Posts Tagged ‘England’

Sherwood Forest and Nottingham

Saturday, June 12th, 2010


When I looked at a map of England as a student, I saw the city of Nottingham. I asked a British friend if this was the same Nottingham from Robin Hood, and he said yes. I was determined to go, especially when I saw that there was a real Sherwood Forest nearby.


Sherwood Forest was not much of a forest. Of course, both times I went, it was early springtime, and the leaves hadn’t come out yet. A statue of Robin Hood fighting Little John can be seen at the entrance to the forest. As I walked along the path, I saw a large oak tree that was over 800 years old. A fence blocked it off so that people wouldn’t carve on it, and it had wooden scaffolding to hold up the heavy branches.


The town of Nottingham was similar to any other town in England, with a plain-looking, boxy, rectangular castle. It was more like a fort, and it had no turrets. Down the road from the castle was a tourist trap called “Robin Hood Centre,” where the story of Robin Hood is told Disney style, but without the ride. You walk through an indoor path with different scenes displayed on either side of you. I enjoyed it, only because I love the stories of Robin Hood.




Tintagel and King Arthur

Friday, June 11th, 2010


In a land of cliffs and turquoise waters, at the edge of a land called England, there once lived a king, a magnificent king who had a round table. That king’s name was King Arthur…

tintagel-gateFor anyone who loves the medieval time period, or for anyone who loves literature, I would recommend visiting Tintagel in the southwestern part of England. Yes, I know King Arthur was just a legend, but many legends are based on fact and exaggerated over time, so King Arthur could have actually existed.

Even though this castle is a complete ruin with no real walls, the legend that King Arthur lived there makes it magical. At least one doorway still stands, but mostly you will see something that resembles a floor plan of a castle, barely in 3D because most of the walls are a foot or two high.

Green, grassy cliffs hang over the turquoise waters of the ocean. The waves crash against the black rocks, and caves run along the ocean shore. In the town of Tintagel, you can go to a museum where the legend of King Arthur comes to life. Of course, all the items are based on the books, so they are not reality. But for the literature lover, Tintagel is a fun place to visit.


The Lake District

Thursday, June 10th, 2010


Wordsworth, Coleridge, and many other famous poets lived in the Lake District in the center of England. The grassy mountains have a specific shape to them – they are mostly rounded with a few jagged edges. They are very calming to look at. Beautiful yellow daffodils grow in the wild around the lakes in the spring. No wonder the great British poets were inspired in this location!


Wordsworth’s cottage is available for tours. Fragrant pink roses crawl up the sides of his white house. Period furniture is arranged how it would have looked when Wordsworth lived there in the early 1800’s. The view from his bedroom window was spectacular, and his desk faced the view. So many of Wordsworth’s poems describe the Lake District, and now I could see what he was talking about with my own eyes.


Hiking is a fun activity around the mountains and lakes. You can follow set trails, and you can know ahead of time how far each one is, and how difficult. One time a group of four of us got stranded way up on the hills far away from any town. We missed the last bus, and we had to call a taxi to come get us and take us to the nearest town. We split the bill among the four of us, so it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be. You really need to pay attention to the timetables of the public transportation, if that’s how you plan to get around. However, the views from the tops of those mountains and hills far from civilization were absolutely breathtaking and worth every penny of the taxi ride!


Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

LondonThe first time I visited London, I was mesmerized by Big Ben. Yes, I know Big Ben is a bell, but people normally refer to Big Ben as the famous clock tower. As it glimmered, it looked like pure gold. It was attached to the Houses of Parliament, and if you wait in a long line, you can go in and hear very dull conversation carried on by men wearing powdered wigs. (Can you believe it?)

St. Paul’s Cathedral is majestic and domed. Beautiful stained glass windows adorn the inside, and you can climb the stairs to the top to look out over the city. The whispering galleries are a bit creepy, since your friend can whisper to you along the dome, and you can hear the person clear across the room. Westminster Abbey is another cathedLondon-2ral that is stunningly beautiful, with biblical scenes depicted in the stained glass. Famous poets are buried in the Westminster Abbey crypt.

In front of Buckingham Palace (with gold and black gates) you will occasionally see the changing of the guard. This is a magnificent marching of tin soldiers, except they are real. The guards wear red jackets, and on their heads they wear tall black hats that sometimes have mops attached to them. Supposedly the guards aren’t allowed to laugh, and they keep a somber expression in all their grandeur.

The British MLondon-3useum houses the best collections of national treasures from all over the world. When the sun never set on the British empire, the British government paid many countries huge sums of money for their original treasures that were thousands of years old. It will take you a full day to see it all if you walk quickly. Otherwise you will have to skip most of it and choose your favorite time periods and countries, and spend more time on those.

You will not want to drive a car in London. There is nowhere to park, and the streets wind round and round. Besides, the Underground (the subway system) is so efficient and fun to ride. (“Mind theLondon-4 gap” means to pay attention not to fall between the platform and the train.) You will get to your destination much faster, since you only have to wait about two minutes between trains. Also, don’t forget to ride on a red double-decker bus. You feel really tall as you go around the city.

I could mention so many more sights in London. Tower Bridge is a gorgeous bridge that opens up to let ships pass. You can go inside to see how it works. The Tower of London is a castle where the crown jewels are kept. Kew Gardens are absolutely beautiful; if you love plants and it’s the summertime, you can’t miss that. So many literary connections are in London; if you go to Baker Street, you can seLondon-5e the Sherlock Holmes museum. Many portrait galleries house famous paintings from all over the world, the originals from the most famous painters of all time. There is just so much in London that I’m glad I spent two years living there. I still didn’t see everything, though!