Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Next Adventure

I leave Harlaxton tomorrow. It’s one of those feelings that you can’t really describe. Part of me knows I’ll miss this manor, with its secret staircases and classrooms adorned with gold. I’ll miss drinking tea and eating flapjacks (which, in the UK, are oak bars— not pancakes!). I’ll miss taking runs around Harlaxton Village, passing the picturesque stone houses and fields of dandelions. I’ll miss saying “cheers” instead of “thank you.” I’ll miss being able to feel sophisticated and mature when ordering a glass of wine at dinner. I’ll miss the travel, and the friends I’ve made here— especially the ones returning to different universities, that I may never see again.

Sitting with friends and enjoying Harlaxton's secenery.

There will be some things I won’t miss, though— like the currency exchange rate, or my purchases always taking extra time because of my American credit card. I won’t miss the rainy weather, or the language barrier between British and American English. Most of all, though, I won’t miss always missing my boyfriend, family, and friends. If anything could’ve made my experience at Harlaxton better, it would’ve been having the people I love here with me.

The biggest element of a semester at Harlaxton is travel— so, it seems only fitting to end it with my top five favorite trips. I’ve chosen these out of all the countries I’ve been to (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany). These five— in no particular order— hold memories that are irreplaceable.
1.      Killarney, Ireland
The scenery was simply breath-taking. I’ve seen many beautiful places, both in Europe and back in America, but nothing compares to this.
View from Blarney Castle.



2.      York, England
This town embodies everything British: outdoor food and clothing markets, classic architecture, and wonderful tea shops.
Tea time at Betty's Tea Shop.


View of the water at sunset.

Inside the beautiful York Minister.
3.      Inverness, Scotland
The Loch Ness was simply stunning, and perfect for a boat cruise. I made a wonderful friend here, who was originally from New Zealand but was traveling around Europe. My friends and I had a great time getting to know her, comparing our different cultures, and having fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day together!

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Georgia, our new friend from New Zealand!

View of the water from Urquhart Castle.

Enjoying our cruise on the Loch Ness!

4.      Paris, France

This is the city of food. I can easily say the best food I’ve ever had has come from Paris: escargot, orange glazed duck, chocolate éclairs, crepes, crème brulee, fresh bread… And while devouring these delicacies, you can walk around the wonderfully historic city, passing landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame.
A delicious chocolate eclair!

The best creme brulee.

Having a nice lunch outside while enjoying a glass of white wine.

Duck glazed in oranges, with roasted potatoes and green breens.

My favorite place at night was the Eiffel Tower: at the start of every hour, a fabulous light show would start, lighting up the sky.
video

5.      Lincoln, England

Lincoln is full of architecture and history: it holds a beautiful cathedral with breathtaking stained glass windows— and if that weren’t enough, it’s across from an 11th century castle sitting on a hill. Lincoln holds special memories for me, as my British friends attend Lincoln University. I met them on a Christian retreat in February, and now I’ve visited Lincoln twice to see them. I spent my last weekend in England staying in Lincoln with my friend Rachel, who graciously let me stay at her flat and invited me to church the next morning. My friends in Lincoln will be my last ties to England after I leave, and I’m so thankful to have met them.  
My friend (also named Rachel) and I playing in the snow!

Enjoying a cup of tea with great company.

Walking the streets of Lincoln together.

Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy Sunday.

While there’s definitely some sadness in leaving, I’m ready to begin the next phase of my life. Traveling abroad has made me so appreciative of my home, where I come from, and the people I’ve been blessed with. Going back to America doesn’t mean that all my adventures have to end— if anything, I feel like they’re just beginning.

Love,
Rachel

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Great candid glimpses through the eyes of a traveling college student. Cheers!

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  2. Thanks Rachel for doing such a wonderful job of sharing your memorable adventures. Indeed, I feel as though I was there with you, looking over your shoulder. I will definately miss your blog from across the pond.

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