Thursday, May 26, 2011

Karen's Last Official Post's come down to this, a final blog post, and evidentally, I'm the last to write in. I don't have any epiphanies, just final thoughts to finish off the trip, and it seems appropriate to give them in list form.
1. We were met with many scoffs by the English at our trips to smaller towns, even big cities, in the UK with a "why would you want to come here?" This reminded me of all those Iowans who see visitors coming to visit our much younger state, and while I'm not comparing the two (it can't be done), I believe we don't understand or appreciate the inherent value of the places from which we come. Evidentally, even the English can turn a blind eye to their interesting history. Hopefully, all of us can see that we come from something important, regardless of size, and notice that that place means something to someone.
2. The English love their sugar...oh, my! I'm going to miss my scones with clotted cream, jam, and a pot of earl grey tea with milk and sugar, but I think my blood sugar will be better off after leaving the country.
3. The English (and the Welsh) value older architecture and historic monuments on a national level, and I think Americans could take note. It has been wonderful to be surrounded by this much history (at times, overwhelming, but nonetheless valuable).
4. I was hesitant at first regarding the cuisine, but I've taken every opportunity to try new foods and eat A LOT, and I don't regret it. I think I've walked most of it off :)
5. I've learned a lot about castles and cathedrals, and feel that I could appreciate more history classes on the topic. I especially enjoyed the cathedrals.
6. Finally, I'd like to come back with my family and experience more.

That's all for this trip. Hopefully, more adventures to come.

The Final Hours... Matt's Last Official Post

This will be my last post before we return home! This has been one of my favorite trips that I have ever been on. England and Wales have been everything that I imagined they would be and they have both lived up to all of my expectations. I am kind of sad that this trip is almost over but at the same time it will be nice to be home again without having to constantly bring everything I would ever need with me where ever I go. I have enjoyed staying at the different youth hostels, YMCA, and the hotel. They have all been very enjoyable and welcoming. It was a new experience sharing a room with someone other than our group members but that gave me the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.
Talking to people in the hostel lounge areas also gave me the same opportunity to meet other travelers. All of the different sites that we have visited have been spectacular in their own way. I have really enjoyed walking through all of the different castles, cathedrals, and abbeys and learning about their history. Even though we visited a lot of castles, cathedrals, and abbeys each place had something new that the others did not. I have really enjoyed the different walking tours that we have taken through the different towns. I wish we had this kind of history back in the States. I am going to miss all of the train rides we took and all of the fun card games we played on them. I have also met some interesting people on these train rides. I am also going to miss the ocean views from Tenby and Wells-next-to-the-Sea. They were so beautiful. I am glad I got to try different types of food that I most likely would not have eaten if it were not for part of this course. I have met some wonderful people along the way and now have a lot of new friendships that I will take with me back to the States. I am going to take away some great memories and fantastic photographs of England and Wales.

"England Doesn't Want You to Leave...It's Crying" Final Official Post

Well hello everyone for the last time! I can’t believe it is here already! It has been a month and I’m so excited but sad to being coming home tomorrow. I have had the time of my life here and I can’t wait to come back later in life. London on my free days was probably my favorite only because I’ve been waiting to go there since I was around 6 years old. It feels amazing to finally accomplish such a wonderful goal in life especially since I was able to experience it with Matt. We had a great time on the London Eye, seeing Harry Potter sites, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and many other little sites.
Some other sites have also created great memories. One that stands out the most is York Minster. It was the first cathedral we went to in the beginning of the month and by far my favorite. All the cathedrals stood out in their own way but York had a little bit of everything. That may be because I’m a little biased to York. It was my favorite city that we stayed in; however, Tenby and Wells-Next-to-the-Sea are close contenders in my top cities to stay in. I was also so excited to go into Wales because I have a really close friend who is Welsh and very proud of it. I was very happy to tell her I found something from Wales for her.
Although I’m not a history major, I took away a lot of history from this trip and find myself to be a little more cultured. I have my classmates and Dr. L to thank for that. Without such a great group it would have been impossible to experience as much as I did. That will be one of the things I will miss the most.

My Final Blog (Official Post)

Hello readers!

Well today is my last full day in England. I am just as excited to leave and finally sleep in my bed as I was to come and sleep all over this glorious country. I have had such a great time with Dr.L and the other people who made this trip a blast. I can't believe it's been a month though. Where did all of the time go?

I am so happy I took this opportunity! I learned a lot and happy to be here to soak it all in. Between seeing the York Minster to seeing Big Ben on my last free day in London, I saw a lot. What I am taking home from this are the fun memories of all these places and the fun memories I made with these new friends of mine. Just walking around the cities and towns gave me memories. Also what I am taking home is the proof I actually went to these places because instead of throwing away my bus pass and train pass I want to bring them as great souvenirs.

I can not wait to get home and see my family and friends and share all of my pictures and stories of what I did over here in England and Wales.

