I’ve been trying to figure out a way to condense my recent trip to Europe and the U.K. into something vaguely resembling coherent blog posts. It’s difficult to figure out how to pare down an experience into something small and readable, so of course I’ve been avoiding working on it in hopes of a bolt of organizational inspiration! I’ve decided to break it up into smaller more chronological posts just for ease and so nothing is too overwhelming. Hopefully this way it will be easy to read and won’t be too arduous.
The first leg of our trip Kevin and I traveled to Alkmaar / Bergen in The Netherlands for my friend Cassidy’s wedding. We stayed in Bergen, and enjoyed several days seeing old friends and attending the wedding ceremony. It was so lovely to be there to see my friend get married! After the wedding we met up with my friend Chloe in Amsterdam, and enjoyed a day wandering around the city, sipping mint tea, “ooh-ing” and “ah-ing” at the old houses, and sampling cheese. There was something so comfortable about the city, and both Kevin and I were completely enamored. We can’t wait to go back, and are hoping to visit the Anne Frank museum on our next trip.
From Amsterdam, we spent several days in London, which was an absolute whirlwind! We ate Indian food, visited the Museum of Portable Sound, wandered around Bloomsbury, got lost in the London Review Bookshop (there were many temptations), saw some bizarre installations at the Tate Modern, and took a day trip to Canterbury Cathedral. The cathedral was beautiful, yet was filled with the eerie reminder of Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170. The murder spot is marked with a slightly macabre cross made of swords, meant to represent the swords of the knights who slew Thomas. There was also a singular candle left burning at the place where Thomas’s alter used to stand before it was destroyed in the reformation. I was so glad to finally visit Canterbury, especially since I loved reading the Canterbury Tales in college. It was so fun to reach the site of Chaucer’s fictional pilgrimage (even if the pilgrims in the tales never made it themselves!)
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of our whole trip was seeing a production of “As You Like It” at the Globe in London. I had been to a play at the Globe when I was studying abroad, and it was just as magical this time. We saw a matinee, so the stage was lit with natural light, and the actors performed without amplification, so it’s just as it would have been in Shakespeare’s time. Highlights include: actors dressed as sheep, false identities, amazing costumes, lots of singing, and a group dance at the end. It was a fantastic show, and we all left with huge smiles on our faces – and an ice cream cone for me! I wish I could snap my fingers and be there again.
The last pictures in this post are from the village of Stowe-on-the-Wold, home to St. Edwards Church, which we visited on our way from London up to the Midlands. Supposedly, the door flanked with yew trees inspired J.R.R. Tolkein in his description of the Doors of Durin. The church was cool and quiet, and we wandered around the churchyard, admiring the daisies that were growing among the graves. It was a helpful moment to slow down after all the activity at the beginning of our trip, and I was so glad we had a chance to visit this lovely place.
There are so many more things I have to share from this trip, and so many ideas and thoughts I’ve had about travel and folklore and writing all wrapped up together. I’m trying to catch up a bit since we have holidays looming on the horizon (Lammas is only a couple weeks away!) I hope you’re all enjoying these long, sunny days, and are finding ways to stay cool.
Sending summer cherries and sunshine!