Rachel in London

Rachel is spending the June 2009 term in SMU-in-Taos, where the photography courses she is taking will complement her journalism degree. After Taos, she’s immediately off to SMU-in-London, where she’ll study journalism from the British point of view, as well as the history of postwar European cinema.

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Salisbury and Stonehenge: Stunning

002.JPG Stepping off the train into the little town of Salisbury, then the next day experiencing Stonehenge through a foggy dawn, I can truly say, along with Edgar Allan Poe, “You are not wrong, who deem that my days have been a dream; yet if hope has flown away in a night, or in a day, in a vision, or in none, is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

It really was that spectacular and held a dreamlike quality!

Friday, July 11

Sitting in the Rectory (dining hall), eating my soothing bowl of cornflakes, I think of how much more delightful it would be if they had chocolate milk to put in my cereal. I quickly shrug off the thought from my brain that is as mushy as the cereal is quickly becoming. It has been a long week; so long, in fact, that it feels like we’ve been here for an eternity. I have loved and soaked up every minute of it, though!

I head upstairs to grab my bags for our train ride into Salisbury at 1:30 this afternoon. It is so exciting to take a little trip out of London town! There is so much on my mind as I quickly grab my things. We all arrive at the train station, at which point I realize that I could kick myself; I forgot my Britrail pass! I saunter up in a huff to the counter and purchase a ticket.

049.JPG Finally, after the uneventful, long train ride, we step on the platform of Salisbury Station. We quickly tote our things through the quiet town and past charming shops to the picturesque King’s Head Inn. I breathe in the fresh countryside air. I almost laugh at the spectacle all of us American girls must create marching in a long line through the town and crowding, six at a time, into the tiny lift.

057.JPG Cari and I decide to be roommates and are given room 212. As we all head to our rooms to freshen up, Becky Hewitt says, “Meet in the lobby at 4:45 for Evensong at the Salisbury Cathedral!”

Cari and I weave through the narrow hallways and up some steps to our room. As we open the door, we gasp in delight! The room was so luxurious – each of us had two, twin beds with down comforters, our own set of fresh, white towels, and a lovely bathroom!!! We both plop gleefully onto the beds and lie on our backs marveling at the softness. The dorms at Regent are more like hostels, so I hope you can relate to my enthusiasm.

Evensong was a very simple but lovely service. The small boys’ choir is glorious. After the service ended we got a tour. There is so much history about this place that I will bore you to tears if I told you everything. The one thing I will point out is that they have an original copy of the Magna Carta!

We eat dinner at the pub, owned by the inn. It is really excellent food and the company splendid. Some of the girls decide to turn in early. Cari and I hang around downstairs and soon meet some of the local young people. They show us a spectacular time and welcome us warmly. I felt quite at home, chatting with them all like longtime friends.

Stonehenge%20trip.jpg Wow! Four in the morning comes way too quickly. I moan as I get dressed and shuffle groggily onto the bus that is to take us all to Stonehenge for the sunrise tour. Of course, being England and all that, there was no sunrise, just fog and rain. It did, however, cause the site to take on a dreamy, magical quality. There is so much lore about this place. I wander around the inside of the stones and just soak it all in!

044.JPG Now it’s time to take the bus back for a few hours sleep at the inn. Several of us are getting up early, eating breakfast and heading to Bath. As much as my soul desired to go to Bath, my body was railing against the notion. Cari and I slept in late, waking up to find that we have the town to ourselves. We eat a delicious breakfast at the pub. I almost wrench and gag at the sight of so many people getting big pints of beer along with their meals! Crazy!

055.JPG Afterward, we stroll through the market that’s held every Saturday (just like a flea market). It is so charming and holds many interesting things. I sigh with pleasure as I smell the aromas of all the fresh produce and baked goods and wish I hadn’t eaten breakfast back at the pub. Cari spots some pretty scarves for 2 pounds each. We both enthusiastically pick out several. Fun times!

I am very sorry to leave Salisbury, but head back to London town we must. Tomorrow we attend church at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Princess Diana was married!

Peace out, friends!

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