I promised to write some full-length blogs in England, didn’t I? But then I wrote one about Italy and I guess I thought, “Enh, that’ll do. I’m going to see everyone in person in a couple weeks anyhow. And I’ll have unlimited internet when I’m at home and nothing interesting that I’ll feel like I’m missing.” But I owe you at least a quick update.
I’m in Oxford now; Sean thought Dave’s advice of going to see it sounded reasonably good, and it seemed like a nice place to me too. I just got in a couple hours ago, so the only thing I’ve done so far is walk along High Street (in the rain). Apparently a famous architectural historian called Oxford’s High Street “one of the world’s great streets” (this is from a plaque they put up along it), and it is pretty nice. About half the buildings are old and stone, and the other half are nice little restaurants or pubs or expensive-goods shops. I would’ve enjoyed it a bit more if they’d turned off the rain, though. I’m CouchSurfing again here, still getting to know my host, Judit from Germany. She’s out for groceries at the moment, so I can’t tell you what her studies here are in, but I know at least one thing she studies is Arabic.
I had a great time in the Southampton area with Sean as my guide and chauffeur. I owe him big next time he comes to America and I have a stable abode. The New Forest is around there, and I guess it’s fairly new compared to old-growth forests, but compared to a human or to a lot of the scrubby woods around the States, it’s ancient. It’s full of horses strolling around wild, the “New Forest ponies” (they’re full-size horses, they just call them ponies). Quite possibly as a result, the forest is made of giant, wizardy-looking old trees without much growing between them. They’re all covered in moss, both the living and the dead ones. One day I climbed up dozens of feet in the air in a particularly amazing tree. All around me I could see the deep green of the forest – that’s the moss, because all the leaves are on the ground at this time of year. It was humid and dark and I felt as though the trees could easily start walking at any point, to attack Isengard.
After this sojourn in Oxford, I’m headed to Wales, then back to Sean so we can go to Stonehenge for Yuletide (winter solstice), and then all that’s left is a couple more days in London. I already had two there, but I still haven’t seen the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, or Evensong at Westminster Abbey, or a bunch of other cool stuff. London is big, walking is slow, and the Tube is bloody expensive. Getting around to everything is tough. But I’ll get to things.