Friday, 1 November 2013

Kenilworth Castle and Coventry

So I guess I’m getting consecutively shittier at blogging. Sorry.

Last weekend we had a group trip to Kenilworth Castle and Coventry. Both of them were on my list of places to go to!!! I’m so lucky. Bob just seems to keep picking trips to places I want to go! Free trips what what?!

Kenilworth Castle was great—it was this beautiful castle, dating back to the 1100s that was used through the years by the Normans, John of Gaunt, Henry V, and finally Robert Dudley. Obviously this last one was the main reason I wanted to go here. Robert Dudley made elaborate (and very expensive) improvements to the castle, including a beautiful garden, in order to try to finally win Elizabeth I over and convince her to marry him. She visited in 1575 for nineteen days and it was basically Dudley’s last attempt to marry her. She (as we all know) never did marry, and Dudley then married Lettice Knollys (who actually was related to Elizabeth). It’s such a sad and romantic story and being there was great.

Kenilworth Castle ruins

The castle is in ruins now (they blew it up in the Civil War) but it was still awesome! They have a recreation of the Elizabethan Garden, looking exactly like it would have when Elizabeth visited. I wish we had had more time, or that I had been on my own, because there were a lot of walking paths that I would have liked to explore—the area is beautiful. After that, we got back on the bus and went to Coventry, which was pretty close by.

The main reason I wanted to go to Coventry was because of the cathedral. During WWII, Coventry was heavily damaged by the Germans and basically just devastated. During the Blitz, November 14 1940, the city was so heavily bombed that the cathedral collapsed and was essentially destroyed. The Germans coined a new word, coventrieren, which meant to flatten. Ouch. To me, Coventry has always been one of those symbols of British resilience and strength. Especially during WWII, when Britain stood alone. Something about that kind of strength never fails to make me cry. It was amazing.

The ruins of the old cathedral are so stunning and beautiful and sad. Apparently after the bombing, someone saw that two charred beams had fallen down into the shape of a cross—the Charred Cross is on display inside the new cathedral, and there is a replica still in the ruins. The whole story of the cathedral is just so touching. The new cathedral was finished in the 1960s, with a beautiful stained glass window and huge tapestry. Countries from all over seemed to help and give materials to Coventry for the cathedral—Sweden, Norway, Canada, Germany, France. It was beautiful to think of how this building helped unite people. It was just beautiful. I’m so glad I finally got to go here! Maybe I did a really bad job of explaining it. But it was just really emotional.

Inside the ruins of the old Coventry cathedral
Not much else is exciting. I live in England and that’s cool. Classes are good but hard. I’m really enjoying both of them though! I’ve been going to Russian lessons every week, which are hard but I can tell it’s really good practice, and it gets a little better every time. Hopefully if I’m speaking it regularly I won’t forget everything! Tomorrow I’m going on an adventure to Bosworth Battlefield. We’ll see if I make it there, it will be a journey. I have one more week (but since I have a reading/project week for my two classes, I won’t actually have class) and then we’re going on our group trip to London! November is going to be a very very busy month!

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