The 2.5 Week Adventure Begins!

On Wednesday, I said a “see you later” to Harlaxton manor and my friends following my final British Studies exam.

Alexa, my roommate, and I had a mini photo shoot before I hopped on the shuttle to head to Stansted airport to kick-off my 2.5 adventure to Denmark, Italy, and Slovenia!

Roomie pic: me and Alexa

For my journey to London, I opted to take a train and then a bus to Stansted instead of taking the train all the way to the airport. Now, upon arriving to King’s Cross, I took the tube to London Liverpool Street to catch my bus. I had never been to this station before and I had 15 minutes to find the bus stop. As the minutes pass by, I start to panic as I cannot find where the buses drop-off and pick-up. Finally, I find the bus area only to find out the entire area is under renovation. I decide to go out front to the street side and ask a city worker where to find the bus. He kindly gives me directions and I start SPRINTING because I have less than 10 minutes to catch my bus. I arrive just in time, albeit out of breath, and find out the 4:00 pm bus has been canceled. WHAT?! The bus ride to Stansted is roughly 1.5 hours and waiting for the 4:30 pm bus puts me arriving at the airport around 6:00 pm IF traffic is not crazy. My flight to Denmark, my destination, is at 7:30 pm so arriving 1.5 hours to the airport is a bit too close for my comfort. I decide to book a train ticket to the airport to be on the safe side.

After I arrive to Stansted, I pass through some security and grab some sushi for dinner. Yum! Not long after, my gate is assigned so I make my way to where I need to be and I find out my flight is delayed by 30 minutes. Sigh. Finally, passengers are told to make their way to the priority and non-priority lines.

While standing in line, the associate for RyanAir pulls me out of line for my bag size. I will admit my Cotopaxi backpack does not comply with Europe’s budget air backpack regulations. HOWEVER, the bag fits under the seat. As I politely explained this to the associate, she tells me that does not matter and I must pay the 20 pounds to put my bag in the plane’s hold. I pull out my credit card and insert it to pay. My card is declined. I ask the associate to try again. My card is declined a SECOND time. I go to my wallet and pull out 20 pounds cash and the associate informs me they do not accept cash and asks if I have another card. I respond with ‘no.’ Internally, I am panicking again. Are they not going to let me onto my flight? She sternly tells me for this one time only I can take my bag for free, but I need to put it into the hold. THANK GOODNESS! At this point, I cannot wait to get onto the plane. Being the rebel I am, once my boarding pass is scanned and I pass out of sight of the RyanAir counter, I rip off the tag and take my backpack onto the plane. No hold for this girl’s bag! My seat neighbor asked me how I managed to get my credit card not to work and get my bag on and I had no response for him. Pure luck?

Finally, my flight landed in Billund, Denmark. There, Louise (my aunt’s exchange student from 2003) picked me up from the airport and we headed to her house where I promptly went to sleep.

My family with Louise July 2015 during her last visit to the United States

Eventful and memorable!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

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Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey: An Easter Day Trip

Are there any Downton Abbey fans out there reading this post?

I watched Downton Abbey a couple of years ago after my mom highly recommended watching the series. After the first episode, I was hooked and promptly binge watched all six seasons in 2.5 weeks. Mind you, each episode is around an hour long…how embarrassing!

Prior to coming to Harlaxton, I had “visit Downton Abbey” on my bucket list. However, I did not entirely think I would get to the famous estate purely because getting to Highclere Castle is REALLY expensive! The tickets themselves are very reasonable, but the taxi ride to and from the train station is 15 pounds on a weekday and 25 pounds on a Sunday/holiday. For me to go by myself, I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money. Factor in too that Highclere is only opened to the public at limited times during the year – the Earl and Lady of Carnarvon call Highclere Home – and I didn’t think a visit would happen. However, I discussed wanting to visit Highclere Castle with another student named Marissa during the Wales trip back in February. Before I knew it, Marissa had talked with Caroline, another Harlaxton student, and we promptly booked the trip. A few weeks ago, Marissa and I were discussing going to Highclere on Easter and another student, Elizabeth, asked to come along too. In total, four of us made the trip to Newbury on Easter Sunday.

