Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Magical and Cold, but beautiful Ocean

When I go to a beach I feel free, I feel like all my worries and cares of the day are gone for a few hours. I was so excited to go to the coast of England. Kaitlyn and I had been asking all the British students we have met where the beach was. They told us there was one that was 20 minutes away. When we heard that we knew that there was no way we would miss the opportunity to go as many times as we could til our money got low. The first beach we found and heard about we went to. It was called Margate Beach. It was just a bus ride away. We caught the bus at the local Canterbury Station, and I was really happy to find out that the price was just five pounds for the entire trip. We could also buy a pass for 5.50 that meant we could get on and off the bus all day for that price. Our plan is to oneday do that, and just explore as many little towns we come to. We decided to go to Margate first just to check out the beach. The bus was really interseting, it was a double decker and we sat in the front on the top. Sitting up there with the big window in front of us was like riding a roller coaster. The bus driver was driving completely crazy. There were so many times I thought we were going to run over the cars in front of us. At one point we screamed because we thought we hit the car in front of us. The drive was gorgoeus. I had no idea we would drive through the countryside to get to the beach. It reminded me a lot of home. It was very open with rolling hills. The cows we saw were HUGE beef cows. I still get all confused on the roads how everything is backwards and they drive on the oppsite side in the car. I think I would be able to drive over here fine, but it would definately be another adventure!
Margate is a nice town. It is a little smaller than Canterbury and not as historic. There were many clubs and casnio life. It reminded me of Atlantic City with a Gatlinburg twist. It was more family like than Atlantic City, but so empty. When walking around I felt like I was in a movie. The town was so empty, but seems like it comes to life during the summer season. A lot of movies are filmed during off season at the beach and that is what it felt like. If I were filming a movie I would definately be filming it at Margate during that time. One part of the beach was under construction, but that didn't harm the beauty of the English Channel. We arrived in the morning so it was still low tide. I am so glad we came then, because we were able to find some shells. The shells we found were completely full crab shells. The ones that you put next to your hear and hear the ocean. I collected about 6 or 7. We were the only ones on the empty beach. It gave you the feeling to just open your arms and spin around like you were living fairy tale in England. The smell of the ocean and fresh air felt so good. I was so happy to escape from the city for a while. This is the first time here in England I felt relaxed and comfortable. I was able to discover myself and let all of the homesick feelings that I had disappear. I have been so worried about money on this trip, and here I decided that I was just going to let all worries lose. And they are. I left the scared worried thoughts carry out in the cold waves. We walked among the beach for miles. It was so empty. There were these huge piles of rocks and dried up coral. You might think that desscribing it as dried up coral it would be hidious, but this was actually really pretty. We walked around the rocks barefoot, and took some pictures. I really loved this. My favorite kind of beaches are the deserted ones that just have the random rocks to make it beautiful. Also there were walls around the beach and all of these were chalk walls. It was really unique. I took some of the chalk back with me. We ended up walking on the bicycle path. I read that there is about a 13 mile bicycle race in Oct. there. There were a few people riding bikes and people walking there dogs. As much as I don't like dogs, I really do like the dogs here. The dogs here have a more classical look. Most of them are shaved really nicely and walk with class. Unlike a lot of American dogs that have a lazy personality. I never thought I would be examining dogs in all my years haha. The beach was so cold but I think that is one of the things I liked best about it. The cold and me wearing my sweatshirt and jeans, made the experience completely different than all my other beach experiences. Kaitlyn and I sat for about 45 mintues just starring out at the English Channel. There were huge fishing boats. I wondered what they were fishing for. It might have been oysters or something like that. We walked about 2 hours in one direction til we were almost at the town Westgate. When we turned around we high tide was hitting. The waves were coming up the bike path extremely high. I could tell that if you feel in the currents and freezing water would kill you in an instance. When we got to the steps that we climbed up on earlier I got a picture of her. Where we were walking on the beach earlier and walking on the rocks was probably about 20 feet deep now. It was crazy. The picture is Kaitlyn standing more than half way down the steps and the water about to hit her feet.
