Posted by: Audrey Thorstad | November 19, 2010

Christkindlmarkt

This past weekend has been full of adventures down in the southeast of England in a town called Ipswich. I went with two of my really good friends, Kelsey and Amy, we went down to visit Kelsey’s aunt and uncle who live down there. They were gracious enough to let us stay with them and feed us some very traditional British meals throughout the weekend! We took the train on Thursday after we were all done with class, since it’s about a 3 hour train ride we wanted to go down early so we would have a full 2 days to sight see. Friday we spent walking around two very different castles. The first was Orford Castle which does not have the outside wall left, but has the full keep still standing. So we were able to see all the different rooms and what they were used for. It was built by Henry II in the 12th century, and it sits overlooking Orford Ness, a beautiful bay area with gorgeous views.

I am standing at the bottom, it is an amazing castle! 🙂

 The second castle we went to on Friday is just the outer wall which surrounded the inner keep, called Framinglam Castle. Mary Tudor (the imfamous Bloody Mary) was announced Queen at this castle! We were able to walk around the top of the wall as though we were 12th century guards, for a historian it was amazing! Since I am most interested in medieval warfare and military structure, the fortifications and walls are the most interesting to me, so the second castle was my favorite!

On Saturday I went to my first English football (soccer) game! It was so much fun! We didn’t go to a top team so I guess the fans get crazier! Although the team we were rooting for lost, it was still a blast. There was obviously pre-game, during the game and after the game drinking involved, I swear any reason the English can find they head to the pub (not that I am complaining). All the rumors that English football fans are loud, crazy and angry if the game is not going their way are completely true. There were Bobbies (police officers) to escort the away fans out and a lot of staff members in their section in the stands to make sure the home fans did not cause any trouble. After watching both of England’s major sports (football and rugby) I must say that I like rugby more, even though I know nothing about it! It reminds me more of hockey with less pads and more violence. I haven’t actually been to any rugby games yet, but International rugby is on at least once a week at the pub down the road from me, so I have gotten several chances to watch in on TV.

Every year in Leeds City Center there is a German Christmas Market (spelled Christkindlmarkt in German I believe). It is a huge market with German foods, beers, clothes, art and crafts along with other various stands. In the center is a huge beer building where they sell liters of beer in giant steins, have live German music and German sausages with sauerkraut! So I decided that for my birthday that I would get a big group together and head down to the beer building, needless to say, the night was a success (although the next morning was not). We sang, we danced, we drank and ate way too much but I had so much fun. The atmosphere was great; the band played some well known songs along with some traditional German songs which definitely got the crowd going. It was really good to hear from people back home as well, the past couple of weeks; it always brightens my day to get something in the mail! So thank you so much for your thoughts!

I am of course working hard at my studies and while I was sitting in Latin translating a letter everything just seemed to get easier. So I think the day has finally come where Latin has clicked, it was the greatest moment in my life! Latin has become a tad bit easier as far as translating and finding parts of speech along with memorizing and remembering which word goes to which declension or conjugation. It has made my stress level a little more bearable.

I found out some exciting news on Monday. I had an “interview” with the main curator at the Leeds City Museum and she offered me a position (not getting paid) to work with medieval seals. (For those of you who don’t know a seal was used when someone very important wrote a letter, folded it up, poured hot wax on it and stamped their personal seal in the wax). I will be obtaining the skills I need if I ever want to go into museum work in the future. I start next Wednesday down at their “warehouse” where they store the artifacts not on display. I will be researching, cataloging and taking photos of these seals, I can’t wait to start!

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