Category Archives: travel

Visiting the Churchill War Rooms in London

I visited the War Rooms a few months back and sadly did not take the time to write up a full review at that time. It’s been long enough now that I remember very little of it. So I will simply say …

If you are interested in Winston Churchill or World War II, or if you are detail-driven and studious, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time here. The Churchill Museum, an installation about the life of Winston Churchill that’s located inside the War Rooms, is thoroughly fascinating. It is highly detailed, interactive, and enthralling, and an interested person could easily spend 2–3 hours on that alone, let alone the War Rooms.

Visiting Durham Cathedral

I recently went to Durham, with the sole purpose of visiting the cathedral there. Durham Cathedral was originally founded by a group of Anglo-Saxon monks as the final resting-place for the remains of St Cuthbert, an important Anglo-Saxon bishop and, later, saint. After they established the cathedral in the crook of the River Wear, a town inevitably grew up around it. The cathedral still houses the remains of St Cuhtbert, as well as those of Bede and the head of St Oswald—all significant figures in Anglo-Saxon history and culture.

The original Anglo-Saxon cathedral was demolished after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the Normans then rebuilt the church in the style they were used to from the Continent. Durham Cathedral is today one of the most magnificent examples of Norman architecture (called Romanesque architecture on the Continent) in the entire world, and it easily rivaled my visit to the Abbaye aux Hommes, commissioned by  William the Conqueror himself, in Caen a few years back.

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Alton Towers: The Big 6 Challenge

My university halls of residence had a special offer at the beginning of April: free tickets and transportation to Alton Towers theme park. It was limited (first 50 people), and since this was on my Level Up list and I’d missed out on some of these offers before, I signed up immediately.

Alton Towers is one of the most popular theme parks in the UK. It has several areas, from pirate-themed Mutiny Bay to kid-oriented CBeebiesLand and Cloud Cuckoo Land to thrill-focused X-Sector. They are preparing to launch a campaign for this summer (running from May to September) centered on their six most popular roller coasters, called the “Big 6 Challenge.” The idea is to download an app and then ride all 6 roller coasters in one day (presumably keeping track using the app). Since it hasn’t officially started yet, I couldn’t do the challenge officially, but I decided to scope out these “big 6” rides anyway.

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Good Friday at Winchester Cathedral

As a student of Anglo-Saxon literature, I’m always interested in getting a sense of the world those Anglo-Saxons inhabited—indeed, that’s one of the reasons I came to England to study. So in that pursuit, I wanted to visit Winchester, which was the headquarters of Alfred the Great and, about a century later, the center of monastic reform in England. It was at the cathedral in Winchester that Ælfric, later abbot of Eynsham, was educated as a young monk—and since I am studying a text a he wrote, this only heightened my interest.

A few days before my visit, I realized that I would arriving on Good Friday and therefore decided to attend the three-hour service at the cathedral. Continue reading Good Friday at Winchester Cathedral