Monday, July 11, 2016

June 22 & 23

  1. Revisiting Herstmonceux Castle for the first time in four years!
  2. Tea at Chestnut's Tea Room
  3. Exploring the gardens
  4. A Midsummer Night's Dream
All the Details:
Herstmonceux Castle

Four years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to study at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle. Since arriving in London, visiting the castle again had been at the top of my list of things to do. I had even convinced my friend Melody, another student in my Library Science program, to join me in a day trip to East Sussex!
Herstmonceux Castle

We woke up and headed to the train station, but unfortunately missed our train by two minutes. The next train was scheduled to leave in 30 minutes, but after waiting for about 20 minutes we found out that that train was cancelled. We spoke to some of the station workers and ended up taking a different train to Brighton instead of directly to Polegate, which is closest to the castle. Once we made it to Brighton we took a train to Lewes and another train to Polegate where we met our taxi. It was so great to be in the English countryside again, watching the rolling hills and groups of sheep out the window of the taxi. When we made it to the castle I actually made Melody turn away from it until we had passed the trees, so that when she turned around she got the full view of the castle and moat. This had been the way I had gotten my first views of the castle four years ago on a coach from Heathrow airport, and I knew it was the best way to appreciate the beauty. I will admit that I got a little emotional seeing the place that I had spent six of the best weeks of my life.
First we took a tour of the castle. It was so much fun walking around and seeing the courtyard, classrooms, ballroom, and staircases that had been my home away from home. I also enjoyed the look on the faces of the other people on the tour when I told them that the dungeon they were seeing just happened to be under the floor of the classroom I spent most of my time in four years ago! After the tour, Melody and I were able to speak with the assistant librarian at the small castle library. She told us about how the library was currently focusing on weeding duplicate print materials and building up their online resources. Since the BISC is owned by Queen’s University in Canada, students at the castle have access to the same databases that Queen’s students use, as well as access to the castle library and University of Sussex library. The library also has silent study spaces in the reading room and a group space for students to work collaboratively. 
After exploring the castle, we had tea at Chestnut’s Tea Room and spent some time in the beautiful gardens. Melody was so nice about letting me reminisce and tell stories about my time at the castle. We walked through all the gardens, saw one of the peacocks, and spent some time enjoying the sun. Before heading back to London I was able to get some small souvenirs. When I studied at the castle I didn’t buy anything with the castle crest on it, which I have regretted for years, so I was happy to be able to buy a mug and tea towel. I loved being back at the castle for the day and our train ride back to London was much less eventful than our trip getting there!


The next day our class travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon with some other students from the British Studies program. After a long coach ride, we were ready for breakfast! We found a great restaurant that had great food, coffee, and tea. We then took some time to explore the town where the great playwright, William Shakespeare, grew up and raised a family. We had a limited amount of time, so we explored the shops and the cathedral where Shakespeare and his family were buried. Unfortunately, due to a lack of time and the high cost, we did not go into the home and birthplace of Shakespeare. We walked toward the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre and enjoyed the garden statues that honor the playwright and his characters. There was also a line of adorable small boats, all named for Shakespeare’s female characters. After exploring, we headed to the theatre to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream! The British Studies Program had gotten all of us tickets, and a few of us were lucky enough to sit front row! The show was amazing and hilarious, especially when the character Puck climbed over our row of seats and sat on us!
Boats named after Shakespeare's characters

No comments:

Post a Comment