We also visited Herefordshire Beacon, a large hill that is recorded in Wilford Woodruff’s journal as a place he liked to go to have alone time. We all climbed to the top and sang “High on the Mountain Top” as a group.
After climbing back down the hill we got back on the coach and drove to the Gadfield Elm Chapel, the oldest LDS church building in existence. To get in the door you have to answer some LDS trivia-type questions and use the answers as the code in the keypad on the lock. The questions were things like ‘How many chapters in the Book of Enos?’ and ‘How many Degrees of Glory are there?’ Fortunately we were able to answer all of them without much trouble :)
When we left the museum we drove a little way to Cardiff, the capital of Wales. We checked into our hotel and then we had the whole evening to walk around and explore. Allie and I went to Pizza Hut and then we met up with our group to go watch a play based on Roald Dahl’s book The BFG. The ticket man was really nice to Allie and me, and even though I didn’t have my student ID he gave us both really good student tickets in the fourth row. It was an…interesting play. I guess that’s Roald Dahl for you though.
We landed in Spain late that night and giggled like twelve-year-olds when we were greeted with ‘Hola’ and Spain stamps in our passports at the customs desk. After a long bus ride, a ride on the [ghetto] Spanish Metro and some slight room issues, we finally settled into bed in our hotel room(s) sometime after midnight.
When we finished swimming we hopped back on our bikes and toured the city. We rode through the city park and up to an old bull-fighting arena. After we returned our bikes we ate some awesome gelato and did some window shopping.
For dinner we went to Hard Rock Café Barcelona. It’s nice to know that there’s a little bit of America in the form of celebrity worship and rock memorabilia no matter where you go in the world.
The town of Bath has changed hands several times through the years. It first enjoyed popularity when the Romans turned it into a resort town of sorts. It returned to fame in the 1800s when people believed the water had healing powers for all sorts of problems. It was neat to walk around the old ruins and see the layers of history that have been built on each others, even though some of the rooms smelled like the hot pools at Yellowstone, which is to say not so good.
They filmed the proposal scene in the most recent Pride and Prejudice (you know, the one with the rain and all the yelling) at Stourhead in a little stone building called Apollo’s Temple. Picture this: forty girls streaming off a bus toward know location of sappy, chick-flick scene. Giggles and gossip filled the air. Excitement was almost tangible as girls contemplated the reality that they would soon be standing where Keira Knightly stood. And then we saw it. The scaffolding. Yes, that’s right. The British National Trust is currently restoring Apollo’s Temple. Words cannot describe the agony that filled our souls and penetrated clear to the cores of our very beings. How dare they be so selfish and ruin our vacation in such a heartless way? Don’t worry, I hiked to it anyway to take a sad picture of me with the inaccessible, scaffolding covered building in the background. Not that it would be the same without an attractive, rain-drenched man proposing marriage to me, but still.
If I had been planning my own trip to Britain, I don’t think I would have included Stonehenge. It never sounded very interesting to me and I didn’t really see any point in going. If I had planned my own trip, I would have missed it completely and that would have been unfortunate, because it turns out that Stonehenge is pretty cool. When you go to Stonehenge, you start to ask the kinds of questions you always ask at really big, old things. How did they make this without any of the sophisticated equipment we use to build today? I feel the same when I stand in the nave of a gothic cathedral and stare up at the arches so high above my head. What was it that made such a huge undertaking worth the effort? It’s nice to know that someday I can ask these questions to the people that really have the answers. Until then, it’s just cool to look and wonder.