Well that's it for me.
Thomas Howell

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mandy's final post

Well its that time, we only have one day left here in the UK. I think we will all miss it, but at the same time it will be good to get home. I just hope we can. Fingers crossed. I know I will miss it here, my time in the UK defiantly proved to me I can now handle big cities with no problem, but I will miss how friendly the people are and how helpful to. At every turn, if it looked like you were struggling or lost, there was someone there to lend a hand, it was nice. It will also be sad to longer be around history at every turn, where things built in the 1800s are considered new, whereas in the states, that's like ancient. I think I definitely experienced a lot of new things on this trip, both about what I can handle and with lots of foods.

I think my favorite days were my free days because I went into London and Cardiff, but for the class, I think it was just about anywhere in Wales. There was just something about that country that loved. I really hope that one day I can come back and see more, and maybe get an accent because I wont be around as many Americans that go around, but it was a great time had by all, I think.

So ta, from the UK. Hope to one day return.

Final blog (official Post)

Hi everyone who is reading this blog, this is Kevin one last time. I hope that you have enjoyed reading the blog and especially my posts. There have been a few sites that I thought were cooler and more historic than the others. My favorite site that I went and saw while over here in England happen to take place on my free day. This site was the HMS Victory and HMS Warrior at the Porthsmounth Historic Dock yard. The reason that this was my favorite site to visit was because historic ships is one of my favorite topics to study. Both the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior happen to be two famous ships, the Victory because it was Lord Nelson Flag Ship at Trafalgar and the place where he was shot. The Warrior is the first iron hulled ship and during its first years in service it was the most feared ship at sea. My favorite site that we saw as a class was Conway castle. I think this was because it was the castle that fit my ideas of what a castle should look like. Conway had the large outer walls and towers that overlooked the city. Also the castle was high up on a hill overlooking the town and harbor. The Inner walls were taller than the outer walls and had more towers to defend against attacks. also the castle had rooms that were large enough for the king and queen to live in but at the same time still be well defended against attacks. Overall I will say that I liked seeing the cathedrals better than the castle. As cool as the castle were the were all in ruins which made it hard to see what they would have looked like had they been kept up. The cathedrals since they are still in use today, are still standing and look similar to how they would have looked in the middle ages. The castle have also been greatly changed over times as styles changed and unlike the changes that were on the cathedrals they were blunt and ugly looking. The final reason that I liked seeing the cathedrals better was that for me personal walking through the door seem to transport me back in time to the middle ages. This is because these cathedral take me back to a time when the best way to express your love to God was to build a large building to him. The Cathedral that I like the best was Ely. There are a few reasons why I liked this cathedral. The first reason was since Norwich Cathedral  was closed i could not pick the cathedral that presented on. The more serious reasons were that Ely had a really interesting tower that was octagon shaped.  The other reason was the Ely was very beautiful but it was not overdone like some of the cathedrals that we looked at.
From spending so much time over in England there are a few things that I will miss. The first thing is how every thing seems to be stuck in time and is so peaceful. There is no rushing around and everything moves at its own pace. The other thing that I will miss is how well the public transportation works. I loved being able to ride around on a train and see the countryside. From a history stand point I will miss being surround my hundreds of years of history. This course change my ideas of different history ideas. The first being that castle were just fortress of wars and not living spaces. The other idea about cathedrals which I learned was false was that cathedrals were painted many colors and not just boring stone as the appear today. Overall this course gave be a great idea about how there is much more to history that just reading books and if you truly want to study history you must get out and see it in really life.

It's come to an end post (It's "Official - post")

So we have come to the end of the course. Oh the things I have learned and the places I have seen. Though many are in ruins it was still fun to learn of their history and the reason for their existence. Majority of the castle located in Wales were designed and built to defend from the Welsh. In the medieval times, it was the king's goal to take over the Welsh land. Personally, I could understand why. Wales has beautiful landscape from the seacoast to the mountains. Taking a train through the country was one of my favorite experiences besides the holding the hawk and getting knighted again. Nothing trumps that.

I would have to say the things I will take with me are the memories made upon this trip. From talking with the locals to frisbee in the park, they all hold a special place in my memories. I think though that the most favorite thing on the entire trip (and yes, history is repeating) is the chance to hold the hawk. Oh, and the experiences at Tenby and Bath. Those were my two most favorite cities because of the location and the structure/layout of those cities. Tenby because I have discovered this love for the ocean even though the only other time I had been there was in Barbados and Bath because of the city look without the feel of the city. Meaning it didn't seem to be overly crowded for the size of city it was. Being a country girl, I have very little enjoyment for a city and surprisingly, I could see myself living in Bath for a couple of years.

Though I do love both England and Wales, I find myself looking forward to going home. I miss my family and friends and wish to see them again, hopefully before the ash cloud decides to ruin our return home. This was my longest time from home seeing as my other trips had only been for about two weeks and with other family members I might add. So this was an experience and adventure for me and one I will walk away from with knowledge gained and memories treasured. If you ever get a chance to venture into the lovely landscape of the United Kingdom, don't pass it up because you will find that it is totally worth it.