On Sunday, Marissa, Caroline, and I hopped into our streetcar to head to the train station. Elizabeth accidentally overslept, so she arrived in a separate streetcar right as our train to London pulled into the Grantham train station. The poor girl was flustered, out of breath, and dehydrated, but everyone, SHE MADE IT!

Once we arrived to London, we took the tube to Paddington and then switched to another train that took us to Newbury. Around 12:30 pm, our group of four made it to the train station where our pre-booked taxi was waiting for us.

After doing some research, I had Marissa book our cab round-trip with this company because they had set fares to Highclere Castle. Websites I had read highly suggested booking a taxi in advance and round-trip to Downton Abbey to ensure availability.

Malcolm, our taxi driver, took the four of us to Highclere. During the 15-minute drive, he elaborated on Newbury’s history and the castle’s history. So kind!

Upon our arrival, we were met with Easter festivities at Highclere Castle. There was a petting zoo, games, live music, and lots of kids completing a map for an Easter egg hunt! I found myself completely in awe and filled with so much happiness of seeing this GORGEOUS castle in person.

Highclere Castle from the backside

After walking around for a bit and enjoying the festivities, our group made our way into Highclere for our self-guided tour. The four of us discussed how we could see the similarities architecturally to Harlaxton, as both the manor and Highclere had the same architect! Inside the castle, each room had a laminated informational sheet discussing the history and artifacts in the space. I also enjoyed seeing the huge canvas prints of filming that took place in each room that were on display. For me, this helped job my memory of particular scenes and provided context for how the whole series was filmed. Pictures were prohibited, but Elizabeth came in clutch and took some sneaky photos!

All in all, our self-guided tour took around an hour. When we finished, we took a lunch break and then went and explored the gardens. During the walk, Marissa, Carolina, Elizabeth, and I reflected on our semester at Harlaxton discussing the ways in which we had changed and the new friendships we had formed.

After we finished our walk, the four of us popped into the gift shop and then found a nice spot on the lawn to sit and chat. As the afternoon passed by, the crowds started to clear out.

At 4:45 pm, we hopped back into Malcolm’s taxi to head back to the train station.

A lovely last English adventure for the end of the semester. I am so glad I had a great group of gals to share this experience with on Easter.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

London, England: Days 1, 2, & 3

Hello and happy Monday!

Last weekend, I FINALLY went and explored London!

For my British Studies course, all Harlaxton students had to go to London for another mandatory field trip. Since the field trip would occur on a Friday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to see the capital of England.

After I finished my last class of the day on Thursday, I boarded the 3:10 pm shuttle and headed to London via train. I checked into my hostel and hung out there for the duration of the evening.

On Friday, I woke up bright and early and took the tube into the city. From there, I hopped off at stop and decided to walk to Tate Modern (the modern art museum). As it was 9:00 am, nothing in London was open so I took my time traversing the streets and alleyways and taking in the calm of the city in the morning.

By the time I finished my exploring, the time was almost 10:00 am, so I headed into Tate Modern to look at the modern pieces on display. The most intriguing pieces for me were those that dealt with human rights and immigration.

Around 11:00 am, I met up with other Harlaxton students at the National Gallery. There, we looked at some paintings our British Studies classes had studied during our seminars. Then, my group popped over to the National Portrait Gallery where we once again saw some paintings our class had discussed.

After the art museums, my group made our way to St. Paul’s Cathedral. There, we broke into groups with different professors who took us inside and explained the history of the church. St. Paul’s is meant to rival St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church is similarly structured with a large dome, paintings within the dome, and gold decorations. Pictures, unfortunately, were not permitted, but I managed to sneak a few.

Once the tour ended, I headed back over to Tate Modern to look at a different exhibit I previously did not have time for earlier in the day. My friend, Maria, met up with me and eventually we made our way to Borough Market where we grabbed some Ethiopian food for dinner! The food reminded me a lot of the Eritrean food I ate in Switzerland with Estelle.

Ethiopian food from Borough Market

After dinner, Maria and I parted ways: she to our hostel and myself to a show! A Harlaxton staff member sold a theater ticket last minute. I impulsively purchased the ticket and went and saw “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.” The show is based on a true story about a gay, high schooler named Jamie from Sheffield, England. Jamie aspires to be a drag queen, but finds himself battling against bullies at school and parental relationships at home. The show was fantastic!

