the stones as a symbol of the devil hence one stone being called the devil’s seat. They began pulling the stones down, but this was stopped by the death of a barber-surgeon who was crushed by a stone as it fell. The locals may have believed that these stone could feel or were somehow alive and thus to pull them down they needed someone with medical training. Avebury remained generally unknown throughout time expect to the locals in recorded history. It was not until the 1695 that there was any significant mention of Avebury in any recorded and widely publicized works. It was included in the Britannia which is equivalent to the modern-day encyclopedia. The site came to be as it is today through the efforts of Alexander Keiller who bought the land and righted the fallen stones and mapped out the places where stones once lay.
On our first free day I went into London with Caleb, Carter, and Jake to see Buckingham Palace. I will sum up my experience and then look into some general information and history of the palace. We took the tube from the train ststion, exited at St. James park and were at the Palace after a short walk. It was suprizing my crowded given the weather. We eventually made it towards the front of the gate on the eas side and got a few pictures before heading over to the queen Victoria memorial.
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the center of state events and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen’s House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds. The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb during World War II; the Queen’s Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House. The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring.
Just a notice to our readers that the class is in London and was not impacted by last night’s attack in Manchester. We are all well, a bit tired, but well.
As of today we have been here for almost four weeks and it has been quite the experience. I have learned so much about the rich history of Great Britain and I have found much of it to be much more interesting then I first inquired. I am fascinated in the hatred that many people out side of England have for the English. Even when going to the pub you will find that many of the locals in Scotland and Wales don’t like the English. Many of the ones that I have talked to have explained that it is a respect thing and they have never really had the respect they deserve from the English. The worst thing that you could do is call someone from Scotland English! They hate it and that goes the same for the welsh. I was under the understanding that both of these countries were over the mistakes that were made in the olden days, but as I have travelled through I have found that they are still kind salty. Also with everything going on politically in this country I think many of the people that hold a grudge for their ancestors are coming out of the woodwork. I am really glad that we got to meet the Scottish and Welsh before the English to get a real interaction from these people. Even with all the hatred I believe that no matter what these counties will always have each others back and I truly believe that they talk bad, but it is more of a rivalry rather then a pure hatred.