Remember when I spent 5 days on a coach in northern England? Oh wait, that was last week.
We began our journey bright and early Monday morning, and just in case you were wondering, I am the Queen of packing light. I fit 5 days worth of clothes, my toothbrush, and hairbrush in that little purple bag. Impressive, I know. But anyway, Monday. I slept most of the way to Chatsworth House. You can also call Chatsworth House Pemberly. I walked up the very same staircase Kiera Knightley did, and I walked through Mr. Darcy's sculpture gallery. Sadly, there was not a bust of Matthew Macfayden. When we finished our tour and walked outside it started to rain. Not a little bit of rain, a lot of rain. My boots were soaked, but the grounds were still very pretty. I wish I knew what it would look when the sun is out. Then we got back on the coach and I slept all the way to the Bronte Parsonage at Haworth. I saw the moors, and the little town Emily Bronte wrote about in Wuthering Heights. So, the next time you read that oh-so-romantic novel, remember that I have totally been there and walked through all of that fog. I don't think the sun ever shines in Haworth. It was back on the coach and off to York after that. I wasn't able to sleep on the coach ever again after those two short time periods. Not because I wasn't tired, but because our bus driver Tony is incapable of keeping his thoughts to himself. If you ask everyone at the center about Tony some will tell you that he is king of the garden eels, some will tell you he's just a nice guy that likes to talk, and I will tell you that his voice will literally make you nauseous. Tony fancies himself a tour guide, not just a coach driver, and he feels it necessary to inform you of everything that passes by your window. He also likes to tell stories about car accidents he's been in, his family history, and buildings he doesn't know anything about. Once my mom and Tutu told me about a time that they all drove to Caliante with my Nana and she read every sign on the side of the road, out loud. Like "Caliante 16 miles," and "Exit #4: Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, Shell gas station." Tony did that for 5 days. I get that he's good-hearted, I'm not a witch, I just wish he would have kept his ramblings to himself. Anyway, moving on to York. We got there around 7pm, checked into our hotel, and went to find some food. We ate at a place called Delrio's and it was delicious italian food. If you're ever in York, make sure you eat their margherita pizza and chocolate gelato. We were all exhausted, so we turned in early. We stayed at the Ibis hotel, and if you're ever in York, don't stay there.
The foggy moors.
Tuesday we walked along a medieval wall to York Minster, an enormous cathedral. But, we had a tour guide at this cathedral and it was great. Guided tours are the way to go, I learn so much more. Speaking of tours, we had a little old lady and her husband attach themselves to our tour group. They were sweet in the beginning, but slowly started to make enemies. The older lady asked Sarah Shepherd why she wasn't paying attention, and then she got angry at Audrey for not being interested enough. Poor Audrey always takes the fall, but it's because she's just tall and easiest to pick out of the crowd, and maybe because people can tell that I grew up in the hood and that I am really dangerous. We explored York for a little while and then hopped back on the coach to drive to Fountains Abbey. It was raining pretty hard at the dilapidated abbey, and people were slipping and sliding all over the place. We walked around the grounds, were attacked by 100 million gnats, saw the mill, and then drank hot chocolate in the cafe. I don't hate the rain anymore, but I'm still not used to the sticky humidity feeling. I am really grateful for cafes though. I have had some really good conversations with Emma and Audrey in cafes. After the very wet abbey we drove to our home for the night, Durham Castle. It's a castle full of dorm rooms, and I felt like I was living Harry Potter, it was a dream come true. But, weirdly enough the dorms in the castle smelled exactly like the dorms that I stayed in with Jade up at NAU during EFY. So, I woke up the next morning and felt like I was 14 again, weird. We had the chance to go to Evensong at a neighboring cathedral, and it was an enlightening experience. The little choir sang so well, but the entire time I listened to people recite the prayers, I couldn't help but be grateful for the personal relationship that I have with Heavenly Father. I get to pray whenever I need to, using my own words, without all of the ceremony. I hope I never take the knowledge I have for granted. After Evensong we ate at Nando's and then went to Tesco to find some snacks for the next day's journey. You will never believe what I found at Tesco. Crunchy Nut Nutty, the magic cereal! It was just staring at us from the shelf and it was, in fact, a Christmas miracle. Yes I bought two boxes, and yes I only have half a box left. It is the best cereal in the world. Also, did you know that they card you when you try to buy plastic knives? What on earth kind of damage can you do with a plastic knife? We went back to the castle and decided to watch P.S. I love you in preparation for our trip to Ireland. I don't know why, but I totally cried a couple of times. Every time there was a flashback I was just so sad! Maybe I just needed a good cry and the movie just provided an outlet. It was just ridiculous and I am never watching that movie again. After I embarrassed myself in front of Audrey and Brit, I hiked back up to my tower and went to bed.