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Once the show wrapped up, I took the tube back to my hostel.

On Saturday, Maria and I grabbed breakfast, made some sandwiches, and headed into London to explore and visit some museums! We stopped outside Big Ben (hiding under scaffolding), the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Cenotaph, and Trafalgar Square before heading to the British Museum.

Upon arrival at the British Museum, Maria and I had to pass through security. The gentleman checking my backpack asked me where I was from. I responded with the United States. To my surprise, he told me I looked Italian. I replied with I had been told my face looked French this semester by someone else. To him, French and Italian are very similar. “I would have never guessed you were from the United States. You do not look anything like your president.” Thank you sir for that compliment and laugh!

At the British Museum, Maria and I went into a few different exhibits. This particular museum primarily focuses on ancient history such as Egypt and Greece, which does not coincide with my interests. However, I enjoyed seeing the Rosetta Stone in person!

After the British Museum, Maria and I hopped on the tube to head to the Portobello Market. This particular market had an array of antiques and food. When we had peered at all of the stalls, Maria and I got back on the tube to head to Paddington to walk to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. Of course, little Paddington bears could be found throughout the area. I hope to go back to Paddington to explore a bit more!

Finally, Maria and I arrived to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. There, we took a brief break on a bench and enjoyed the sunshine.

After our pit stop, Maria and I went in search of ice cream for our dinner. We popped into the famous department store, Harrod’s, and admired the expensive goods. Then, we made our way to a local ice cream shop in SoHo called Udderdelicious.

After our healthy dinner of ice cream, Maria and I both got back on the tube to head back to our hostel.

A wonderful weekend exploring London! I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Lake District: Days 2 & 3

Saturday:

When I signed up for the Lake District trip, I had the option to also pay for a day excursion. The guided tour involved kayaking on Lake Windermere and ghyll scrambling. I love to kayak and thought the gyhll scrambling (rappelling down waterfalls) would be two one-in-a-lifetime experiences so I signed up!

Fast forward to Saturday: the weather outside is dismal. The temperature is maybe 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Along with the chilly air, rain is pouring from the sky and the wind is blowing like a banshee. Lake Windermere has whitecaps, which our guides told us means the wind is blowing at a minimum of 25 mph. As a result of the stormy conditions, our guides inform us that we cannot ghyll scramble. However, we will still go kayaking and will do an alternate activity in the afternoon.

I am an absolute wimp when it comes to cold weather, but I suited up in a wet suit, helmet, jacket, and life vest to kayak. In my whole getup, I felt warm and confident like superwoman. Our group of 20 headed outside. Some students decided to do a double-kayak, but I opted for a single. With the rain pelting my face, I paddled against the wind on Lake Windermere. I cannot imagine how ridiculous our whole group looked fighting against the wind and rain while kayaking.

Throughout the whole kayaking adventure, I laughed and shook my head at how absurd the whole experience happened to be. Who intentionally decides to kayak on a lake that has whitecaps with rain pelting your face?!

After kayaking, we took a 1.5 hour break for lunch and to warm up and change before setting out to explore some nearby caves.

At the caves, we hiked a little bit before we went into a cave where slate used to be mined. Everyone had free time to take photos and explore the area. The view was stunning despite the rain!

Once we finished at the caves, our group headed back to the hostel. I met up with Maria and the two of us walked to the fish and chip shop for dinner. With full bellies, Maria and I went back to the hostel and played cards with friends to top off the evening.

Sunday:

My last morning at Lake District National Park involved a hearty breakfast and taking some photos. Of course, the weather happened to be sunshine and blue skies. The ideal weather for kayaking and ghyll scrambling.

After photos, I settled in for the 4-hour bus ride back to Harlaxton.

I would go back to Lake District National Park in a heartbeat. However, I would go either in April/May or fall when the weather would be warmer and less crazy.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Lake District: Day 1

Hello there! It’s been a while!

I decided to take a break from blogging since I hadn’t traveled anywhere the weekend following my trip to Hungary.

With that being said, I am back and here to recap my most recent weekend trip to the Lake District in England!

