Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Can't You See Us Bashing Around London?!

Hey Everyone,

Now that you are updated on all our travels we can update you on Cambridge.

Cambridge is the ultimate college town. The colleges are the most important things in town and own most of town. Cambridge has a total of 31 colleges spread through out the city. Each college has their own separate campus. Lyndon is a member of Downing College. He chose Downing for its law tradition and the classical architecture. The greatest legal historian of all time, Maitland, was a scholar of Downing. It is right in the heart of Cambridge with close access to everything. Lyndon's favorite building is the library but he loves that the chapel is in the center of campus. The campus is wide open so it makes you feel like you are on an estate out in the country side. Their symbol is the griffin (Gryffindor!) and their colors are black and magenta.


St. Paul's Cathedral. Wren's epic masterpiece.

So far we have mostly been settling in. We live in a building that is only for international students. Our flat is not to far from Downing which is great. There is a great diversity of nationalities in our building. We are the only Americans. It is fun to talk to the other tenants and hear about where they are from and what they are studying. Our wardens are the nicest people. There is a great atmosphere and everyone is really nice. There usually is one activity a week that everyone is invited too. So far we have attended a movie night and a meet and greet.
Lyndon is doing his MPhil in Old English. His official program is called Anglo-Saxon Norse Celtic Studies (ASNC). His area of emphasis is Old English specifically legal texts from 950 to 1050 A.D. Right now he is taking two classes: Latin and Anglo-Saxon History. He is also auditing a rhetoric class. Today Lyndon is going to matriculate. Matriculation is the opening ceremony for the academic year. It involves taking a picture with the other grad students and signing his name in the official annals of Downing College. Very exciting!


This past weekend we went to London. It was my first time actually getting to see London. Up until then I had only see the train stations and the airports. We started at Buckingham Palace. It was amazing! They did not have a change of the guard scheduled that day so we did not get to see the guys in the funky hats. We walked down to West Minster Abby. There was a statue of Abraham Lincoln close to it. Then from there we walked to Big Ben and the Parliament buildings. I enjoyed seeing that land mark. We saw St. Paul's Cathedral. The architecture is absolutely amazing! We walked down by the Eye of London and the Globe. We will go see a play there soon. We met up with friends from BYU, Peter, Tim, and Brian, and saw the Imperial War Memorial Museum. We took a bus from London to Cambridge that evening. As we were leaving London we passed the Tower of London and London Bridge. We were able to see everything we wanted to see that day and made mental notes of what we wanted to do next London trip.




Everything is going well so far. Lyndon is getting into his classes and I am kind of getting to know Cambridge better. We have been going running and that helps me familiarize myself with the city.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Greece!

Hey Everyone,

Before Lyndon and I went to Cambridge we went on our honeymoon to Greece. Here is what we did on our trip:


I conqured the Minotaur.


Lyndon with what could be the statue of Perseus holding the gorgons head.

Athens! It was not what I expected it to be. We did a lot though. Thursday we got into London I think around 1 pm. I am not sure. The flight was good. Neither one of us slept very well. I watched one of the movies and then kept dozing in and out of sleep. Lyndon threw a blanket over his head and I did not see his face again until we landed. When we got to London we had to check in with immigration so they would let us in to the country. We had no problem with getting our luggage which saved us a lot of hassle. After we left the airport we took the tube down to Kings Cross station. I saw where platform 9 3/4 should be (Yay for Harry Potter). We ended up going all the way to Cambridge that day. We called our warden and we were able to move into our apartment. Cambridge is beautiful! From the train station we walked all the way to our flat. That was fun! But really it was not. Both of us had two suitcases plus our backpacks. We did get to see a lot Cambridge though. Our warden and his wife are the nicest people. They have been to Tennessee! We are the only Americans living in our apartment complex. All the other students are from Bangladesh, China, Romania, Italy, Israel, Pakistan, Malaysia, and many other places. We went to dinner that night to have a authentic English meal. They had some different things on the menu. Have you ever heard of a oven baked jacket? We have come to find out it is just a baked potato so nothing exotic. Then Lyndon took  me around Cambridge and showed me some of the different colleges and cathedrals.


The Parthenon.

 Jet lag is not fun. We had to get up at 4:30 am to make the train to the airport. Both of us slept the whole way on our flight to Athens. I woke up in time to look out the window as the plane was flying over some of the islands. It was beautiful.  Then once we got the Athens we walked around for a long time. We got to see some fun stuff. The Acropolis where the Parthenon is located is beautiful. It sits on a hill over looking the whole city. We went to a Greek restaurant and had some delicious Greek food. The Greek salad was our favorite and we have been eating it just about every day since we got back. We saw the Archeological museum, the acropolis museum, tons and tons of places. Our legs now look awesome from all the walking we have been doing. Athens is built upon the ancient ruins. In the  Monastraki district there are walled off areas in the middle of the plaza, and when you look down in the pit there are ruins. Every where ruins. As you walk into the Acropolis Museum if you look down you see ruins underneath the walkway. Also we ran into the "Fun Police". In the archeological museum I was going to take a picture of Lyndon behind one of the headless statues and one of the museum employees came over telling us no funny poses are allowed. The Greeks take their heritage very seriously.


