The North trip was unreal. In this 4 day trip, we went to Preston, Ambleside (the Lake District), Wordsworth Trust, Edinburgh, and York. Each of these places were fun to visit for their own reasons. Side note: there are a ton of pictures in this post.
Preston is the first place the LDS missionaries settled in Europe. Many of my ancestors became members here and then traveled across the Atlantic to Utah. This was such a powerful moment because I feel like I have a connection to Preston. It is a place that my family came to and learned about the church. Other than that, I don’t know much about Preston. The town is small and really only needs a couple hours to visit but it was nice. This stop was different because it didn’t follow along with the academic portion rather it was part of the religion studies.
From Preston, we drove to Ambleside to spend the night. That night, my friends and I found this little inn to eat dinner at. I ordered a full meal of fish and chips and mushy peas. I didn’t like the peas but man, that was some good fish and chips. It was so English I loved it. We stayed at the cutest little bed and breakfast cottage. I have officially decided that I need a cabin in the Lake District to stay at every summer. The next morning we spilt into two groups of 20. One group went to Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust while the other hiked around. My group went to the Trust first. Dove Cottage is William Wordsworth’s home in the Lake District so it was neat to see where he grew up. We went into the trust and got to handle actual copies of letters written by Wordsworth. We also passed around a first edition copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I immediately remembered reading Frankenstein in high school. Side note, it’s such a good read and so worth it.
We finished in the trust and swapped places with the other group. It was our turn to walk around Ambleside and the hills. We walked through the village and then up the path. This hike was lovely. The English countryside is exactly what you imagine it to be: rolling hills, sheep everywhere, rich valleys, and pure serenity. This was the first time I was fully surrounded by nature while on this program because once we started walking on the hills, society vanished. There were no cottages or any other people, just us and the world. The hike wasn’t difficult, except for the fact that I am literally the klutziest person ever. In all my years of gymnastics, I am very good at walking and tumbling across the balance beam, but on the ground I literally trip over nothing. So walking up to the top, I slipped in the mud and fell 5 different times. Sally fell too, but only twice. When we got to the top, we overlooked the village, valley and lake. It was absolutely stunning. We took several pictures and by the time we finished, we had to rush back down the mountain (I fell again) and meet back at the bus. We only spent a couple hours in Ambleside and I think its one of the cutest towns in all England. The next stop on our North Trip was Edinburgh! Yes, SCOTLAND! Constant repeat of Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill. Seriously though, Scotland 10/10 would recommend. The only place in Scotland we visited is Edinburgh. I am planning on coming back here and touring the highlands as well. We did several things for classes. Most were slightly boring, but touring the castle was fun. We got to walk around the inside and outside of the castle. The view from the back of the castle is absolutely incredible. You see out to the coast. I didn’t realize how close Edinburgh was to the ocean until I was standing here. Once again, cue Ed. I also got to stand in one of the guard posts and I felt like I was in the queen’s army. Except I was like two feet shorter. This was the best part of things we did for class, but just walking around Edinburgh was very pleasant. Savannah and I were roommates in the hotel so we spent the whole day together. I do wish we had more than one day in Scotland though.
After this, Savannah, Brendon and I went to The Elephant Cafe, aka where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Eating here was a must for me, and man it was worth it. I had the tastiest chicken pot pie. Still craving it. Savannah and I signed our names on the bathroom wall. There were so many notes by people across the world and showing support for Harry Potter. It was insane. Then, while Savannah went to rest and Brendon did his shopping. I did some shopping. I got cute scarfs for my mom and sisters. I also walked in a fun Christmas store. I love Christmas stores because I love seeing how different cultures celebrate the holiday. The shops are always so happy and they have the cutest workers. I bought a Santa ornament where a kilt, so Scottish I love it. Sav and I met back up again to hike Athur’s Seat. This is a hill overlooking the city at the end of the royal mile. It was a small hike and we didn’t follow the path but we made it to the top in time to see the sunset. Still repeating Ed and I am not ashamed because Edinburgh is the perfect setting for Castle on the Hill. Literally, sitting on Arthur’s Seat, I watched the sunset over the castle on the hill. It was super cold and windy so we walked back down the mountain before it was completely dark. The day ended with a group of us going on a ghost tour through the cemetery. The stories were entertaining and I admit, some were freaky. In all, Scotland and Edinburgh is a must visit.
The North Trip ended with a visit to York Minister. We walked through the cathedral and then found several secondhand book shops. I definitely liked the book stores more than the church. I found first edition copies of Harry Potter that I got for Tyson. We got back to the center and our North trip was over. The four days on the North trip was a blast and definitely became some of my favorite places in England.
Big fan of the North trip and all the places we visited. We did so much in the four days, but it was all so fun. I have said this about everything so far and I continued saying it through my entire study abroad, but I loved it and am still so glad we did this!