The Lake District trip was highly recommended to me by other Harlaxton alumni. Because the area is slightly difficult to get to on your own, going with the school is easier if the Lake District is an area you would like to see. I absolutely love to hike, so I signed up for the trip.

Besides being known for its outdoor beauty, many famous English authors and artists are from the Lake District. For this reason, there are museums and monuments dedicated to some like Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth.

On Thursday evening, I boarded a coach along with other Harlaxton students to make the four hour drive to Lake District National Park. We arrived to our YHA Hostel in Ambleside around 10:00 pm and I promptly headed to bed so I would be well-rested for my free day on Friday.

When I woke up Friday morning, my friend Maria and I grabbed breakfast before heading out to explore the area. We did not really have a plan for the day, but knew we wanted to do some hiking and exploring the quaint English towns.

Maria and I set off walking towards the town, Windermere. Along the way, we stopped and saw some sheep and admired the gorgeous view of Lake Windermere.

After seeing the sheep, the English weather took a turn for the worse and it began to rain. At this point, Maria and I decided to find the nearest Visitors Center so we could not only get recommendations on what to do/see in the area. Most importantly, though, we wanted to get some assistance on how to navigate the bus system to maximize our day.

The nearest Visitors Center happened to be a short walk away in Brookdale. When Maria and I arrived, the center was closed so we walked the grounds to buy some time. Finally, the Visitors Center opened and Maria and I were able to figure out the bus system and get recommendations from a local on what to do/see in the area.

Maria and I hopped on the next available bus and made our way to Windermere. There, we did our first hike to the Orrest Head viewpoint. The short 30-minute hike came highly recommended by the lady who worked at the Visitors Center.

As we hiked, the English weather continued to be its normal 4-seasons in a day self. At one point, Maria and I were being pelted with ice. All we could do was laugh and take shelter among the trees.

Finally, Maria and made it to the top of Orrest Head. The view was absolutely stunning! However, the wind happened to be crazy strong. I did not think wind speed could top the Cliffs of Moher, but boy was I wrong! I squatted at some points to make sure I did not blow away.

After freezing our butts off and nearly falling down from the wind, Maria and I made our way back down and decided to explore the quaint town of Windermere for a while. We popped in some local shops to have a look around before stopping at a cafe to warm up with a coffee.

Cappuccino time!

Once we warmed up, Maria and I headed back to the bus station to take the 555 bus to Grassmere. This town is home of the famous Grassmere Gingerbread and where poet William Wordsworth is buried. We walked on a little path that took us to William Wordsworth’s graves and provided beautiful views of the Lakes District.

Maria and I walked through Grassmere exploring the local shops before deciding to walk again towards a hiking path I had saw that went along the river. She and I hiked through the woods for a while. The silence of the woods provided so much peace. I kept looking around just soaking in the beauty and green of everything. Maria and I followed signs to dictate our direction. We went wherever the sign pointed to Ambleside because that was going to be our final destination of the evening.

Eventually, our legs tired and the path ended. Maria and I made our way to the bus stop where we hopped on to head to Ambleside.

Since it was still pretty early for dinner, we decided to explore the little town. Maria and I spent some time in local stores looking at art and scoped out dinner: Thai food.

Thai green curry. Yum!

That ends my first day in Lake District National Park! Stop by tomorrow to read about day two!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Travel Day: Grantham, England to London, England

Happy Monday friends!

Today I am recapping my travel day to the airport and what I did and saw while in London for a brief few hours.

Last Wednesday after British Studies concluded for the day, I caught the 1:10 pm shuttle into town to the train station. I overestimated how long the shuttle would take arriving at the train station so I ended up sitting for a solid 45 minutes. However, we all know I nearly missed my connecting train in Edinburgh, so having excess time is a good thing!

Once my train arrived at London King’s Cross, I looked at my handy CityMaps2Go app to see what attractions were nearby. I ended up walking to the British Library to find out my bag was probably too big to enter (you had to pass through security.) I opted instead to walk to the Camden Town Markets, which was roughly a mile. A few people at Harlaxton had been raving about these markets so I went to check them out myself. Looking back, I should have hopped on the tube probably to maximize my time, especially with my large backpack. Alas, the walk was refreshing!

