Pictures galore! We took a trip into Northwest England, hitting Haworth, the Lake District, Liverpool, and Wales. Here are the highlights from the trip:
Haworth is where the Bronte Parsonage is located, the parsonage of Charlotte and Emily Bronte's family. Haworth is located on the moorland of England, which basically means lots of hills, grass, bad weather, and a perfectly creepy setting for books like Wuthering Heights. We actually stopped by on a beautiful day, and our tour guide informed us that we were quite lucky to enjoy such lovely weather! This picture was taken inside the Bronte home - it's a portrait of Charlotte Bronte (the author of my beloved Jane Eyre!)
Here's me standing next to the church and cemetery adjoining the Bronte home. The graveyard has a mystically ancient feel about it and, I'm sure, helped inspire the Bronte sisters' writing (especially Wuthering Heights, which is actually set on the moorlands, and has its fair share of mystical and creepy). This was one of my favorite literary sites in England - and I celebrated the occasion by buying a beautiful edition of Jane Eyre with a little stamp inside that said "Purchased at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth." :) !
Welcome to the Lake District! one of England's national parks. It's a mountainous region with something like 20 lakes and is absolutely and impressively gorgeous! Basically, the Lake District is the marriage of two of my favorite things: mountains and English countryside. It's the landscape that inspires Mary Bennett to quip "what are men to rocks and mountains?" in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Mary, I would have to agree! (sorry guys!)
This is the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy when they lived in the Lake District. Seeing their home nestled in the middle of the Lake District, we were all led to think "if I lived here, I would write poetry too!" Although I'm not sure if we would succeed as well as Wordsworth. I was able to appreciate, however, the landscape that inspired so much of Wordsworth's poetry. We weren't visiting during daffodil-blooming season, unfortunately, so I couldn't walk among the daffodils and quote "I wandered lonely as a cloud..." darn! maybe next time.
This is the youth hostel we stayed in overnight in the Lake District - can you believe it? How inexplicably gorgeous! The hostel sits right on the shore of Lake Windermere, next to the little city of Ambleside (where I found a fabulous vegetarian restaurant :)
This is Beatrix Potter's cottage! Her home was, I think, my number one favorite literary site in England. The home has been kept exactly as she left it, with the exception of a little furniture rearranging to allow for tourist visits, so we were able to see everything - paintings, bedding, dolls, china - as Miss Potter left it. One of the tour guides said their goal was "if Miss Potter herself walked through the door, she would recognize it right as she left it!" I thought of my mom the whole time I was there, and how much she would have loved to see Beatrix's home - we'll visit it together one day, Mom! :)
On our way down to Liverpool, we stopped by the Preston temple. After visiting all the Gothic cathedrals and ornate buildings, the Preston temple is exquisitely simple, and I thought it helped leave a distinct impression as being different than all the other religious sites in England. There's something about seeing an LDS temple that makes me feel right at home!
Caernafron Castle in Wales - as you can see, it's pretty massive! This is where Prince Charles was crowned Prince of Wales, because, as I learned, the Prince of England is also crowned and called the Prince of Wales. (There's your random bit of UK trivia for the day).
Beaumaris Castle (also in Wales). This castle was really cool because, unlike Caernarfon that was made into more of a museum inside, Beaumaris was left pretty much as it was left (with the addition of a few guard rails, as you can see), so as we explored inside we felt like we stepped out of, oh I don't know, Robin Hood or something like that. ;)