Thursday, November 27, 2014

Return to the Mothership Parts 1, 2, and 3





Den Haag: Municipal Museum.


It seems as if every time I return to the Netherlands, I return home. 

Ireland and the Car Ride from Hell


Trinity College, Dublin: The highlight of our tour at Trinity College was certainly its brilliant library. Constructed in the 18th century it houses the Book of Kells, a 9th century copy of the gospel, and the Long Room, a square piece of heaven housing 200,000 of the Library's oldest books. 

Trinity College Dublin.

The Long Room was built between 1712 and 1732.

Malahide Castle, Dublin.

Bog Men, The National Museum of Ireland: Creepy yet somehow satisfying. They are so well preserved that you can see their fingerprints or count the hairs on their heads. (This is of course dependent upon whether or not they have hands and/or heads.)  


Abbey Rievaulx: Nestled on the hillside the abbey still stands even after its forced abandonment in the reign of King Henry VIII of England in 1538. Founded in 1132 by Cistercian monks, at its peak the abbey was granted land totaling 6,000 acres and contained 72 building to house its monks, cooks, and servants. I cannot even begin to describe its beauty even in its current state of "ruins". I have immense respect for those stone layers who overtime built a structure that even mother nature has a difficult time deteriorating. 

North York Moors: The purple bush is called heather and is able to grow due to the abundant level of free grazing sheep that call the land their home. The moors were completely forested in 2000 BC but over a 1,400 year period of human inhabitation, the moors became an area for agriculture that included farming and raising livestock.  

Whitby: The town is most famously known as the setting for Bram Stoker's Dracula but is also recognized for its majestic Abbey and seaside charm. The town also claims to be the origin of the famous English dish called fish and chips (deep fried freshly caught fish and french fries). Salt and vinegar are the most common topper for this dish. 

"We have to fix our hair!"
Stonehenge: Rocks, strew on the ground or even meticulously carved into shapes, are not necessarily my cup of tea. When they create beautiful architecture or allow me to walk unimpeded then I think, "Yea, thanks rocks. You, dear I say it, rock".  My lack of appreciation however received a severe blow when we had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge. As if somehow to prove I have been missing much when I run through the rock section at museums, these upright stones took my breathe away.

Salisbury Cathedral: This is an amazing cathedral built in (who would have guessed) the city of Salisbury. A popular legend says that its location was chosen by the shooting of an arrow. Unfortunately no one told the deer population and the new church began construction on the site where the arrow killed an unlucky passing deer.  The cathedral houses the best surviving copy of the four original copies of the Magna Carta. It also has the tallest church spire in the UK at 404 feet and weighing 6,397 tons (YIKES). 

For generations, choister initiation has occurred by bumping the head of the new members on the above stone. 
Bath: No surprise here that the most well known feature of this city are its Roman baths. A temple was constructed in the vicinity between 60 AD to 70 AD and the baths were built over the next 700 years. 

Kenilworth Castle: Now in ruins, this castle was used as Robert Dudley's final attempt for Queen Elizabeth I's hand in marriage. 

I really enjoy the fact that you can tell where the floors used to be based upon the position of the fireplaces. 

Scarborough Castle: Dating from the 1150s, the castle has been used to guard the Yorkshire coastline and defend the Scarborough harbor among many other things. It has laid in ruins since the English Civil  War (1642 - 1651) when the castle went under siege for five months that resulted in the destruction of a majority of the keep.

Whitby Abbey: I had the privilege to visit this Abbey with my Dutch relatives, Tante Jifke and Om Alex. The abbey began in the year of 657 AD headed by the abbess Lady Hilda. The abbey was laid waste in 867 and 870 by the Danes. It stayed abandoned for nearly two hundred years until its reconstruction by a monk named Reinfrid. The site remained a place of worship and trade until 1540 when the Abbey was destroyed by Henry VIII in his "Dissolution of the Monasteries".

The car ride from Hell reference refers to driving on the wrong side of the road for nearly a week. My mother did a great job but I think the experience took 10 or so years off our lives.