The Camden Town Markets were not at all what I expected. In my mind, I thought the markets would be artisanal items made by locals. However, I quickly found out this was not the case. Instead, there were cheap souvenir stalls, restaurants, and really cool street art!

The whole experience I found to be overwhelming, but overall really cool to see in person. I am not sure I would go back when I return to London, but am happy to have ventured to this part of the city nonetheless.

After spending an hour in Camden Town, I headed to the nearest tube station to head to where I was meeting my friend, Kendall. With the help of the CityMapper map, I easily found which tube line to take to get where I needed to be.

Kendall and I managed to find one another and she led the way to where we would be eating dinner. Instead of heading straight to eat, we opted to explore the surrounding area for a bit, which had cute shops and restaurants. Eventually, we walked back to the restaurant and ate some delicious Vietnamese food.

After dinner, Kendall and I went in search of a pub for a drink. We found a pub close to a tube station and enjoyed a drink with one another. The pub had a great atmosphere and decor. Who doesn’t love taxidermied birds and British bunting flags hanging over their head?

Around 8:00 pm, Kendall and I parted ways at the tube station. I managed to make my way to my next train without any mishaps. Since my train did not leave until 9:00 pm, I killed some time by walking around the train station. Eventually, I boarded my train and made it to the airport.

Like my flight over to Heathrow, I was unable to go through security. As a result, I found a cozy and quiet bench and curled up to catch some sleep for the night.

See you back here tomorrow! I promise day one in Geneva, Switzerland, will be more exciting than today’s travel day post.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Day Trip: Lincoln, England

Last Friday, all Harlaxton students had to attend a field trip for our British Studies class to Lincoln, England. Traveling to this English city helped bring the material we were learning in class (Roman influence, castles, and conquest, etc.) to life. I had pretty low expectations for Lincoln and they were easily surpassed!

After arriving in Lincoln, we split off into groups the school had placed us into for the day. I had free time to start off with so I wandered around the city and into some of the local shops that were open. When I walked down to the canal? River? I found myself walking down the “Steep Hill” in Lincoln. Throughout the day, I went up and down the hill a few times. The “hill” is so steep that there is a railing along the sidewalk to help you up and down.

Once my free time commenced, I headed to the Lincoln Castle which was fantastic! If you find yourself in England, do a day trip to Lincoln and purchase the combined pass for the castle and Lincoln Cathedral! Neither will disappoint!

Now, the castle was used for a castle AND as a prison! The prison happened to be the first part I walked through. I had the opportunity to see where inmates attended church, see their cells ( the men’s quarters and the women’s quarters), and listen to some of the harrowing stories of life in prison for the incarcerated.

At the castle too near the prison, one of the original Magna Cartas is typically on display. However, Magna Carta happened to be traveling/restored while we were there.

Once I wrapped up in the prison and Magna Carta exhibitions, I went and did the castle walk. This offered beautiful views of the city as well as information on where prisoners were hung. The walk also went through the prison’s graveyard and provided a view of the area where inmates exercised.

I would have loved more time at the castle an hour simply was not enough to read and process the information. Luckily for me, I will get to return to Lincoln in May for a different class! If you were to visit, I would budget at least two hours for the castle.

After the castle tour, I had a little bit of free time to eat lunch. I managed to multitask and went to the free art museum to have a look. Like the castle, I wished I would have had more time to appreciate what I was observing.

Once lunch concluded, my group went to the Lincoln Cathedral. We learned how the church was constructed and its gothic architecture. In person, it is difficult to fathom how such a grand building managed to be built during the time period. An hour, once again, was not enough time to take in everything I saw with my two eyes. Absolutely stunning!

After the cathedral, my group went on a walking tour around Lincoln learning about other Roman influence in the city. We saw remnants of a wall that was used to keep out outsiders and the only Roman arch left that is used for its original purpose of letting in people to the city.

Our walking tour wrapped up at Lincoln Cathedral where we learned about the flying buttresses, Alfred Lloyd Tennyson (native of Lincoln), and some of the exterior areas of the church. It was at this time that it began to snow like crazy!

