Monday, September 10, 2012

Castles and Rocks and Cathedrals (Oh My)

My Monday began at 9am, and from the beginning I knew it was going to be a long day. On the agenda: an intro to our British Heritage and Culture class, Highclere Castle, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. Monday was our first quintessentially English day that we've had since our arrival. England had a very rainy summer, but presented us with beautiful sunny weather for our first few days in Great Britain, but today we got to experience the rain. I, of course, forgot my raincoat because I was so sure that it wasn't going to rain, so I got quite wet when it poured during our time at Highclere Castle. The rain pretty much stopped after that, but it was overcast and windy at Stonehenge and Salisbury.

Highclere Castle is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon as well as the main filming location for Downton Abbey. Sunday night we watched the first episode of Downton Abbey (which Austin and I had never seen) so that we could get a feel for the castle and be able to say "That's where Lady Grantham sat!" when we toured the house. They don't allow any cameras in the castle so I don't have pictures to show you, but the inside of the house was beautifully decorated.  In fact, if you'd like to see what it looks like, go ahead and watch Downton Abbey because everything looks the same, minus the family pictures that are removed before filming begins.

Next stop was Stonehenge which is so cool because it is a major mystery as to how (and why) the stones got to their location in Wiltshire, England. They were situated over 2 miles from the nearest settling point and after testing the stones it has been determined that they came from Wales. In 3000 BCE it would have taken a lot  of work and a lot of time to get these massive stones to England. Knowing that Stonehenge has been here for over 5,000 years made seeing the henge and learning about its history so interesting. Unfortunately, this didn't happen (video clip), which was a bummer. Stonehenge would have been much more exciting if the Doctor was there.

Our last stop was Salisbury Cathedral, which I was extremely excited to visit since we learned about it in AP Art History with Mrs. Thorne. It really did live up to expectation. The architecture is amazing and the stained glass was beautiful. We took a tour of the cathedral and we were able to learn all about the history of the cathedral and why it was built in Salisbury. Also located in the Salisbury Cathedral is the Magna Carta--one of the most important documents in the establishment of democracy so we got to see that as well. The last thing we did at Salisbury Cathedral was attend Evensong which was a beautiful service. A number of the choristers were children, and it was amazing how well they sang--you would've thought that they were professionally trained. The choir sang the Psalms, some of the prayers and an anthem and a lectern read two lessons. The Church of England is similar to the Episcopal denomination so a lot of the prayers were similar. The last thing on the agenda was dinner at Sarum College in their tiny refectory. It was a delicious meal--I have to admit I wasn't expecting much but Sarum proved me wrong.

We got back to Clive Booth Hall around 9pm totally exhausted but it was totally worth it. A jam packed day full of picture opportunities so naturally I left my memory card in my computer. The pictures in the slide show below were taken by Libby, Caitlin or Austin.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! And I love how you bring up Ms. Thorne. hehehehe :) Is Downtown Abby any good?