Okay, okay I know everyone is probably sick of me saying that this is amazing and that is amazing, but really that is the only way to describe England. Maybe I need to expand my vocabulary, but until I do amazing will have to suffice.
This week we went to the north of England specifically Liverpool, Preston, the Lake District, Haworth, and Chatsworth. As always, it was amazing, but the thing I loved most about this trip was how different each day was. There were very spiritual, beautiful, and fun things that I saw and felt.
Our first stop was the Quarry Bank Mill. We took a tour of the mill and were able to see all the different machines that were used during the Industrial Era. I had always wondered how fabric was made and now I know! But more importantly than that I really learned a lot about my heritage. A lot of my ancestors from my dad's side are from a town called Oldham in Lancashire. Oldham was completely dedicated to cotton factories. I most likely had ancestors who worked in these factories and it was an amazing experience to see what their lives would be like. They would work twelve hour days in noisy, polluted, and dangerous conditions. I can't even imagine working for that long, and it puts my 8 hour office job to shame. I can't believe I ever complained about sitting behind a desk all day! It made me so grateful for the things that I have and all my many blessings.
Our next stop was Liverpool, home of the Beatles! Yay. We visited the Cavern Club which was the first place they played at and reveled in the Beatleness of Liverpool. It was fun.
The best part of the day was the Liverpool Docks. These docks are where all of the Latter Day Saint converts left to go to America. I was able to see where my ancestors left from to give their posterity a better life. They gave up their homes, their friends, and everything they knew for their faith. It was so amazing to look at the same body of water that they looked at and contemplate the sacrifices that they made for me. I am so grateful for their sacrifice so that I can be able to have the blessings of the gospel in my life.
The Liverpool docks at night. It started raining and we got so soaked shortly after this. I love the England rain!
This picture is next to the statue that the church donated and commemorates all the families that left from Liverpool.
After Liverpool we went to the Preston Temple. It is so beautiful. We admired the beauty of the temple and I played ring around the rosie with Francis, Professor Benfell's darling daughter. She says it's okay to color even though I am almost nineteen years old. I tend to agree.
We then took a tour of Preston, which is the first place that the missionaries taught in Britian. I learned a ton about the history of the church in this area and saw the place where the first baptisms took place. It was really great to see how the church developed in England and all the amazing miracles that took place.
This is the River Ribble. The first converts to the church were baptized under that bridge... well at least that's what they think. The bridge has been rebuilt. But they were baptized in the River Ribble.... River Ribble, has a nice ring to it huh?
The next day was one of the best days, among all of my many best days. We went to the Lake District, which is one of the the 1000 Places to See Before You Die. So I guess now I can check it off the the list. It is such a beautiful area. I really loved it and would love to own a home there (I guess I'll have to have a bunch of summer homes in England). The whole Lake District is filled green rolling hills and mountains. There are little creeks running everywhere and sheep just roaming about. I love sheep. The lakes are so beautiful and realllllllllly cold. I would know. We went swimming on our first night. I guess I should have figured that my skin would be numb after getting out, after all the lake is glacier fed. But it was really fun and was one of my favorite parts of the trip. And don't worry mom I am not sick, and did not catch my death or anything. This is the view of the lake from our hostel.... it's okay I guess :)
The Lake District is home to some famous people. We visited Henry Wordsworth's cottage. It was really adorable and unfortunately I hadn't ever read Henry's poetry... shame on me. I do like it now though and am adding that to my to read list when I get home. We also visited Beatrix Potter's home, called Hilltop Farm. It was as cute as all her stories... and would be the perfect place for a lady like Beatrix Potter to live. I saw Peter Rabbit's garden too!
I thought it would be cute to do bunny ears for Peter Rabbit. Some people weren't as enthusiastic as me I guess.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Ambelside, which is the town we were staying in. Almost all of the buildings in the town are made with the grey stone and there are all these stone walls everywhere, some of them are hundreds of years old. I loved it. We ate at this cute restaurant named Lucy's On a Plate and I had the most delicious macaroni and cheese and lemon cake. It was so good. Then we found a trail to a waterfall, just off the road in the middle of town. I love exploring. After our waterfall adventure we went back and had the real "hostel experience." We made friends with the hostel workers and had a jam session. My friend Holly is so amazing and sang some of her songs... she is going be discovered one day. It was just an all around good day. I have had so many of those here. Days where there is nothing you can complain about and you go to bed completely content. I love it.
These are some of my friend here. Alex, Jordyn, Sara, Me, Rebbie, Brooke, and Marin.
Our last stop was Chatsworth and we saw yet another amazing palace. Seriously. They are like a dime a dozen here. Well not really, but there are a lot, and they are all so amazing. They filmed that new movie the Duchess here, which I haven't seen. So I will have to see that. The whole palace was filled with beautiful art, decoration, and sculpture. This particular palace was neat because the current residents, the Duke and Duchess of something or other have a bunch of their art there as well. It was kind of fun to see the new art mixed with the old art, and just fun to see the art in general.
After Chatsworth we had a nice long bus ride... like four hours. So that was fun. The bus and I have become very good friends this past month. This week was so great for so many reasons. I really learned so much about my heritage and my faith. It was such an amazing experience to learn about the lives of my family and what they sacrificed, and also the history of my church. The lake district was fun and beautiful. This whole experience has been so amazing and I can't believe I still have two whole months! I don't know how can get any better... but I have a feeling it will.