With the snow coming down, our final tour of the day ended. Everyone had more free time until bus pickup at 5:00 pm. I walked with some friends into some more shops and traversed the streets of Lincoln.

I cannot wait to return to Lincoln in May! If you find yourself in England, budget a day trip to this historical city. I promise you will not be disappointed!

See you here next Monday! I am off to London this afternoon and flying to Switzerland tomorrow morning bright and early!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Day Trip: Sheffield, England

Following my day trip to Cambridge, I had the opportunity to go on a local culture trip on Sunday sponsored by the school.

Roughly once a week, a sign-up sheet goes up at Harlaxton and interested students can put their names down for these “free trips.” My trip to Stamford a few weeks back was another culture trip I participated in during my first week at the manor.

Since I enjoyed Stamford so much, I decided sign-up for Sheffield too. Though not all of the culture trips may not be “fun” or “exciting” per se, they allow for more exploration of England that I may not otherwise see during a normal weekend.

After I signed up for Sheffield, though, I somewhat regretted my decision because I did not take into account stores, shops, and museums being closed on a Sunday. Nonetheless, I ended up going because I would have just hung back at the manor with nothing but homework and my absence would result in the loss of a house point.

Upon arrival in Sheffield, my friend Tessa and I headed to the winter gardens. The gardens were quite small, but the area still was beautiful (and free!)

Connected to the Sheffield Winter Gardens happened to be a museum about Sheffield. After the museum opened, Tessa and I headed inside to see what exhibits were on display.

Sheffield itself is an industrial city and its involvement with steel is what put the city on the map. One of the museum exhibits explained Sheffield’s evolution in the steel industry and had many steel products on display. A unique item that Tessa and I found was a soup tureen in the shape of a sea turtle. As a tribute to the steel industry, this neat sculpture was outside the exhibit.

A tribute to the steel industry

Tessa and I then went into another exhibit which included native plants to the region, She and I were both amazed at how detailed some of the plant drawings were to the observed plants.

After the museum, Tessa and I ventured out to walk around the city of Sheffield. Since the city has industrial roots, the buildings were pretty modern with some historical buildings interspersed.

A little bit of both old and new

At this point, the wind left Tessa and I feeling chilly so we ventured to a church that I had found on the map. The church did not disappoint! We ate some of our lunch in the church and took the view in around us. Like the city itself, the church seemed both old and new at the same time. The church itself at lots of little alcoves and mini chapels inside.

Once we had our fill of the cathedral, Tessa and I headed to a different part of town to explore. We saw city hall, a statue commemorating the women who worked in the steel industry, and a flag pole honoring the fallen.

Eventually, Tessa and I found ourselves cold again. With nothing else really open in the town museum-wise, we went to a local cafe to have a warm drink. Then, we headed back to the museum where we started of our day until it was time to leave.

Overall, I am glad to have had the opportunity to see Sheffield, England. Would I go back? Probably not. Like Cambridge, I think Sheffield is a great day trip (on any day but Sunday) to go and explore.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Day Trip: Cambridge, England

With having Friday makeup classes, I decided to save some money and go on the day trip the school offered to Cambridge on Saturday.

We left on the bus at 9:00 am and headed to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. To be quite honest, I did not even know there was a cemetery near Cambridge, let alone one for American soldiers who perished overseas during World War II.

Upon our arrival, we had the freedom to walk around the premises before going on a guided tour led by one of the cemetery employees. I almost opted to go through the museum and wander around the site at my own pace. In the end, I decided to go with the group and guide and I am glad I did. The woman who led us around the cemetery explained how the cemetery came to fruition, the significance behind the flag pole/church/statues/wall of the missing, and told us some of the soldiers’ stories. In total, there are around 3,800 graves with 24 of those being unknown. There is one Medal of Honor recipient buried at the cemetery too. Our guide also told us that the gravestones are cleaned three times per week, which you could clearly tell up close because the marble sparkled.

I wish we would have had more time at the cemetery because when the tour wrapped up, there was not enough time to go through the museum.

Around 11:00 am, the bus dropped our group off and we went on our merry way to explore Cambridge.

