Cathedral and Churches and Abbeys, oh my.

Something I’ve always loved along with the architecture design and use of space are the stain glass windows. It’s one of my favorite part of cathedrals and churches. This trip I’ve been lucky enough to pop into a handful of the religious buildings. It’s hard to pick a favorite from this trip, but it would have to be between Salisbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. I was able to pop into Saint Martin in the Fields, and I was fortunate enough to attend a prayer service and mass at Westminster Cathedral. All very different and unique churches designed with all different mediums too.


March 14th

March 14th, we went to the Westminster abbey in the morning. For me it is kind if fun that on the coronation chair there are a lot of lettering stuff did by kids. Also we i was a little bit surprised that in the church, such a sacred and inviolable place, people can yell and even bring their horses in. What a mess! All of these make me start to know this is how a royal church looks like. Moreover, inside the church especially the vaulting and dome, compared to other churches, they are highly decorated.Then we take a boat trip in Thames and went to a architect studio. And I really impressed by those models there.

Cambridge Visit

For my free day, Wenli, Tian, and I went to see Cambridge university. The first part of the day was spent on the train out. The train ride was nice and relaxing and we got to see the cute suburbs of London and a little bit of the countryside. Once we arrived we got to the university and saw the gorgeous gothic architecture which the school was made of. Being a student there would be incredible as you could see all the examples of gothic design right on campus. Then we tried to find the rivier. At this point we were rather lost but we were next to the cathedral. With the knowledge of  cathedrals’ westworks we were able to get our bearings and find the river. Who knew architecture could be a compass?

Westminster Abbey

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Westminster Abbey is simply inspiring. There is so much history which resides within this one building and yet it is still up to date with the modern world (for a thousand year old cathedral). I knew there were many important people buried at Westminster, but I never could have imagined just how many there actually were.  It is rather amazing that Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary I, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, George Frederick Handel (and on and on…) are all within the same walls. The Abbey is probably the most important burial place in the world. I was surprised that on the westworks were statues to modern-day martyrs. I had always thought of Westminster Abbey as an ancient church, but here are statues of 20th Century figures, including Martin Luther King Jr. I think it connects Westminster Abbey to the people of today; it is not just a church for the royal family and important ceremonies, but for everyone throughout the ages.




Perfect Timing

DSC_0091This trip could not have been planned any better. Since day 1, the trip has had the best of luck, and the best in coordination, to have done what we have accomplished. From what could not be controlled, we are beyond fortunate and thankful that we started with a sunshining, warm day. Ohio gave us a nightmare of winter storms that nature was kind enough to treat us with a beautiful day. The following two days have been colder and with less snow, but they were also more of indoor days. Wednesday was one of my favorites with a fog back dropping Stonehenge, followed by a sun that broke through the clouds at Stourhead and a sunset warming up the enormous Salisbury cathedral. As for what was completed thanks to the extremely talented Mrs Moore, there could not have been a better time to have seen the changing of the guards, sounding of the bells in churches, or a beautiful sunset on the eye. I am very pleased with the perfect timing we’ve been encountering.

Stonehenge, Stourhead, Salisbury

I enjoyed visiting Stonehenge, Stourhead, and Salisbury today! I thought it was a good thing to do in the middle of the week because it gave us a chance to rest on the bus and venture outside the busy city of London. I expected Stonehenge to be bigger than it actually was, but I am still glad that we got to visit it. I had been wanted to go there since I was a little kid. I remember a television show about it when I was younger and it always stood out to me. It’s also cool to look back to when I applied to this trip because Stonehenge was a place I wanted to go when I wrote my personal statement many months ago. I Liked visiting Stourhead too. It’s nice to walk around nature (even though it was man-made nature). I liked see gall the flowers ands how the spaces interacted with each other. I wish we would’ve got to explore Salisbury more because the town seemed interesting. I like old, cute little towns like Salisbury, and I hope to help plan for one some day. I thought the Cathedral was beautiful and I liked visiting the top to look over the town. Overall, it was a great day filled with “S” towns!
Ashley Hofmaster

A day out in the country

Going out to the English countryside was incredibly fun. Stonehenge was fascinating as it was one of the oldest man made structures ever. You could feel the history seeping through the rocks. After that we journeyed to stourhead which was a little disappointing as the part modeled after the pantheon was closed. The last stop was the Salisbury cathedral which was spectacular. We were able to go all the way up to the spire and see the entire town from the top. It was incredibly interesting to compare the gothic style of Salisbury cathedral with the more modern baroque style of St. Paul’s cathedral. Aside from the architecture the best part of the trip was the sheep. In Stonehenge there were sheep grazing right next door. As we drove along the countryside we saw even more of them. Those wooly little guys!

