Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trip to Bath and London!

Hello all! Since my last post I finished up my British Culture and Politics class and enrolled in my classes that I'll be taking for the rest of the term here. I decided on a Health Psychology class as well as a class on American Literature and Cinema in the early 20th century. (They have a whole degree on American Studies here! Strange.) I really like both of the classes so far and I think they will be pretty interesting. I'm used to taking 5 or 6 classes back home but they do the credit system here a bit differently. So I seem to have a lot of down time! I went to a "societies" fair to see what type of things I might fill my time with. There is one that trains you to become a first-aid responder at the Rugby games (which you then get free entry to) and all I'd have to do is be responsible for thousands of people in the event of a crowd fight or stampede... I also looked at the yoga club and the hiking club! So I'll keep you all posted on which, if any, of these I actually join. On a more academic note, I've started helping one of the 3rd year psychology students here with her research project. She is doing a series of reaction time studies to correlate to self-control and young adult drinking habits. I'm excited to gain some research experience as well as start thinking about what I'd like to do next year for my psychology capstone project.

January 6th through Sunday the 9th a couple friends and I went to London and it was great!

I was a little worried about staying in a hostel for the first time but it was surprisingly nice! 
On our first day Hannah and I went across the Millennium Bridge here to Tate Museum of Modern Art and got a nice view of London while Martyne took a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral 

Some of the art installations were... interesting. 

I was excited to see this Rothko exhibition. The pieces were different from the ones I had studied but were neat to see nonetheless. 

The view from the Tate balcony 

You can kind of see St. Paul's behind me

Later we went to Trafalgar square to visit the National Gallery. One great thing about London is that most all the museums are free! 

The National Gallery was definetly my favorite of the ones we visited. It had pieces from many of the Impressionist and Post Impressionist painters I like such as, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso. We even got to see the Sun Flower paintings after waiting in line a bit.  

A less cultural experience was found at the 6 level M&M store near West End. 

The Soho district had a big China Town that we walked around later that night.

The next morning we made it to town in time to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

 They kind of just marched around and played some music. It was still neat, though. 

 Near Westminster Abbey we saw all of London's iconic monuments! 

 Here are some young Italians taking selfies with Nelson Mandela

 The London Eye! It was a bit too much for us to take a ride but it was nice to look at from afar! 
 After the first day we were getting pretty good at navigating the tube system and could successfully get places without getting lost! It really was quite convenient.   

 At the National British museum we saw the Rosetta Stone! It was neat to see something so old and important! 

The museum also had lots of stuff from the Pantheon in Greece. The remains of the sculptures were beautiful. 
 This is an altar piece from Nebakanezer's Palace. It was cool to see something from a place mentioned in the Bible. 

While on a mission to do some shopping we ran into this cool marble arch none of us had heard of. It was supposed to be the entrance for Buckingham palace but ended up being in the wrong spot or something. 
Turns out that it rains much less anywhere that's not Swansea. We had pretty good weather throughout our stay. 
These are some unlawful pictures of the inside of St. Paul's Cathedral. It was normally like 30 pounds to go inside but we attended the 5:30 Evensong and it was free! We got to hear the choir sing beautifully as well. 

After having packed peanut butter and honey sandwiches the whole trip we decided to go out for some real food. We decided on the historic Ye Cheshire Cheese where Charles Dickens used to hang out and write! It was a really cool pub that had about four different floors with narrow walkways and really low ceilings at some points. Parts of it are over 500 years old! I got a really good mushroom and chicken pie. I think it tasted abnormally good after so much walking around and peanut butter. 
Sunday morning we again avoided an entry fee by going to Westminster Abbey's morning Eucharist service. They sang a lot and we stood up and down and then awkwardly avoided drinking out of the communion cup after 80 other people did! The inside of the chapel was beautiful though! And we stayed a bit for a passionate and almost scary organ playing performance.  

After church we had some nice afternoon tea and warm apple pie! 

Just before leaving we ran into the queen! She was very nice. :) 

Saturday February 25th we went on our final excursion with our British culture and Politics pre-sessional class. Bath is about a 2 hour bus ride from Swansea and a very historical town in England.   

A former patron of the baths. 

The baths themselves date back to the 4th century! Other parts of Bath became more of a heritage site after several of Jane Austin's Novels. 

There was a museum I would have liked to go to about her works but it was closed when we visited. We settled for buying discounted copies of Austin's novels from a not-so-historic book store in Bath. 

After all our educational journeying we took some time off to have lunch in the town square. We were serenaded by a skilled Spanish guitarist! 

This is not the guitarist. 

It seemed like we weren't even in England anymore with the sun shining on us and all. We decided to stop off for some desert before exploring the rest of Bath. 

After that we walked around to see this nice bridge! While we were walking it started to rain and got incredibly windy so we stopped in a couple stores to look around. I got a real British scone (pronounced scon... it think) and it turns out British scones are actually just biscuits...  We then looked around an art museum and headed back to the bus. 

I was waiting for a better (cleaner) time to post a picture of my room here. Its pretty nice actually! Its different using a radiator and not having air conditioning or ceiling fans. Not that I will ever need my room to be cooler... I would post some pictures of the rest of the house but it might be better to wait till the cleaners (yes, they have people clean the house and take out the trash for them here!) come in another week or so... 



  1. This is so cool! I appreciate your skeleton picture! lol I am glad you are doing this blog!

    1. I didn't even see your comment! Haha, I'm glad! Oh, good. I know at least you are reading it :)

  2. What are the housing arrangements like? Are you in a dorm or with a host family?

  3. Leah,
    It looks like you are having a wonderful time and getting to visit a lot of places! Carolyn from the library

  4. I'm in a house with 8 other students.
    Hey, Carolyn! Hope all is well at the Library. Tell everyone hello for me! I thought of you guys as I was trying to figure out the automated self check-out here! It's crazy. You just stack up the books and it knows which ones are there! haha

  5. I am so glad you are doing this blog.....Super excited to get to see all your pictures. especially loved the Iguanas oh and the "former patron of the baths". Love and miss you sweetheart!!