Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 3 - Countryside Walk in Princes Risborough

Yesterday might be my favorite day in London. As most of you know, I am not a bustling city las. (You like how I threw in that Brit slang?) I need fresh air, outdoors, and quite on a daily basis. And boy, did we get just that. What do you think?

We took a train from London out to Princes Risborough and literally just started walking. The best part of this journey is the history behind it. The "footpaths" and "bridleways" we walked on today have literally been there for hundreds of years. Most footpaths are direct routes to churches from rural homes. In England, footpath right of ways out rank property owners. This means that if a footpath goes through your property, walkers have a greater right to that path than you do. Madonna actually has a footpath through her property and tried everything in her power to have it diverted around the property. So yes, you can literally walk through Madonna's yard. We got to walk through the Prime Minister's summer home yard.

We walked around the property for a bit before actually getting to cross it. There was a sign on the fence saying entering the property was a criminal offense. So naturally, we jumped the fence and walked for about 100 yards and then hopped back.

During our walk, we passed several beautiful churches. Take a look...

You don't see flint used as a facade in the states. This was used on every church we passed and some of the guys dug up a few pieces from the ground to take home. Kendall and I decided we didn't care for carrying rocks around and passed on playing in the mud.

Most of the paths were super muddy because they are used for horse paths as well. About 90% of the walk was uphill. Yes, I did complain to Dr. Burt as to why we couldn't have gone the opposite way so that it would be 90% downhill. He is a glutton for punishment. He is the most in shape professor I have ever met and hardly broke a sweat while we were all sucking air.

The main reason we took this journey was to understand the impact of the new high speed rail that will be built through several small town linking London to Birmingham. This means that any property or right of ways in the proposed path will be destroyed. Can you imagine this picture with an ugly train and tracks through it?

Now that I have gotten to see this beautiful area, I am pretty pissed about the new high speed rail too. All of the towns around this area are like a dream come true. Just take a look at a few shots from our walk.

Can anyone tell me what kind of roof that was? I will be impressed.

Of course we were led by Dr. Burt and his sister (who is the sweetest Brit I have met thus far and probably will ever meet). They use to walk these same paths as kids. It was very neat to see where Dr. Burt grew up and for him to point out the small things that made up his childhood. I guess he is not so terrible to put up with after all... Hahaha. It is always fun for us students to get to know our teachers better and this experience definitely gave me a new perspective on the boss man. So, thank you Dr. Burt! I hope you enjoy time with your family and we will see you in Barcelona!

We are off to downtown again today! Pics to come!

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