A day outside the city


Today we are heading out of the city. Although many of us our exhausted from the past few days of intense sight seeing, we are still very excited to see Stonehenge, Stourhead, and Salisbury. Stonehenge is such a legendary area, and I am very excited to see the ancient ruins. Stourhead looks beautiful in pictures, so I am sure it will look fantastic in early spring. I am really looking forward to seeing the Salisbury Cathedral. After seeing St Paul’s Cathedral on Monday I am really excited to see another magnificence religious structure



Stonehenge was really neat. The morning fog was rising and it created a really incredible atmosphere to view the ancient rocks. We had a lot of fun trying to take creative pictures!

Stourhead was magnificent! The views were incredible. The built landscape truly creates a warm feeling inside. I could have staid there all day staring at the beautiful scenery.

Salisbury was pretty amazing. We had a very old and funny tour guy. He shared many interesting stories and facts with our group. It was a little frightening climbing up the series of old wood and stone steps. A bit of a workout too! The historical town surrounding the cathedral was pleasant on the eyes too.



Thank you, Todd, for arranging this picture. I know it’s a few days old, but I think it exemplifies the dynamic of the group. I was worried coming on this trip that people would be really clicky, or at the very least there would be one or two people who just ended up by themselves every night. Being a bit shy, this is always one of my personal fears when going on a trip with people I don’t know (though I do realize the oddness of my remarking on this when that wasn’t a worry for me since I came with one of my best friends). This has not been the case at all. People take day trips with people they didn’t hang out with earlier that day and I feel confident that, no matter who I end up in a group with at any given place, nobody will be left out of the conversation. I think it’s a great group, and I am so happy to have spent my first time abroad with you guys. Thank you!

I’ve Reached the Heights – Salisbury Cathedral

Today was a great day to travel outside of the city of London. It started out a bit chilly and foggy, but by the time we all arrived to Salisbury Cathedral the sky had mostly cleared and was comfortable weather. The gothic cathedral can be seen from the outside of the small city of Salisbury. It is located inside of the walls and the close and also beside the flood plain.  We took a tour and ventured to the top of the spire and was able to view how the vaulting, the support beams, now the spire was constructed and a gorgeous view out into the city and the rolling hills beyond the city limits. Once we climbed all the way back down, we looked around the ground floor if the cathedral. One of many features that I love about it is the beautiful, ornate stain glass windows.


Post from yesterday for St. Paul’s

imageThis trip is even more incredible than I thought it could be. In the past two days we have been to soooo many places, and when I post photos online my friend was like “oh god you are having a busy trip! Went to this many places within 2 days that is amazing!” I have to agree with this comment! I have been too tired everyday so that I go to bed at 9:00pm. I feel tired outside but really enrich from inside. We are absorbing a huge amount of knowledge about architecture, art, history, culture, even about food everyday! My favorite part in the past 2 days is St Paul’s. It have huge inside open space and much much details decorated on every spot. I cannot imagine how did they make those fabulous decorative patterns on stone and put them together in that height. When I stand inside St Paul’s, I was thinking this is such a pure and impeccable place people should always visit from generation to generation and remember it forever. I had really good time on the top of St Paul’s seeing nearly all architectures in London. There is no doubt that
St Paul’s is always the icon for London.


Yesterday we mainly went to and sketched the St. Paul’s and the British Museum. For me, this is a really amazing day, although it was really cold and when I came back I was too tired to post anything. St. Paul’s is the second most important cathedral in the world and we I climb to the top I was so impressed. You will not want to climb this staircase for twice, but you will definitely want to see the scenery for thousands of times. The whole London is just in front of your eyes. Inside the St. Paul’s, I felt strong inner peace and I light a candle there with a wish in my mind. Hope I could come here one day with my families.

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St. Paul’s Surprise

I have to say I was throughly surprised when I arrived at St. Paul’s. I had no idea how ginormous and glorious the building would be as well as how impressed I was when I stepped through into the cathedral. Going to the top of the dome was also a breath taking experience. The view from the top of the dome was incredible. I felt like I could see all of London. Overall my experience at St. Paul’s was amazing I will never forget the complete feeling of awe that was instilled in me as I started to take in my surroundings. I hope one day I will be able to visit again!



What a 2 days it has been!

Today has been our second day in London and so far in these past two days I have seen a lot.  The best by far had to be the visit to Saint Paul’s Cathedral.  The cathedral was just beautiful.  It really stinks that pictures were not allowed because words could not describe it.  Also, the view of the city from the very top made for some excellent pictures of the city.  The second best thing has to be going to the British Museum.  The museum was full of architecture and artifacts from pretty much everywhere.  I had a blast going around and having the chance to see all of it.  So far these past two days have been great.  I cannot wait to see what the other days have to offer us.Pano of the city(50%)