Welcome back, I am excited to share my first blog post on my recent trip to England. I decided to split it up into two parts, the first part being all the towns and sights I saw outside of London and the second post focusing on just London! First a couple of quick announcements. First, thank you for staying with me through my move and transition, I haven’t been able to make as regular updates as I would of liked. I am happy to say that I feel well adjusted and I am back to a mostly normal schedule of producing work and researching the Portland art market. Second, I will have a reflection post at the end of December as well as a look forward to my plans for 2019. Third, you may of noticed the lack of printmaking lately, not to fear I will be continuing to make more block prints soon. With moving I did not have the set up to make any new prints, and after spending nine months solely focusing on printmaking I decided to use the move as an opportunity to explore other mediums of illustrating. It has been a really great journey and I feel like I have grown and found some new methods I would like to explore more. I will have more on this in my refection post at the end of the month, but you can check out my instagram for all the latest work I’ve been making : ]
England: I was in England from November 8-19. This post won’t be fully chronological as I did two day trips while I was in London that I am including here. A brief overview of my time there. I landed into London in the early morning on the 8th, there I took a train to the city of Bath where I was there till the 11th. Then I took a train to London where I stayed for the remainder of my time. During my stay I took two day trips on the 15th and 16th to Dover to see the White Cliffs of Dover and to Cambridge.
Bath: After landing in London at 5:30 am waiting in line through immigration, waiting till 9:30 for the off peak train pass, I was finally on the train and on my way to Bath. My jet lag hadn’t hit me yet and I was feeling good, listening to book six of Harry Potter and enjoying my window seat watching the rolling landscape towards Bath. After reflecting on the whole of my trip I would have to say that Bath was my favorite. It could be that it was my first impression of England and I quickly grew to enjoy the town, but Bath also has a great charm to it. It's a small city nestled into rolling hills, easily walkable and streets filled with pedestrian traffic only. I was there in the slow season of tourism but I found that to my liking as it wasn’t overly crowded. All the architecture is in the same Georgian style faced with local stone. Giving the city a dominance as each building seems to have some historical presence. I found several galleries and a lively art scene through out the city. I ended up seeing most of the top highlights in Bath, the two biggest and my personal favorite were the Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. I opted for the tower tour in the Bath Abbey which gave you a more personal look through the church and a 300 stair climb up the bell tower to a wondrous view of the city and surroundings. The Roman Baths were filled with so much history and was incredible to learn and see a glimpse of the past back to the the Roman Empire. I ended up spending hours there going through the museum and walking the lower level of the Roman Bath watching the iconic stone glow in the cloudy dusk.
Stonehenge: Stonehenge is only about an hours drive from bath, It was something I really wanted to see, so I signed up for a local tour group that would drive you out and gave a discounted rate on the admission. It was a cold grey and rainy day with pockets of sunlight to give you enough hope that maybe the rain will clear. The ride from Bath was nice the driver, giving just a tad bit of information about the land and some things to look out for along the way. The sun managed to come out all through the drive as the hills of the Costwolds turned into plains of farmland. Upon arriving the sky started to change back to grey the temperature dropped and as soon as I reached the Stonehenge it begun to rain. The was a bottlenecked line at the beginning of the circle as everyone just wanted to take a selfie in front of it then head back. As the rain continued the crowds vanished. I walked around the circle taking in the sight. I wish I could have stayed out longer but the rain and cold were too much for me and my camera. I was fascinated to learn of the long evolution of the Stonehenge and different forms it took over the years and look forward coming back sometime maybe in the summer!
The White Cliffs of Dover: I only had a few hours to spend in Dover so my only plan was to go and see the White Cliffs. I walked nearly 19 miles that day, starting from the train station about a half mile from the city center. When I got into town it was honestly a little sad, just a shell of a town closed for the season. I grabbed a quick lunch and popped into the visitor center for the best way to get to the white cliffs. I made my to the boardwalk walking alongside the beach, which lead to a path up the cliffside to the White Cliffs of Dover Visitor Center. The weather was cool and windy but I was fortunate enough to not have it rain. The fog and clouds battled the sun through the afternoon, the clouds eventually prevailed but not before the sun gave a short early sunset. Since seeing the cliffs was the only thing I had planned I decided to walk to the furthest point to an old lighthouse. The trail walked alongside rolling grass hills filled with bushes and berries. I saw many Magpies and rabbits, it was peaceful the wind stirred the ground in a natural symphony. Along the trail you would come to the edge where the land dropped and the white chalk rock cliffs dropped below. The cliffs seem to glow even in the cloudy fog. My visibility was limited and I could never see the full extent of the cliffs but the fog made what was visible more dominant. I was marveled to think that as I was standing on edge of a cliff, at the end of a huge island, below me hundreds of feet the earth faded into the sea. The White Cliffs of Dover was defiantly a high on the trip and a true natural beauty.
Cambridge: A small town filled with people riding bikes everywhere and a college at every street corner. I wish I could have spent another day in Cambridge, I felt like I only got to see the surface of the town. I arrived mid-morning and I signed up for a walking tour at 1:00pm. The walking tour gave a history of the town and the different colleges, as well and a look inside a couple of them. I had a few hours to spend before the tour so I wondered the streets, made my way into a city market and bought some delicious mac and cheese for lunch! During my tour, I learned that the University of Cambridge is made up of 31 different colleges all tucked in the town. Cambridge is filled with so much history and historical figures. I saw where Issac Newton sat and pondered the ideas and laws of gravity, the place where they split the atom for the first time, the bar where Watson and Crick celebrated uncovering the structure of DNA, and the place where Stephen Hawking had his funeral service.
My time in England was a wonderful experience, I am so thankful I got to see different parts of the country and expand my horizon on the world. Of course, this was only half my trip, I will be back next Monday with part two, my time in London! I hoped you enjoyed this and I will see you next week!