The Seaside Calls


One girl's mission to escape monotony

Brontë Country | West Yorkshire, England

“I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor, rolling over banks, and wading through marshes”

-Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 

Most of the Brontë sisters’ writings include descriptions of the Yorkshire moors, and they were truly a sight to behold. I felt like I was Jane Eyre, and that’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to be. I honestly would have preferred to have visited on a cold and gloomy day to get the full Yorkshire experience, but at least it wasn’t hot. After I’d had enough of the beautiful surrounding landscapes, it was a short drive to the village of Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and died.

 

 

The Brontë Parsonage Museum

 

 

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Brontë sisters, I’ll give you a little background:  Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë  were stereotypical Victorian girls. Charlotte and Emily, as well as their older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, were sent away to school in early childhood, three years after their mother passed away. They remained there until Maria and Elizabeth became sick and died. Charlotte and Emily returned home to their grieving father, brother, and little sister, Anne. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne turned to writing, and their works were heavily influenced by their own heartbreaking experiences. They all gained fame by 1847, their most notable works being Jane Eyre (written by Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (written by Emily), and Agnes Grey (written by Anne).

These photos are of their home, their grounds, the church they attended, and the church’s graveyard. Inside the Haworth Parsonage Museum, pictures aren’t technically allowed, but you can get away with sneaking a few when no one’s looking. The home is filled with fantastic treasures and artifacts from the family’s time on earth, which I spent hours geeking out over.

 

 

The Graveyard

 

It was a melancholy experience getting to see this beautiful area fraught with such a tragic history, but I am a lover of the dark and disturbing, so it was right up my alley.

 

 

The Church

 

Unfortunately, like most Victorians, all of the Brontë sisters died young. Emily caught a severe cold at her brother’s funeral in 1848, which soon developed into tuberculosis and killed her at the age of 30. Anne died the following year of tuberculosis, at the age of 29. After six years without any of her siblings, Charlotte became ill and died three weeks before her 39th birthday, along with her unborn child. She had been married less than a year, and her last words were, “I am not going to die, am I? God will not separate us. We have been so happy.”

Heartbreaking, right!? The Brontës were not buried in the church graveyard, but within the church itself. All except Anne, that is, who passed away in Scarborough and was laid to rest there.

 

 

Here you can see the names of all of the men who led the local church over the years, including the girls’ father, Patrick.

 

 

What’s in my suitcase

 

Bolton Abbey

 

 

Bolton Abbey really inspires the romantic in me. The haunting ruins put me in mind of Thornfield Hall from Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, which made it the perfect next stop on my road trip. It’s the kind of place that makes me want to recite some Byron. Or some Brydon.

Yes, as much as I adore the poetry of Lord Byron, I spent most of my time here channeling my inner Rob Brydon while reenacting one of my favorite scenes from The Trip. If you’re planning a trip to Northern England, you absolutely must watch this film first.

 

 

 

If you’re as big of a Downton Abbey fan as I am, you may be thinking, “this looks more like a church than an abbey.” You’re right. The ruins are actually that of a Gothic Priory that began construction in 1154. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539, Bolton was stripped of anything that could be sold, and the Eastern half was essentially abandoned. The Western half, however, was kept intact and religious services are still held inside. As an American, it’s not often that I get to behold such ancient ruins, let alone walk through them. It was like stepping back in time.

 

 

There’s this great little stone bridge you can walk across, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Some of the stones are farther apart than others, some are wobbly, and some aren’t even fully above the surface of the water. Amazingly, I managed to make it to the other side without falling into the water, but just barely. When you get across, there are a bunch of friendly cows wandering about.

 

 

After the bustle of London, this was the perfect country getaway. In the city, even a city as historic as London, you’re constantly reminded of the present. It’s hard to imagine living in another time when you’re surrounded by McDonalds’ and double-decker busses. But, in the north, there are less distractions and more chances to be reminded of what once was. I delight at any chance I get to immerse myself in another time. Some people like to escape reality by visiting Disneyland. Well, this is my Disneyland.

Of all the Brontë’s, I’ve always admired Charlotte the most. Jane Eyre is my favorite novel, and one I think all women should read. If it weren’t for Jane Eyre, I wouldn’t be a world traveler. I wouldn’t be an independent woman. I wouldn’t be who I am now. Visiting Yorkshire and walking the same streets Charlotte walked allowed me to connect with her in a very special way.