We were looking at a pretty ceiling.
Fountains Abbey before we were attacked by a swarm of bugs.
My castle, again.
Wednesday I had breakfast in the great hall, it was fancy. Then I got back on the coach, tried to drone Tony out with my ipod, and drove to Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian's wall was built by Hadrian. He was a Roman and also a genius. Unfortunately for us, it was snowing. Yes, snow in the spring time. The hike up to the wall isn't normally that bad, but the ice and snow made it a little more difficult. It was also freezing and windy. I did get off the bus and make the hike though. I also didn't fall once, which is a Christmas miracle considering there is absolutely no traction on the bottom of my boots. Unfortunately, my boots got super wet and stayed wet for the rest of the day. Why didn't I pack my wellies? Next we had the chance to visit two Wordsworth properties, Dove Cottage and Grasmere. At the second house this miniature lady gave us an introduction. She was the tiniest person I have ever seen, had a sweet little voice that carried pretty far, and was so cheeky. All tour guides should be like her. After touring the very old houses we drove up to our hostel in the middle of the woods, or as Emma likes to call it, the YMCA. Yeah, I am not a fan of hostels. Audrey even got bit by a spider, that could have been me!
The hostel redeemed itself Thursday morning with chocolate croissants. Then I took a really pretty walk with my fellow classmates to Beatrix Potter's farm. Beatrix Potter wrote Peter Rabbit, and Mrs. Puddle Duck so it was really fun to see her garden, and her house. After the farm we got back on the coach and drove to Preston where we met up with our good friend Peter. Peter let us eat lunch, and then took us on a church history tour around Preston. We got to see the square where the first missionaries and President Hinckley taught, we saw plaques honoring missionaries, we saw the river where the first baptism in England happened. It was a really informational little walk. I always learn more from Peter than I do my religion class. The Preston Temple was next, and it was beautiful. The feeling at the Temple is such a contrast to the cathedrals that we've been able to visit. After the Temple we drove on to Liverpool and checked into our hotel. We ate dinner in this fantastic shopping center at GBK, grabbed some Ben and Jerry's, and watched A Walk to Remember back in the room. When did A Walk to Remember get so cheesy? Seriously Mandy Moore's acting is really, really bad.
Friday morning I woke up with crimped hair. Brit was nice enough to put my hair in french braids the night before because my hair was wet, and let's face it, my hair just wasn't long enough. I just looked like I was going to girls camp. I had more chocolate croissants for breakfast and then we met the group at a statue on Albert's Dock. It's a sculpture of an LDS family migrating to the United States, and it's really pretty. We spent the rest of our day at the Beatles Museum, the Slave Trade Museum, and the Titanic Exhibit before we took a taxi to the airport to fly to Dublin! Audrey, Emma, Brit, and I had the great idea to buy tickets to Ireland Sunday night, and so we just left Liverpool without getting back on that wretched coach. Ireland was so fun, but that's another post. All in all the North Country was very pretty, pretty wet, and full of garden eels.