We were so cold and hungry by the time we got back into the town. There was this kiddie playground area. The rides were colorful and machine operated. Everything was closed. There was also a little beach cafe right at the beach. We stopped there and got chicken and chips. (Chips is what they call french fries) they called the chicken southern fried. That's one of the reasons we were craving it. It was actually really good. We were one of the only people eating there. I was so tired on the bus ride home. This day has probably been my favorite day so far in England. I'm ending this post with a bible verse that I found in my backpack while I was there. It is from a little card that me Kaitlyn, and Grandma found on our way back from Knoxville one time when it was raining and we were all crying and upset. This quote is cleared my mind that day and definately did today too while I was at the beach. " Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about and watching everything that concerns you. 1 Peter 5:7

Monday, September 20, 2010

Unexpected Events

Some of the best travel expereinces are when you have no idea what you are doing. When you have one map or not even a map at all and know nothing about the place you are at. I would have never imagined I would ever have an experience like that. I am the type of person who plans and worries until everything is correct. I think living in England is changing me for good. Over here they live free. They seem to have no worries and just have fun. They live life how many Americans should be living each day for itself. Everyone I have met and hung out with has been like that and I love it. The English people I have met so far have been some of the nicest people. They welcome us all in. They are in love with Americans and our accents, just like we are in love with theirs. It has only been a week and I think that this is one of the best decision I think I have ever made for my life.
A group of 6 of us girls went to London for the first time Saturday. It was amazing. The day was complete. We sat down Friday night and tried to start planning. It was not much success. We ended up finding the cheapest way there and that was the bus. It cost about 16 pounds round trip and was about an hour and half drive. We took the early bus at 8:30 and took the late bus back to Canterbury at 10:00. It was a long day, but that gave us enough time to walk around the city and see almost everything. When we got there we looked around and were lost immediatley. Six American girls standing in a bus station in London with no map. One of the girls Alaina ended up buying one so we realized that we were on Buckingham Palace road and we started walking hoping we would see the palace. We saw that Piccadilly Circus was a few blocks up from that too. We were all too excited to even think. The only thing that kept going through my head was "I can't believe that I am actually standing in London." I have always dreamed of the day that it would happen, but never at all knew the day would actually come. Still while I am writing this I can't believe that I am over here. I don't know if this feeling will ever leave my head until I get back home and look at my pictures over and over again. Well as we were walking down the streets there were so many beautiful buildings. I started snapping pictures! I have so many! When we started getting closer to Buckingham Palace there were some shops. The most eleguent things were sold in these shops. Of course I didn't have enough money to buy anything, but to me it's still amazing to look at it. We ate lunch just outside Palace. There was a lot of comotion going on. People were all lined up by the gates, and there was a ceremony going on inside. It looked like little girl scouts doing something with the guards. They were the ones with the big black top hats and the red jackets. We couldn't see over people so we kept walking. Everytime I passes a big gate I would quickly snap a picture hoping one would come out ok. The police made us walk so fast. We couldn't stand still. It was seriously like one second glance in. I could actually see what was going on better by looking at my pictures. When I looked at the first one I was like awesome. This is what we just saw!!! As we walked away from the Palace Kaitlyn told me she overheard someone say that the queen was coming in. I wish we would have stayed to see it, but hey, we can say we were there for a while! The big park outside of the Palace gates was gorgeous. It was lined with maybe maple tress in straight lines, and the cutest british people. We saw an adorable older couple. They made me so happy. I saw them trying to figure out how to work their cell phone. When we walked out of the park there was a display of art. A few girls bought a piece. It was all so life like. There were pictures of London with big ben, the beach, and even flowers. There was picture of a big sunflower field and I wanted so bad to buy it for my mom, but it was too expensive. It reminded of home so much. There was a time we went to our farm in Orlinda and saw a huge sunflower field, and this picture looked exactly like it.