Now, please note that Cambridge itself is split up into different colleges that collectively make up Cambridge University. Additionally, if you want to “tour” any of the colleges, you have to pay an entrance fee (boooo). However, there are museums in the city itself that are run by the universities and entry is free.

First stop, the mathematical bridge. Originally, I did not think I would be able to see this bridge because it is located on university property. However, the bridge we crossed into town happened to have a perfect view of this famous bridge. Score!

The Mathematical Bridge

After seeing the bridge, my friend Kirby and I headed to one of the nearby Cambridge museums. The one we entered had art mostly, but we went inside to view the Egyptian exhibit. On display were sarcophagi and ancient artifacts.

Once we finished perusing the exhibit, we made our way to the Cambridge markets. There were cute local shops along the way Kirby and I stopped in to have a look around. When we arrived at the market, she and I decided to walk up and down all the aisles to look at the wares and the food being cooked. I purchased a scarf and let me say it was the best 6 pounds I have ever spent.

Kirby and I then made our way to purchase tickets to enter King’s College Chapel. This church is viewed as a “Gothic architectural marvel.” Student tickets were 6 pounds and by buying a ticket, you then have the ability to see a bit of the college grounds as well as the interior of the church.

I cannot even begin to describe to you how beautiful the inside of King’s College Chapel is and like anything, pictures do not do the church justice. Inside the church, there is a museum of sorts which explains how the church was built and which kings ordered what areas to be constructed. The church took so long to build that the stained glass styles differ from window to window depending on the time period of construction. I would not have noticed this had I not gone through the museum.

After spending an hour inside the church, Kirby and I went outside and walked the grounds. We had the opportunity to see the infamous Cambridge punting boats in action. For around 20 pounds, you can rent one with a guide and see the backs of all of the college campuses. If you are feeling adventurous, you can rent your own for a bit less money and see the views for yourself.

The back of King’s College. You can kind of see some of the punting boats in action.

Kirby and I really did not have anything else pressing that we wanted to see or do in Cambridge so we continued to wander through shops, an artsty market, and whatever else intrigued us.

Now, an honest review of Cambridge…I would not go back. I felt that the city had nice architecture, shops, and museums. Towards the end of the day, though, Kirby and I were struggling to find things to see and do. In preparation for the trip, I had even looked online to mark attractions on the CityMaps2Go app, so I did not go unprepared. The fact that you also have to pay to see the different universities is silly, but I do recognize that a lot of money is needed to maintain the campuses. Would I recommend Cambridge? No. I think there are other cities in England with more to offer (stay tuned for Lincoln later this week!) However, I highly recommend visiting the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial! I felt the guides there truly loved their job and the site was worthwhile to see and visit. If you wanted to go and see the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, you may as well head into Cambridge. In my opinion, one day is plenty long to see what you would like to see.

See you Tuesday for a recap of Sheffield, England!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Culture Trip: Stamford, England

Nearly every week on a Wednesday afternoon, students have the opportunity to sign up for free culture trips. The school provides transport to nearby English towns/cities and students have the opportunity to wander around.

Last Wednesday, the culture trip was to Stamford, England. Stamford is about a 30-minute drive from Harlaxton and I believe to be your quintessential English town. As you will see, there are cobblestone streets, historic buildings, parks, and overall has a quaint atmosphere. At 1 o’clock, I boarded a charter bus bound for Stamford along with the majority of other Harlaxton students and some of the professors.

Upon arrival to Stanford, I had planned to wander around the city by myself. However, my friend Irene asked to tag along with me so we ended up exploring the streets of Stamford together.

Our first stop happened to be a church (no surprise!) The inside had some beautiful stained glass and old gravestones outside.

After finishing up at the church, Irene and I randomly decided to go down different streets in Stamford. We stumbled across more churches, cute local shops, two hospitals, and a red telephone booth that contained a portable AED instead of a telephone.

Though the weather happened to be stereotypical dreary, English weather, Irene and I made the most of our time in Stamford. We had hoped to be able to see the outside of the Burghley House which is nearby, but there simply was not enough time to walked to the Elizabethan manor located outside of town. Even if we would have made it to the house, we would not have been able to see the interior as the house is closed to tours this time of year.

Around 5 o’clock, we hopped back on the bus to head back to Harlaxton.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo