The One about London that is Actually Written by Katie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by Jason

Good afternoon, readers!

First of all, let me say my name is not Jason Santiago. It’s actually Katie Shepherd, and I have written for the HMC Admissions blog in the past (look for posts by katieshepherd at this link). But this is true for only this blog post – you can look forward to reading more wisdom and knowledge from Jason very soon.

But for now, I’d like to tell you about my little trip to England over winter break.

big ben

“So how did you get to go to England?”, you may ask.

Well, one of the humanities classes offered at Mudd is Dickens, Hardy, and the Victorian Age, a class of 25 students that requires at least a slight interest in the novels of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Throughout the fall semester, we read through 8 Dickens and Hardy novels and discussed them as a class, all in anticipation of traveling to London and Dorset for two weeks. Of course, the trip was a wonderful complement and ending to the class – we visited numerous locations that were pictured by Dickens or Hardy when writing, and places where the authors resided during their lives…but the trip was more than that. It was a chance to explore an unknown place with an immense amount of history; we were given the opportunity to enhance our education by personally viewing what the authors viewed, sitting where they sat, and thinking about – you guessed it  - what they thought about.

Although it was the coldest weather I had ever experienced, the trip was AWESOME.

Here are some highlights of the adventure:

  • The Orienteering Exercise

Whether the intent was to excite or torture us, no one knows, but our professors organized what they called an “Orienteering Exercise” for the class to do. It was essentially a scavenger hunt for locations around the city of London, testing our knowledge of the tube system, the buses (double deckers!), and our eyesight. We were given about 4 hours to accomplish this task, and after speed walking all across the city for that amount of time, my team won! Here are some photos of the things we saw as we ran by:

This is Carling, admiring the old buildings. Each building seemed to be unique in some way. Amazing!
Ah, the Old Cheshire Cheese pub in London. We had one class meeting here!
This is part of the Victoria and Albert monument, across from the Victoria and Albert museum.
Hyde Park is a very large park near Buckingham Palace. This is a shot of just a part of it.
The Millennium Bridge
The Millenium Bridge. Anyone recognize this from Harry Potter? Eh?
Quite a cool looking building.
Quite a cool looking building.

As our promised spectacular prizes, my team received decks of cards with tube maps on them. Woooo!

  • The open spaces of Dorset

One of my favorite days on the trip involved a bus trip to the hills. The sun was out, which after feeling like you hadn’t seen it in a week was a relief, and there were sheep. SEVERAL SHEEP. Take a look:

Lovely!
Lovely!
OHHHH THE SUN.
OHHHH THE SUN.
MORE SUN.
MORE SUN.
Carling enjoyed herself on the hills.
Carling enjoyed herself on the hills.
Sheeeep.
Sheeeep.

Beautiful views. I loved it!

  • The Salisbury Cathedral tour

Although the professors were aware that the Salisbury Cathedral has really nothing to do with Dickens or Hardy, they wanted to take us on a tour of it anyway. We got to climb up LOTS of stairs to the highest point of the cathedral accessible by normal, unskilled people (those who could climb to the top were specially trained and actually climbed up the outside of the tower). We stayed inside for the most part, but at the highest point of our climb, we went out on a skinny ledge to catch some more great views. Don’t worry, there were railings. And it started snowing while we were on the ledge (no, it wasn’t cold! Not at all! *shivers uncontrollably*).

Here's the cathedral! We got as far up as the base of the cone!
Here’s the cathedral! We got as far up as the base of the cone!
The inside of the cathedral. It was built in the 13th century and it still looks like this. What the what??
The inside of the cathedral. It was built in the 13th century and it still looks like this. What the what??
With windows like these...
With windows like these…
Wow!
Wow!
But it's held up with pieces of wood like these.
But it’s held up with pieces of wood like these.
But the views!!
But the views!!
  • Stonehenge – a special close-up view

WE GOT TO VISIT STONEHENGE!! Typically they don’t let you onto the lawn with those incredibly old rocks, but they let our class get a special close look.

There it is! Woahhhh
There it is! Woahhhh
That's me! Do you see me? Behind the rock! Right there!
That’s me! Do you see me? Behind the rock! Right there!
These people are making a people-henge!
These people are making a people-henge!
Enjoying their time with the rocks.
Enjoying their time with the rocks.

These are just a few memorable moments of the trip, and sadly, you won’t see the rest right now. But hopefully from these few pictures you gained an insight into the dazzling time that was had by all in London…except the time that Mitul (seen in the middle of the photo above) was sick with chicken pox. Yeah, that happened.

THE END.