As we continued walking we were hoping we were going toward Piccadilly circus. We passed a famous park I forgot what it was called, but when Alaina said the name I was like oh yea! We went through this block long upscale shopping area, and Shannon said that it was in the movie Parent Trap. I think it was. I kept thinking about the Mary Kate and Ashley movies that I used to watch and I felt like them. I even thought about the Amanda Bynes movie What a Girl Wants. We found Piccidilly Circus and it looked a lot like time square in New York. I loved it. It was busy. There were theatres everywhere. They were playing everything from Mulan Ruge, Grease and even Mamma Mia. Kaitlyn and I are going to try and see if we have enough money to go see Mamma Mia. I hope so. We went into this cool Britian store, and when we entered there were clowns dressed in all Britian clothing blowing horns at everyone. They were cute. I was so tempeted to buy something in the store. I walked around with a lunch box and Kaitlyn walked around with cute bag, but we ended up not buying anything. We kept on walking past Piccadilly Circus not knowing if the direction we were going was right, but we ended up i guess in the middle of London at the fountians and Art Muesum. Oh yea, I forgot that we went into an Art Institute earlier and just sat there like lazy Americans for about 20 minutes. I did a lot of thinking then, and I am considering maybe going to graduate school in London and studying art or fashion. I will see. I have no idea what the future holds. But when we were at the fountians. There were two big ones and then a staute with Lions that everyone sits on and takes pictures, and big ship in a bottle. It was all so cool. We walked in the free art muesum and the paintings were beautiful. I found that I really liked Gainsborough. There were two paintings that he had of where he painted his two young daughters. It just reminded me of Kaitlyn and me. That was my favorite piece of art I saw in the museum. In this area of London there were many of the personators who stand completely still for people to see. These were dressed in all silver. We went into a little bakery like store that sold all natural food and got a drink and something to snack on since we were starving. The coke had sugar instead of corn syrp. I liked it better. When we went back outside. There was a huge rally going on across the road. It was like a protest against the pope. Some of the signs said Nope Pope, and every little thing that you think could go wrong with the pope. I really had no idea people were against the pope. They were all so creative. We ended up at a building that had the guards that didn't talk. We got a picture at with him. It was kinda weird because I saw his eyes glance over at me when we were taking a picture. There was another little park we went to and this one had a small cottage. It was the wild life cottage for the birds. There was a little man there who played with all of the squarriels. He would feed them peanuts and they climbed right on him. They would climb up his legs and arms like he was a tree. It was crazy. There was blocked pathway with a bunch of police men standing so we asked one what was going on and he said around 6 the Pope was going to come down the road. We looked at the time and it was like 515, so I was like we are going to definately come back and see the Pope. We walked up the Big Ben and Parliement and saw the London Eye. It was spectualar. Then we heard a lot of screaming and carrying on so we walked up the road the the rally that we saw earlier that was against the Pope was all together and they were giving speeches. We stayed and listened to them for a while. At that point I realized that I was totally against everything they were saying. The road was blocked with huge mercendes police vans, and helicpoters were flying over everywhere. We then walked over the the pathway that the Pope was going to come down and stood for about 30 minutes waiting. It really wasn't that crowed at all. The crowd was calm compared to Chicago crowds. We were standing at the gate, and there wasn't any pushing or shoving. Behind us there was this adorable British family. Mom, Dad, two little girls about 2 and 3 and a little boy about 6. The little girls were playing ring around the rosy over and over and there little accents where so cute. It was about 20 past 6 when the vans started to pull up. One pulled up right in front of us and a man in a black and red gown came rushing out. We thought it was the Pope at first. This man moved so fast. It was a split second and he was out of the van and under the archway in the buliding. Then all of a sudden a car pulls out of the archway and in this open float like car. The Pope came out. It was amazing. He was just waving to the crowd. All of these were so unexpected amazing events that made my first trip to London a success. We all decided to start walking back to the bus station. I wasn't sure how to get back just knew we had to pass the fountains, Piccidilly Circus, paintings, the park and Buckingham Palace. When we were walking through the park it was like a horror movie. This big empty park and us walking down the the middle of pathway. Buckingham palace was so beautiful at night. We sat at the statue outside the Palace for about 45 minutes. We climbed up on it. I like how in London you can do that on certain statues. It felt like I was in movie. I was so tired on the bus I feel fast asleep until we were back in Canterbury. Unexpected Events lead to the best adventures, and I know that the rest of my experience abroad will be filled with many more full days like this.