Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bertolet and Team Take a Bath

Like every week so far this past week has been incredibly busy. In school alone I had a paper, a test, and had to read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I loved Pride and Prejudice. Call me what ever you want for enjoying a "girl book", but it is a good book. At first I thought I was going to hate the book because Mrs. Bennett and the little Bennett girls would never shut up, but once I realized that they were supposed to get on your nerves and they would make you like Elizabeth, Jane, the Gardiners, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Bingley all the more I understood why Austen made them so annoying. It was also pretty neat to be able to see where Jane Austen lived in Bath and see her tomb in Winchester Cathedral. It makes learning much more hands on and enjoyable.

This past weekend I did some serious traveling throughout England. On Friday, we went to Warwick to see Warwick Castle. Warwick Castle is incredible, but the lame Renaissance Festival going on inside the castle was not incredible. We knew we were in trouble when the signs outside of the castle were claiming that Warwick Castle was "the number one family attraction in England", and that it was possible to buy season passes. Season passes are great if you are going to Six Flags or White Water, but not that great for a castle built in 1068. There was a guy spitting fire, a extremely cheesy joust (think medieval times meets WCW wrestling), an exhibit showing the torture devices used in Warwick, and a falconry exhibit which made my want to chant War Eagle every time the bird landed on the arm of the trainer. That doesn't sound that bad, but think of that with about a thousand other people and the majority of those people are toddlers dressed up in knight outfits crying and waving plastic swords. It became old quickly. The one redeeming factor was the train ride. Warwick is Northwest of London, almost to Birmingham, and it was the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. I must have seen a billion sheep and cows.

The next day, on Saturday, we went by train to Salisbury and Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one of those things that I am glad I have done, but have no real desire to do again. It does boggle one's mind to think how people 5,000 years ago could move such massive rocks, especially from as far away as Wales, but all one can really do is look and take some pictures. We took some pictures and decided that it was indeed done by aliens then headed to the town of Salisbury. Salisbury sits on the Salisbury plain, it looks like the Midwest, so very flat. It was beautiful though. Nothing but green pastures, hedges, fields of gold flowers, streams, and sheep. Salisbury is a very neat old town, and the cathedral has the tallest church spire in Britain. Salisbury used to be very important and was the place where Magna Carta was signed. Magna Carta (the great charter in Latin) was a document signed in 1215 by King John of England and the barons. The Magna Carta basically said the king couldn't do anything he wanted and that he was not above the law. It also laid the groundwork for trail by jury and habeas corpus (an appeal against unlawful imprisonment). It is the founding document of democracy in the English speaking world. Inside the cathedral is one of four remaining copies and the best preserved at that. Pretty neat.

Saturday was my roommate and friend Ben's birthday, so that night we decided we were going to have a Euro Trash Bash. We went to a couple stores and bought some cheap European clothes: tight pants, bright and tight shirts, fake glasses, and hair gel. I also shaved a moustache and chops (I still have them). About fifteen of us went out to some North African restaurant and had a surprisingly good meal. By the time we were done with our meal it was 11:00 and so we set of to find a Euro Trash club, one with a lot of techno. Remembering my last experience with a club as soon as it was midnight I took off so I could catch the tube home and wouldn't have to walk home like everybody else did.

On Sunday we went to take the waters, or that is what we would have said if it were 1700 and we were going to Bath. Bath is known for its hot springs and its baths. As early as the first century the Romans had built baths there. To this day you can still see the Roman baths. They are pretty incredible. There is not much difference between a modern spa and the Roman baths. They had steam rooms, saunas, hot baths, warm baths, and cold baths. There were even people available to give massages. After seeing the Roman baths we walked around Bath and saw all the sights, including Jane Austen's house. We then headed home to get ready for another long week of school.Remember to check out my Flickr page for more Pictures!

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