Last week started off slow, but picked up on Wednesday when I went to see The 14th Tale at the National Theatre. This play was a one man show by Inua Ellams who narrated the story of his mischievous exploits during childhood, born in Nigeria and then moving to Dublin and finally arriving in London as a young boy. He captured the audience by combining comic dialogue with poetry and prose, which was quite impressive as the poetry rhymed without sounding out of place or being too difficult to understand. Although I enjoyed the show, I wasn’t wowed and I think Ellams has the potential to create something more memorable by addressing a bigger theme or sending a stronger message. He’s only 25 so he’s got plenty of time to reach stardom!
Thursday, I went to the Imperial War Museum for my Contemporary Britain class which was fantastic! Unfortunately, our visit was interrupted by a fire alarm and I didn’t even view half of the museum; therefore, I’m hoping to go back soon. The portions I did see were impressive, including the massive tanks and bombs, and the information was surprising and heart rendering. The Children’s War was very emotional, even with hyper kids running through the exhibition and shouting crazily! I don’t think a war museum is really suited for toddlers considering most cannot grasp the serious impacts of war and from what I observed, parents don’t attempt to inform their children of the significance. Aside from that, I learned so much myself and visited the Holocaust exhibition briefly before the museum closed, which was set up somewhat differently from the museum in D.C. Rather than hitting you right away with the emotional aspects, the exhibition begins with information leading up to the Holocaust and sort of eases into the horrific outcome. Afterward, I hurried back to my homestay (an hour from the museum via tube and walking) to get ready to go out for Katie’s 21st birthday. That was a fun night!
Friday I slept in and later went to a cinema to see Shutter Island. It was filled with twists and turns, and I was exhausted from trying to figure out what would happen next. In other words, I thought it was great!
Saturday we all left for our weekend trip to Bath which was highlighted by sunny, warm weather! Taking a bus there, we drove past Stonehenge which was cool, but not all that exciting to tell the truth. Some were more excited about the flock of lambs behind the site than the enormous rocks! We didn’t stop there due to lack of time and not wanting to spend the extra money, so our first stop was at the Longleat House. This mansion was completed in 1580, set within 900 acres of landscaped parkland and is now the home of the 7th Marquess of Bath. It was magnificent from the outside and even more exquisite inside, with all the high class furnishings and life-size portraits.
After touring the house, we got back on the bus and headed for Wells, the second smallest city in England. Despite its size, this city is a popular tourist attraction due to its Cathedral Church of St. Andrew. This medieval structure contains more than 500 figure sculptures on the west facade, which towers 100 feet high! And the inside is just as grand, with beautiful stained glass windows and arched ceilings. We perused a small market afterward and then hopped back on the bus, headed toward our final destination, Bath. It was late afternoon when we arrived, so we didn’t do any sight seeing but just got settled into our nice hotel and went out to an Italian restaurant for dinner.
In the morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and stuffed ourselves with everything from the buffet. It was definitely a full English breakfast! Then we went to another beautiful church, Bath Abbey, but I didn’t get to see the inside because services were being held in the morning and I wasn’t around during the short time it was open to visitors that afternoon.
After the architecture professor gave us a brief introduction on the Bath Abbey, we headed to the Roman baths which were very green and smelled like sulfur! But it was very interesting and I learned a lot from the audio guide while walking through the different bath houses. After that, we toured some more of Bath for about an hour and then were free to go wherever we wanted until we had to meet for the train back.
Both Katies and I decided to make a hike up one of the higher points in Bath so we could look out over the city. My calves were burning at the end, but it was definitely worth it. We even saw some palm trees in someone’s front yard! After heading back down, we walked around for a bit and I had gelato for the first time which was delicious. Creamy chocolate hazelnut, yum!
We were all exhausted when it was finally time to leave and the train was packed! Even though we had reserved seats, many passengers were already seated in them. Of course Sara took charge and told us to reclaim them so we all had seats in the end, but it was a long hour and a half journey to say the least.
And my plans for this weekend… Ireland!