Monday, January 14, 2008

Photo-blog of Fall Semester at Harlaxton and Winter Break in Alaska and Kansas

[A picture-filled post, borrowed word-for-word from Katrina, describing our Fall 2007 semester at Harlaxton and our Winter Break in Alaska and Kansas. Preserving Kat's formatting, I shall list all the captions BELOW the pictures that they describe.]

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My humble home for one exciting semester! Otherwise known as Harlaxton Manor, a house built in the 18th century by Gregory Gregory in a fantastic baroque style and currently owned by the University of Evansville (hence my living there and taking classes there for a semester).



The Great Hall of Harlaxton Manor…



... with a crystal chandelier, the largest at the time (bought thanks to the chaos of the Spanish Civil War).



The Gold Room, once a music room, now used as one of our classrooms…



...filled with plenty of mischievous cherubs who fly around on the cloud-swirled ceiling trying to unscrew the chandelier!



The conservatory -- the largest one built at the time of the manor's construction -- serves as a beautiful light filled study-room that boasts not only of sunshine and views of the surrounding grounds but even of wireless internet access!





The grounds at Harlaxton… what a picturesque way to spend a semester! (Please don't hate me or send jealous thoughts my way!)



Bob, the local swan: despite possessing a broken wing, this swan does not hesitate to flap his way up the side of his lake waddling along with his awkward stride (swans are much more graceful floating along the water!), begging us to feed him more of the crackers he so thrives upon! And, unlike a usual swan who would mate for life, Bob likes to get a new girlfriend every year when he goes on a vacation during his lake's chlorine-cleaning!



A view of Harlaxton's bell tower that chimes out quarterly rings to berate its students with the loss of study-time, to lull them to sleep as the hours pass, and to hurry them to class as the first bells of the hour begin.



Fantastic sunsets whose beauty was enhanced by the surrounding towers and grounds!



Michael's and my first trip: to visit the cliffs that run along the shores of southern England in Dorset.



Local wildlife!



Cliffs in Dorset



Michael… slowly sinking into a haystack…



The most plentiful living creature in England (or so it seems), and once England's ticket to prosperity: sheep.



Our second trip, to several towns throughout Lake District…



Hiking in Keswick, Lake District



???!! Perhaps an abstract glorification of the brain???



Our very own fence-free Stonehenge! (Otherwise known as Castlerigg Stone Circle, near the town of Keswick.)



...Of course, our Stonehenge was slightly smaller than the original... i.e. the taller stones came up to our waists... Nonetheless, we did not fail to appease the native gods by duly performing the standard pagan-rituals involving our sacred 'life is good' Frisbee!



Looking down upon the lake outside of Grasmere in Lake District.



Our third trip, to Loch Lomond in Scotland, where we camped at a beautiful campsite directly overlooking this picturesque lake. However, the prospects did not seem quite so grand when arriving at night (i.e. unable to see or appreciate any picturesqueness) and having to set up our tent in the pouring rain...




Overlooking Loch Lomond...




Cascades in a beautiful river eventually leading into Loch Lomond...



Mossy trees springing out of the forest surrounding Loch Lomond...




The river we explored leading into the loch...



Remnants of a stone wall (another typical component of English countryside, having served as boundary markers and sheep fences) near the river leading into the loch...




the same river...



The first dawn Michael and I have ever watched together!



The first school day-trip to Lincoln where we were given tours of Lincoln Cathedral, a church originally built by the Normans after William the Conqueror's conquest of England in 1066 to serve as a dominating reminder of the new ruling power's authority.



Inside the cathedral: a striking example of the English Perpendicular gothic style...



Amazing! (A congregation of swans in the river flowing through Lincoln)



The second school day-trip to London, where we were given tours of St. Paul's Cathedral, the first specifically Anglican-built cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren to imitate and compete with St. Peter's Basilica in Rome...



View from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral



We got to watch Les Mis from some of the best seats in the theatre!



Our fourth trip, to Malta, a tiny country composed mainly of two islands (Malta and Gozo) off the coast of Sicily.



Malta boasts of the world's oldest free-standing monuments, from around 3,000 BC, thought to have served as temples housing a Mother Goddess Fertility cult. (This is Mnajdra temple on Malta)



Hagar Qim temple on Malta



Altar in Tarxien temple on Malta



Ggantija temples on Gozo...



...constructed with huge megaliths of local limestone moved into place using round stones and ropes...



altar in Ggantija temples



Typical Maltese countryside, strewn with terraces and odd stone structures...




A Maltese sunset!



Our apartment, ordered from hostelbookers.com!



A typical Maltese landscape: clusters of incredibly densely populated houses built out of local limestone, dominated by a towering domed Cathedral (Malta is 98% Roman Catholic)...



A red sand beach in northern Gozo (right next to Calypso's Cave!)




Wow!




Odd wind formations in the Maltese limestone...



Definitely well worth the long walk and the upcoming hitchhiking!



A view of Gozo's celebrated "azure window"!



Michael = smiling...
Katrina = simply praying that no earthquakes will strike in the next few minutes! Does he know he is practically walking on air?!



Even these cliffs alone within 15-minutes-walking of our apartment were indeed worth the visit to Malta, despite the island's overpopulation, oddity and relative lack of non-civilized areas...



Another Maltese sunset!



Costume ball at Harlaxton: I in homemade renaissance garb, and Michael in an Uzbekistan hat and a Jewish prayer shawl.



Christmas at Harlaxton



The nearby Belvoir Castle, visited by Harlaxton students on a school trip to admire its fantastic-medieval construction (redesigned in the early 19th century to please the Duke's soon-to-be wife)...



The gardens at Belvoir Castle



A sunset at Belvoir Castle viewed by me and Michael as we returned in the first week of December to view the Castle's Christmas pageantry...




Striking colors of the sunset at Belvoir Castle...



Belvoir Castle houses amazing rooms reminiscent of the ancient splendor Britain offered to its reigning nobles, a splendor heightened by the countless candles lit in honor of Christmassy events...


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Christmas break... in Alaska! ... when it finally snowed! (I believe there was actually more snow in Kansas at times this year than in Alaska!)



Viewed from Hatcher's Pass



The cross-country ski trail in Hatcher's Pass where Michael tried to teach me to skate ski!



Hatcher's Pass



Michael's mother skijoring



Blue skies glimpsed between the branches of snow-covered trees... "livin' in a winter wonderland"...!



The river running through the forest near Michael's house



Walking through the forest near Michael's house



The river running through the forest near Michael's house




What a romantic way to become engaged! (And the camera hardly does this image justice: imagine a wintry forest sparkling with moonshine, a clear starry ski above, the sound of a waterfall splashing gently in the distance, and a song composed for the occasion... And 3 layers of coats and socks plus handwarmers in mittens ensured appreciation of the above!)



Getting ready to see Wicked in Chicago! (It's fun to get dressed up!)



Michael's and my gingerbread house, modeled roughly after Harlaxton manor! ...



...complete with a fountain in the center niche of the second story ...



...two bells towers with swinging bells!...



...and Bob the swan! ( Indeed we continue to carry the memory of Harlaxton in our hearts! )


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Such, in a photo-nutshell, was our Fall Semester (and Break) of 2007!

3 comments:

Tracy said...

These pics are gorgeous. And CONGRATULATIONS, you two! ^_^

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful photo journey AND the wonderful news!

~Mr. and Ms. Mitchell
Norfolk, Virginia

Anonymous said...

amazing photos, love all of them