UK I: seeing more cows than people
I'm not going to lie. England was never very high on my "places to go." After all, it's not exotic like Thailand is, not starkly beautiful like Greece is, and not romantic like Paris is. I've always liked being pushed out of my comfort zone, which is partly why I'm obsessed with traveling.
I didn't think I'd be pushed out of my comfort zone in England. I mean, they speak English. They're virtually Americans with British accents (or so I thought).
Why did I choose to spend a month studying abroad in the UK then? Well, again, not going to lie — Italy was my first choice. When that didn't work out, the UK was the next best choice as to fitting in with my course requirements.
And hey, that makes my count of countries I've visited 19.
Our first stop in England was Glastonbury. If you've never heard of it, don't worry. I hadn't heard of it either.
Growing up, I thought my suburban city of Camarillo was small. But Glastonbury brings a whole new definition to "small town."
It consisted of 1 main street and a whole lot of old hippies. There were more cows than people. When I went on a morning run, I ran a lap around the whole town and thought, "Is that it?"
Needless to say, I thought we stayed in Glastonbury far too long.
I did, however, find a strange sort of peace. Glastonbury's known for its Tor, an old tower-like ruin atop a grassy hill that overlooks what was known as "Avalon" according to Arthurian legend. We "hiked" it on our first day. (The professors called it a hike; I called it a stroll up a hill).
I wrote a Tumblr post on it for class; basically, I liked it a lot more than I expected. It was Glastonbury's one redeeming quality, I think.
Sitting atop the grassy hill, gazing at the endless pastures before me, hearing the wind roar in my ears and feeling the sun warm my skin, I thought I had finally found peace. It was quieter up there than anything I had remembered in a long, long time; it was strange not to hear the rushing of cars on the highway or the constant chatter of loud college students.
And we can't forget about the food — my friends have dubbed me the "resident foodie" after all. Well, let me say something. Not the biggest fan of English food. It's heavy, and those who say that America has huge portions have clearly not seen English pub food.
This is my steak and ale pie:
Just for reference, the plate was bigger than my forearm.
The actual pie was pretty good, but not something I'd want to eat more than once a month. The vegetables were bland. For someone who's obsessed with veggies, I was disappointed, but not surprised.
Summation of my thoughts for the first couple of days of the trip: England has a lot of cows. English food is meh. Hippies exist outside of California and Vermont.