Wednesday, January 28, 2009

London: Day Six

This was the day I had been looking forward to all week! Brandon had rented a car and we were going to the country! The English countryside, people, the English countryside!

But I woke up feeling worse than the night before. I hadn't gotten much sleep because I was so uncomfortable, and so finally, around 9AM, I sent Brandon to the pharmacy for some...umm...fiber. Yeah. See, I had indigestion, but the reverse kind, get the picture. It was misery!
Brandon brought me the stuff, I took some, showered, got dressed, and it worked! The stuff he brought me worked!
A little too well.
But it was okay! Because I was so determined to see the stuff I wanted to see, and Brandon had gone to the trouble of renting a car. So we left after 10AM and headed West.
I slept part of the way, but seeing the landscape change from busy streets and crowded buildings to spread-out farmland and sheep-filled pastures was wonderful! Brandon was a genius with the car and I only freaked out a few times when he drifted towards the wrong lane --remember? They drive on the Left instead of the Right. It was an adventure!
Okay, maybe I freaked out a little too much. Meh.
Finally we reached our destination. What was our destination? Behold! Our destination:
Stonehenge was awesome. It was actually smaller than I thought it was going to be, but it was awesome nonetheless. It was terribly cold --the wind was very sharp --but we still managed to enjoy our walk around it (the audio tour was way cool). Seriously, it was awesome!

After we finished the tour, we decided to grab some food. Luckily for me, my appetite was starting to come back (and there were toilets nearby!). We ate our lunch in the car because there were only outdoor tables (we just ate at the little counter/cafe place at Stonehenge) and like I said, it was soooo cold!
Our next stop was a bit harder to find. Brandon entered in the address on his phone, but he decided to take the long way so I could see more villages and country roads. We got lost a few times (try reading GPS directions on a cell phone while driving in a foreign country sometime), but we finally found the place:

What? You don't know this place? How could you not know this place? This is none other than JANE AUSTEN'S HOUSE.
This is where she lived with her sister and mother for about 8 years, and where the majority of her novels were written. I had to come here! Had to! Of course, they wouldn't allow cameras inside the house (which is a museum), so you'll have to do with outdoor pictures (although they were doing renovations, so we couldn't see the outdoor buildings, but we got in for a cheaper price!). It was so wonderful! I saw letters from Jane, pictures, dishes, tables/desks (like the one she wrote on. The one she wrote on!!), and all kinds of things from those years. They had more memorabilia of Jane's relatives than of Jane herself, but this was because Jane had no heirs to pass her stuff onto (neither did her sister), but her brothers did. It was seriously so cool. That's all I can say about it.
In the gift shop, I bought a copy of Northanger Abbey (I've never had my own) and a book of piano music from the A&E Pride and Prejudice and the Hollywood Sense and Sensibility. When we went outside, I picked a blade of grass for a friend (I had promised!) and Brandon smeared dirt on the front page of my book. Hooray! I now have dirt from Jane Austen's house. Morbid? Obsessed? Perhaps. But now every time I see that smudge, I'll remember where it came from.
So cool! Oh, here are the pictures:
After Jane Austen's house, we had just enough time to drive back to London to meet some friends. Brandon had a mission companion from Sydney (Brandon served in the Perth, Australia mission) and hadn't seen him since the mission (12 years?) but found out that he and his wife were living and working in London. In fact, Brandon ran into them at church (the Hyde Park Ward) his first Sunday in London. They invited us to go out to dinner with them Saturday night (which was day six, obviously). So, we met them at their flat. They live right along The Thames in Chiswick, and it was easy to find. We walked to an Italian restaurant and had a great dinner (where I could actually eat without feeling sick!), and then afterwards we spent more time at their place talking. They have lived all over the world as expats and it was fun to hear about their travels. Great people, these people!
Once again, we got back to the hotel extremely late and crashed into bed. The next day would be my last in London...


Julie said...

Can I just tell you that my heart is FLUTTERING???? Literally. It's a little weird.

Annette Lyon said...

Okay, I might have to stop reading these updates. Walking the English countryside is a lifelong DREAM of mine. To walk where Jane walked?! You're killing me!

(This is why I'm still annoyed that my little sister did semester abroad to England--and to this day, I don't think she's read Jane or any other significant English author. ARGH!)

Rochelleht said...

Heck, yea I know where that is! Isn't it the loveliest little village? So bummed you saw it in winter. Her garden is SOOOO beautiful. I'm glad you felt well enough to go because seriously, the countryside is the BEST!!!

And I still sneaked a pic of her writing desk. I just couldn't help myself!

Anonymous said...

I had to read this one! Every word! So jealous. But more happy for you.

flip flop mama said...

How freakin awesome!