This is KC (Kaitlyn) signing out one last time. This be the end of May Term for me and the end of my Junior year. Bring on Senior year!!

The Final Chapter, Official Post

I can’t believe the day that we are leaving in shortly upon us. It does not seem like we have been in England and Wales for just a little over three weeks.

It is incredibly difficult for me to pinpoint my favorite part of the trip so I’m going to break it into a few categories. The award for my favorite cathedral has to be Ely. Yes, I know I’m biased in this one due to my research, but I was blown away. First of all I loved the octagon tower. In my mind it was a blessing in disguise that the Norman tower collapsed and the octagon tower replaced it. Secondly, I loved all the stained glass. The majority of the glass has been redone and the color is amazing. Finally, the outer structure shows its dominance over the town. It was built upon a hill so looking up at the cathedral as you walk up gives the illusion of a grander structure.

My favorite castle would have to be Caernarfon Castle. The castle is massive and the multiple towers fit well into my stereotypical mindset of what a castle should look like. This place also had a great view of the straight that runs through the town and the nearby channel. The castle definitely served its purpose of protecting the immigrating English from the native Welsh.

What I will remember the most is that each cathedral and castle has their own style. Some castles were built as a symbol of dominance over an area, while others are simply a fortified manor house such as the castle in Craven Arms. While all cathedrals are built as a place to worship, the style of architecture is quite different. In fact the nave of cathedral was originally used as a meeting place, which I found quite interesting. We have seen all sorts of different styles from Norman with their rounded arches, to Early English Gothic which was a slightly pointed arch, to the Gothic style with their pointed arches and their flying buttress which helped distribute weight more effectively.

The experiences I have had over the past month have broadened my horizons and perspectives. This trip has made me realize that England is a place that I love to travel to. I love the landscape, and the people that I have encountered. Finally, I have come to realize how lucky we are to live in an area where we have space to roam. Everything here is placed right next to each other. It makes it easier for us to travel but as a guy who lived on a rural Iowa farm, I miss my space and having a yard. As much as I have loved my stay in England, this trip has made me realize how much I love the comforts of home.

The End is Here . . . Offical Post

So unfortuneatly our time has come to an end, so now is the point in our trip that everyone posts their final thoughts. I can not really believe that it has been four weeks already and I don’t really know where to start, our trip has been amazing! I have learned enough to last me a life time and to change the way I look at things. I have learned that Medieval Architecture is very complex, more so than most people think or imagine. The different periods are very evident when looking upon a cathedral and it helped me see what we learned in the pre travel class, a lot easier than looking at pictures. Castle architecture in my opinion stayed the same, but it was evident which ones were Welsh castles and which ones were English castles. The Welsh ones often backed up to the sea, where as the English ones backed up to a river or were atop of a giant hill. My favourite part of the whole trip was being able to see the two cathedrals I researched for a paper in another one of Dr. Lindgren’s classes, Wells and Gloucester. The first one I got to see was Gloucester and it made me realize just how many different aspects of my research was really in the cathedral itself that I didn’t realize ( I researched symbolism in the two cathedrals, via the architecture and sculptures.). When I originally started my research I didn't really have to much of an interest in Gloucester, but when I got to see it in person, it was overwhelming. It also became my favourite out of the two that I researched, and my second favourite of the trip (Ely was my favourite). When we got to Wells I was amazed on just how huge the West Front really was! And although I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t go into the quire, so I could see the Jesse Window, I was still really impressed with the cathedral as whole. Overall the trip has been fantastic and the people here have been very polite, and although I do not have to leave, I am ready to come home. See you in two days!!!!!!!!!!!!

Courtney Frey

Malynda's Final Post "Official Post"

I can not believe how fast this month has gone by! We have seen so much and learned so much in such a short time.

I think that my favorite places were the halls and homes that were refurnished to what they might have looked like in the Middle Ages. It wes really interesting for me to learn how people lived thier day to day lives back then. I thought these places were especially interesting becauase it was like stepping back in time and we learned small things about life that we would not have learned at a big castle, such as the way the residents of the home would eat dinner together.

The thing I think that I will miss the most about being here is the slower pace of life. In the U.S. people always seem to be rushing around in the morning, but here people move slower. The mornings start slower and more calmly. There is a lot less traffic because most people take the public transport (another thing that I will really miss about this country). I don't know if I'm ready to go back to busy mornings rushing to work yet.

I will definitely miss all of the history that is everywhere here. I love how in the middle of a modern shopping street there might be centuries old buildings chalk full of history. There is nothing like that in Iowa.

When I first got here, everything was new and different. But now after being here for a while I've started to see a lot of similarities to home and the enchantment of being in a different country has worn off. This trip has helped me see how life everywhere is really simialar.

I've loved going on this trip and I definitely wouldn't trade it for anything.