Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekend Adventures Galore!


This weekend has been absolutely amazing! I mastered public transportation and even managed to do my homework. We have three day weekends on this trip, and so we are able to plan a lot of excursions. This weekend I wanted to do a day trip, so some of us put our heads together to plan.

We decided to go to Carlisle on Saturday. It was absolutely amazing, there is so much history there that I geeked out for almost the entire time period we were in the city. Carlisle is about a two and a half hour train ride from Manchester, but to get there you need to change trains (and train stations). We had about 25 minutes to make a 15 minute walk through a city we had never been before. Although it was a little intimidating, we made it through with plenty of time to spare, and a new skill under my belt. 

Carlisle is a city in the county of Cumbria that dates back to 70 CE. That kind of history is amazing! We didn't really have much of a plan for visiting Carlisle besides going to Carlisle Castle. On our way there we stumbled upon Carlisle Cathedral. This is by far one of my favorite stops.  

Carlisle Cathedral

The Cathedral dates back to 1122, when construction began during the reign of King Henry I. The building itself is absolutely beautiful; there are stained glass windows and amazing architecture. Not only that, it houses a 1st century Roman glass funerary urn. I can't believe I was in a room with something that old. While we were touring the Cathedral one of the prayer chaplains, a man named David, spoke with us. He has lived in the US so we traded stories, he asked our opinions about the election, and he shared information about the Cathedral with us. While we were there I was able to light a candle for my grandfather who recently died. They are holding his funeral while I am abroad, so I am incredibly grateful that I got the opportunity to remember him in my own way. 

After touring the Cathedral we headed over to Carlisle Castle. I'm not going to lie, this is when I started getting really excited. Carlisle Castle is the most besieged castle in England, having been besieged 10 times and is the sight of some incredible history.

Carlisle Castle

Important moments in the Jacobite rebellion occurred there. It is said that prisoners were kept in complete darkness and forced to lick the walls for moisture. Here is a picture of the imprints left in the wall:

Pretty horrifying, right?

My favorite thing about Carlisle Castle is that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there by Queen Elizabeth I. This may seem an odd favorite, but I went through a very long phase in which I was obsessed with Mary Queen of Scots. The exact tower in which she was imprisoned has been torn down, but I am fairly sure that I managed to walk somewhere that she did (which may be my greatest accomplishment to date).

Sunday was much more relaxed than Saturday, but equally as fun. My roommate, Emma, and I slept in a little and then decided to go to the mall. It's a little colder here than I anticipated so I needed to get a few things to keep me warm. One of our professors pointed us to Primark, its basically a mix of Target and H&M but way cheaper. We picked up a few things and then decided to head back towards the hotel. On the way back I felt something weird in my shoe, so I stopped to take a look. There was a piece of glass in my shoe! It didn't go all the way through, but it was stuck pretty far in there. I pried it out, but now my shoe has a lovely little line in it. 

Later in the day we headed to the train station and bought tickets to London for next weekend. A friend of mine lives in London, and has graciously offered to host me, so I will be staying with her. After buying the tickets, Emma and I decided to go to a cafe and study (because even though we have to work, we still wanted to see the city).  We went to Caffe Nero,a coffee chain here that is way better than Starbucks. It was so amazing sitting in a cafe and reading about the city we are staying in. The road we were on was even mentioned in the book which was particularly fun! It's kind of crazy being so close to the things we are learning about. Nothing in Alaska is this old, so my mind is blown everyday looking around Manchester. 

Caffe Nero

On Monday we begin our first full week of classes. We are going on a walking tour that I am particularly excited about. I can't believe that we are already a week into this trip!


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