I miss England. I was only there for two weeks, and I know I didn't really get to experience all that much, but I still miss it. It's beautiful there. Like nothing I've ever seen. It was like being inside a movie. The mountains in the lake district are like another planet. Growing up in the suburbs and now living in a college town, you don't really grasp the concept of "mountains". Hills are a big deal where I come from. It's surreal. I didn't know places like that still existed in the world. We climbed a mountain when we were there, and there was a small break half way up with a lake where we stopped to eat lunch. There was cloud cover but the water was still shining. I don't think I've ever seen grass that green either. I remember thinking, "What I wouldn't give to be able to stay here." and I wish I could have. The lake district was absolutely beautiful, but that's not all England had to offer.
I'm a religious person. I believe in God, and if that bothers you then you can screw off. I don't care what you believe, but I don't think anyone can deny how beautiful cathedrals are. Massive, sweeping ceilings, stained glass that paints the walls a thousand colors, the way they just take sound and throw it everywhere, and not to mention all of the art. When I was in England, we visited several churches but the two famous ones were the best by far, and I miss those too. If you've never been to Westminster Abbey, put it on your bucket list. Hell, put it on your "Stuff To Do ASAP" list. It's on my "Stuff To Do Again" list for sure. That place was impressive from the outside, but once you step in and you see that high ceiling and you see all of the statues and markers, it just takes your breath away. The Poets Corner is amazing. To see all of those writers that I idolized, all of those great people from ages past, was just indescribable. Walking through the halls and seeing all of the statues of dead kings and famous people was fascinating. I remember asking my dad over and over again, "Dad, what's that? Who's that? What is that for? Explain it to me. Why?" I was fifteen, but I felt like a child again.
I had a similar feeling when we visited the York Minster. Not quite as big, but still very impressive. There was more stained glass that I remember there. The whole place was absolutely beautiful. The coolest thing about it though was that we could climb to the top. It was nothing grand or pompous, just a very steep, very tall spiral staircase that was really fun climbing up, but terrifying to clamber down. I was exhausted when we got to the top, but it was worth that view. You could see half of York from up there. The occasional cobbled street, all the shops, the cathedral stretching out underneath you with its flying architecture, and that fantastic wall that surrounded half the city. All of it was beautiful.
Maybe the most compelling thing I saw though, was the cliffs around Hadrian's Wall near Hexham where we visited some of my dads friends. We were there around sunset, and the terrain is mountainous and you can see everything. We could see the wall stretching out in front of us, only a few feet high. It wound its way over the countryside like the ribbon a little girl holds when she dances. I would've given anything to just stand on the edge of one of those cliffs, stretch out my arms, and just let the wind blow my hair around. I like movie scenarios. I wish my life could be like that.
The thing that really blew me away about England, and about all of Europe for that matter, is that it has so much history. Here in the United States we have our history but really not that much in the grander scheme of things. The absolute oldest structures you'll find here are from maybe the late 1600's. In England, there are buildings dating back to the 1100's and way earlier. I can't even imagine that. I want to know it though. British history is on my list of classes I have to take eventually. All of that history is just fascinating, and you can still see it everywhere all over Europe.
Everything there is so full of beauty and history, and I guess I could just use a little bit of beauty in my life right now. Couldn't we all though?