Taking the Waters

Ariana Lisefski
February 7, 2013

It’s been one month now since I landed at Heathrow airport and made my way in a taxi to my new home in central London! It feels both so long ago and like it was yesterday at the same time.

This past weekend I went on a 2-day trip that took us to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Bath. It was incredible. The first stop on Saturday was Stonehenge, which, from what I understand from everyone else I know who’s been there, seems to be a perpetually cold and windy place. Saturday was no exception, though it was sunny for a change. We walked around the perimeter of the stones, took some pictures, then I bought a “rock cake” at the café and retreated to warmth. It was a surreal and beautiful place to be, but just a tad difficult to appreciate when you’re freezing your knickers off.

Next we stopped in Salisbury, a town nearby that’s home to the famous Salisbury Cathedral. I’ve seen such a number of amazing cathedrals and churches already here that they start to run together a bit, but this one was intimidatingly massive and gorgeous. Got some lunch and wandered through the market streets a bit. If there’s one thing I love about every place in this country so far, it just might be open-air markets. The smell of delicious food from all over the world and the atmosphere of little stalls selling everything you can imagine is alluring, whether it’s Salisbury or the street right outside my apartment.

We finally ended up in Bath for the night, coming into the city while the sun was setting across the hills. I can’t describe what it is, but Bath has such a different feeling from everywhere I’ve been so far. So romantic, quieter, older, nestled in countryside hills, and everywhere these golden-white buildings of Bath Stone. I fell in love with it.

We checked in to our hostel, a YMCA that managed to fit 90 of us IES students in it, then went out to a big group dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street. Three courses of deliciousness. Tiramisu. Yes. Went out to explore the nightlife of the city a bit, then back to bed to prepare for round two of Bath the next day. Bath is an area with thermal hot springs, and as such has been the destination for centuries for fashionable people seeking the health benefits of “taking the waters.” We got to do just that the next day on our visit to the Roman Baths Museum. It was stunning to see the main thermal bath open to the air in the center, with much of the original stonework intact from the time of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire! Seriously, the first century. What even. And at the end, you could have a cup of the water yourself. And…it tasted terrible. Warm and metallic in your mouth like blood. Mmm, lovely. I’d better live forever after that.

After a tour of the rest of the city, including the famous Royal Crescent and The Circus (so many vast curving buildings and streets and fog), we departed for home. Well Bath, you big flirt, London still has my heart, but you sure did a good job trying to steal it.

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Ariana Lisefski

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ariana is a junior at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Gender and Women&#39;s Studies. On campus, she is busy with bellydance and yoga, and as an executive member of the student health club. She has ridden elephants in Thailand and gone whitewater rafting in New Zealand, but her time studying abroad in London will be her first experience of Europe, which she hopes to make the very most of. Writing is how she makes sense of the world, and she hopes to share this blog with you while she explores jolly old England!</span></p>

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