Welcome to Athens.

Our third day in Athens we finally made it to the Parthenon. It's awe-inspiring. Those Greeks sure knew their aesthetics. There are several other really well preserved temples. The Temple of Zeus has a few pillars still standing. The Thesseon (a temple to Hephaestas) was built about the same time as the Parthenon, but it is still mostly intact. Only part of the roof has caved in. The temple to Nike has been rebuilt several times and is still standing almost complete. They are in the process of restoring/renovating the parthenon which both of us think is a really good idea. Seeing the parthenon just makes you realize the genius of humanity. The whole complex reminds of the Roman forum but many buildings are still standing. Down from the Acropolis is the Agora. It is the ancient city center of Athens. The Temple of Hephaestus and the Temple of the Winds are both located there. The landscape in that area looks very similar to what Israel looks like from the pictures. There are many olive and fig trees. There is a rock we passed where the Apostle Paul gave a famous sermon. We took a trip down to the coast line in the afternoon to Piraeus. It is not really tourist friendly except if you are taking a ferry to any of the other islands. They do have a couple of massive cathedrals. We were able to go inside one and see the priest praying. The decor is amazing. So beautiful. There are paintings and everything is decorated with gold. We made a friend while we were there. We ran into this man about three times who kept asking for money. He was harmless but after the third time we ran into him we were ready to end the friendship.


View of Athens.

 The rest of Greece was pleasant. Delphi was beautiful. The town is located on the side of a mountain overlooking a valley of olive trees and the Corinthian Peninsula. Delphi is special because the oracle of Delphi was located there and it was called the center of the world. Tuesday we traveled all day from Delphi to the island of Zakynthos. We had planned to visit Olympia but we had to skip it because it was too far out of the way. We took the bus from Delphi to the town of Itea by the ocean. The Mediterranean is beautiful. The water is so blue. Then from there we traveled to Patra and then from there to Kalyissos hopped on a ferry and arrived on Zakynthos.


The view from our hotel room in Delphi. Stunning!


On the boat to see the Blue Caves and the Shipwreck Cove.

Zakynthos was our last destination, so we were happy to finally make it. Wednesday we went on a boat up the island to shipwreck cove. We had time to go swimming. The water is beautiful and crystal clear. So much more so than the gulf and nicer but colder. Then we went and saw the blue caves on our way back. They are just small alcoves were the water has eroded the rock away. On our last day we went on another water excursion this time to see the green loggerhead turtles that Zakynthos is famous for. We went on a yellow submarine; part of the boat was under water with windows so you could see under the ocean. It was pretty cool. Sadly we did not see any turtles. We did see giant jelly fishes called Medusas and more beautiful scenery. Then that night we flew back to London.


Getting ready to swim at ship wreck cove.


Us aboard teh Yellow Submarine on our way to Turtle Island!

 We had another long journey to Cambridge. We ended up having to stay over night in St. Pancras station across from Kings Cross station. Surprisingly we had a great time. We survived without sleep thanks to Starbucks hot chocolate. We caught the 5:45am train to Cambridge and finally made it back to our flat by 8am. Then to Lyndon's orientation where they explained how easily it is to start a fire and get robbed. Lovely.


St. Pancras Station at 4am.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Married Life

Hey Everyone,

Since Lyndon and I have been married all we have been doing is traveling. Our first excursion was from Utah all the way to East Tennessee. It was a fun trip. We kept entertained by listening to Dracula on tape. We started on Monday and made it to my parents house by 4am Wednesday morning. We were exhausted but happy to be out of the car. Our first few days in Oak Ridge were busy helping my parents get the twins and Ellen ready for college, the house ready for our reception, and entertaining Eston's Japaneses exchange student. Thursday evening Lyndon and I went with my family to pick up my brother Eston's Japanese exchange student. It was a fun evening meeting all of the rest of the host families and Japanese students. Eston's student name was Kenta. He is from Nakamachi Japan, one of five kids, likes frogs, and Abercrombie and Fitch. An hour after that my sister Bethany left for Pennsylvania for her first semester at Bucknell University. Her twin, Leslie, and my dad went with her.

Saturday was our Tennessee reception. The Plothows made it safely to Oak Ridge from Utah. My Mom's friends and family all pitched in to help make the house look beautiful. Many people showed up that night. It was fun to introduce Lyndon to some of my Dad's family and my friends from home.


The following Monday Lyndon and I took my sister, Ellen, back to school in North Carolina where she attends Salem College. Her school is very unique. It was settled by the Moravian and is the oldest women's college in the United States. Leslie came along with us. We had a good time singing Disney songs. Leslie drove all the way back from Salem to Oak Ridge (it was her first time driving that far. She did great!). We listened to the Graveyard Book on CD. It is not scary like it sounds.