So, if you haven’t already, I challenge you to read Jane Eyre (hell, read all the Brontë novels), and then visit the place where it all began. You won’t regret it.

 

Nena’s Travel Essentials


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Stonehenge | Salisbury, England

All of my life, I have been infatuated with Stonehenge. In fact, when I was first starting my photography business, I experimented with calling it Stonehenge Photography. Thankfully I came to my senses before ordering any business cards 😅

When I finally stood before this age-old monument, I was absolutely in awe.

This girl totally brought a Gandalf action figure with her and now she’s kind of a hero to me.

I always sound crazy when I try to explain this to people, but when I visit some place new, the first thing I always notice is that the quality of light is so different than any of the other places I’ve been. The way the rays penetrate the clouds, the constant shifting between shadow and direct sunlight… It’s nothing like the consistent, even sunlight in my hometown of San Diego. Stonehenge was no exception, and I still can’t find the words to describe this phenomena. It’s just inexplicably different. One minute the landscape would be engulfed in shadow, and the next minute the amount of light would be blinding.

What’s In My Wardrobe

It’s estimated that it took the Neolithic peoples about 1,500 years to build Stonehenge. Amazingly, the whole thing is made up of about 100 stones. The bizarre part is that some of these stones were traced to an area in Wales about 200 miles from where Stonehenge sits. How the Neolithics managed to move them that far, no one knows. It’s been suggested that the Druids, or even the wizard Merlin may have actually been responsible for its construction, but historians now believe that it was built thousands of years before Merlin or the Druids inhabited the area. But part of me still wants to believe that it was actually Merlin, because that’s way more fun to think about! No one can say for certain what Stonehenge’s purpose was, but some theories are that it was used as a burial site, an astronomical calendar, a memorial to ancestors, or a religious pilgrimage site.

As amazing as it was to behold these ancient stones, the surroundings served as a constant reminder that the world had outgrown them.

I don’t know why, but when I would envision this moment, sprinklers were never present in my fantasies

I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of time. The way it lingers and yet is too fast for anyone to catch. The strange reality of how the earth eventually forgets her past inhabitants. The way man tries to make sense of the remnants of lost societies and cultures.

When I began to notice the wildlife in the area, I started thinking about how weirdly amusing it is that they spend their lives in the presence of one of the most ancient wonders of the world, and they have no idea how important it is.

The English countryside is a sight I can never get enough of. I could have stayed here all day, but, as always, there were more adventures to be had!

England is truly a remarkable place. You can be in the heart of modern civilization and take a two hour drive to one of the world’s most ancient sights. A lot of the most popular destinations are nothing more than tourist traps, but visiting Stonehenge is 100% worth it. I’m so overwhelmed and so grateful that I can finally cross this off my bucket list.

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Pinterested in sharing? I’ll love you forever!

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Black Books | London, England

Collinge & Clark Bookstore

If you have never watched Black Books, you’re missing out.

Black Books was written by and stars Irish comedian, Dylan Moran. It’s about an ornery bookshop owner, Bernard Black, whose worst nightmares include interacting with people and being responsible, both of which are necessary for successfully maintaining a business (in other words, he’s basically me). He hires Manny (played by Bill Bailey), an upbeat and friendly employee who proves to be great help in running the shop, but whose positive attitude and work ethic drive Bernard mad. It’s one of the few shows I can re-watch over and over again and never stop laughing.

To give you a little taste, here is one of my favorite scenes.

Black Books was filmed in a bookshop in London called Collinge & Clark, so obviously that was the #1 attraction I wanted to visit during my stay in the city. Unfortunately, the shop has very irregular hours, so it wasn’t open on the day I could squeeze in a visit, but I was happy enough to see it from the outside. Plus, it gives me a very legitimate reason to visit London again.

If you held a gun to my head and told me to definitively state what the best sitcom of all time was, I’d honestly have to say Black Books. It’s THAT good. I’ve literally seen it at least 30 times all the way through.

I’d like to say I’m a Fran, but in reality, I’m a total Bernard. Chaotic, messy, antisocial… but also strangely attractive 😏💕

I made my brother pose with me.

So that’s all for this short & sweet entry in my travel journal! If you haven’t already, watch the show, visit London, and hunt down Collinge & Clark. The British Museum is within walking distance, and there’s also a Shake Shack nearby, which is by far the best fast food chain ever.

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Looking for a new show to binge? Get the full series on DVD!

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