The following week we left for Chesapeake, Virginia. On our way there we made a stop in Washington D.C. We were able to go to the temple in the morning and spent the rest of the day seeing all the sights at the mall. I enjoyed the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and Lyndon's favorite was the Jefferson Memorial. We stayed with my Aunt Sabrina and her family. Uncle Gaston took us down to Norfolk and showed us around the naval base. The naval base there is the biggest in the United States. We saw an aircraft carrier, a couple of submarines, two helicopter carriers, and several destroyers. Plus in the water we saw jelly fish, crabs, and a sting ray swimming around. We were able to go to the beach one day. We saw lots of fish and possibly a baby shark. We are not sure if it was. All we saw is a long fish that was carnivorous. Our last day we spent at Historic Williamsburg. William and Mary College is located right next to Williamsburg. We took a look around and toured the Wren building. Lyndon especially enjoyed going to the Cheese Shop. He says they had some really good sharp cheddar. We took Grandma Barron back with us to Tennessee. We really enjoyed the drive back listening to the fourth Harry Potter book on CD and talking with Grandma.


Leslie left the day after we got back from Virginia for school. That night we stayed up and watched Legally Blonde. We had some good laughs. We helped her get packed for school. She is attending Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN. My Dad is from Cookeville and much of his family still lives there.

Labor Day weekend we were able to go to the University of Tennessee's first football game of the season. My Uncle Danny had a few extra tickets so my Dad, Lyndon, and I went. Grandma Barron got us all Tennessee Vols shirts and hats. Lyndon looks good in orange :-) The UT game was awesome! I have never been to Neyland Stadium before. It was great to see the whole stadium fill up with orange.



Go Vols! Good ole rocky top, rocky top Tennessee, rocky top Tennessee.

Before we went to the game we went to the Knoxville Zoo. My family likes to go the zoo a lot. There is a bronze tortoise that we always take pictures on. It is tradition! Every time we go we take a picture on it. Lyndon was able to get a picture for himself on the tortoise.



Tradition!

Labor Day we hiked Mount LeConte in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The hike is ten miles round trip. The five miles up to the summit is up hill the whole way. Thanks to Leslie we hiked up to the top in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I now call  her Leslie Trail Blazer Dunn. She walked the whole way up the mountain like it was nothing. I work out and I thought the hike was a 8 out of 10. Lyndon liked hiking by Alum Cave and walking up these steep stairs through a mini cave. I enjoyed my 11 year old brother, David, challenging Lyndon to a arm wrestling match. We did not see any bears. There were signs everywhere saying that bears live in the area. Mom was happy about that we did not see any bears.


My brother David, Lyndon, me, and Leslie "Trail Blazer Dunn" at the summit of Mount LeConte.

Lyndon was able to experience a Oak Ridge High School football game. I was so happy to go. It has been so long since I have actually spent time in Tennessee. I used to go with my friends most Friday nights to the football games. They lost but Lyndon caught a awesome Oak Ridge High School football t-shirt.

I was able to get back in to swimming a little bit. There is a group that meets three times a week called Swimming Women. Mom has started doing it so I went with her. It was so good to swim again. I have missed swimming so much.

Our last week in Tennessee Lyndon and I did some more hiking. We went back up to the Smokies to Cades Cove where we hike to Abram Falls. It was not a hard hike compared to LeConte. The trail was right along the river the whole way. Driving through Cades Cove we saw lots of deer, some wild turkeys, and a red crested wood pecker. No bears though. I really wanted to see a bear. Our last hike we did on the Appalachian Trail (also known as the AT) to Charlie's Bunion. David said that was his favorite hike. The drive up to the trail head was beautiful. We did not hike all the way to Charlie's Bunion but we still hike six miles. At the trail head is where President Roosevelt dedicated the national park. The platform is still there and it is the North Carolina Tennessee border. The view was beautiful. Trees for miles and miles.



Us on the AT (Appalachain Trail)!





Getting our visas took longer than we expected so we did not get to go to Egypt for our honeymoon. We ended up leaving a week later than planned. Our visas ended up getting mailed to the Plothows in Utah. We did not get them till the day we left. Instead of Egypt we went to Greece.

We both really enjoyed getting to spend time in Tennessee but we were ready to move on to our next adventure.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Welcome to our Blog

Hello Everyone,

A little about ourselves: We were married on August 14, 2010 in the beautiful Salt Lake Temple. It was the most wonderful day. Since then we have been travelers going across the country to Tennessee for a few weeks before we left for the UK. Lyndon is studying at Cambridge this next year in a MPhil program. His is doing his research in Anglo Saxon Norse Celtic Studies which means Old English (what the English spoke from 550 til 1066 AD). I am finishing my bachelors degree from BYU in political science. I am able to do some independent study classes while we are here in Cambridge (thank goodness for the internet). Since being in Europe we have traveled to Greece and back to England. Right now we are getting settled in our flat and getting ready for Lyndon's classes to start.
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