Friday, July 30, 2010

Long-Delayed Post.

So, where was I?
Ah, yes... Bath. Yes, I got to meet the archaeologists that work on the Roman Baths, and we had a great conversation about all kinds of stuff. They were extremely kind and very helpful. After Bath I went to Bristol, where I stayed with an excellent host and had some good times. I then met with Ronald Hutton for an hour, and I got along with him very well. He said just enough to really clear up my findings for me, which really helped with my research, as it was getting quite confusing. I stayed quite a while in Bristol, because my host was so great, but after a gigantic Texas Pork/Beef/Chicken barbecue, a hectic morning, and a stressful bus fiasco, I went to Wells, where the Wells Cathedral is, and spent the day exploring the town and trying in vain to find the archivist who had agreed to meet me about Joycelin de Wells, who the "History of the Welles Family in England" names as part of the family, but who was 1.) probably not Norman, and 2.) came from a different part of the country. So, complicated issues in family history. Anyway, the cathedral was amazing and although I refuse to put pictures up (it is unbelievably tedious on this website), my facebook has pictures of all of my adventures up to now.
After Wells, I stayed a day in Glastonbury, which was...interesting. Glastonbury is one of the strangest places I have ever been in my life. Magic shops line every street, bookstores hold subjects everywhere from yogic techno dancing to witchcraft and animal health. Anyway, more on that later.
I then decided to go into Cornwall, or die trying. I got to Plymouth the first day and spent some time wandering around the docks, and had a surprisingly emotional experience at the Mayflower steps, due to the dreary atmosphere and the very dignified memorial to the Pilgrim Fathers. I left the next morning with an English breakfast in my belly to go to Falmouth. It was a really beautiful if touristy town, with great art everywhere, great fish, great beaches (the hostel I stayed in was 100 meters from the largest beach), and a great Tudor castle. At the hostel, I also met some really nice fellow travellers; and we were having a funny conversation on the porch about accents and language, when we realized that there was a German, a Frenchwoman, two Swiss girls, a Texan, and an Englishman at the same table! Quite international, that conversation. The next day, I visited the castle (Penriddis) and had a great conversation with the girl who ran the castle shop, who advised me to go to Boscastle Witchcraft museum instead of trying to get to Glastonbury that day. So, instead of going all the way back to Plymouth (and then on to Glastonbury) with my charming new French companion, we separated at Truro and I headed to North Cornwall, which took longer than I thought! Not only that, but I got to Boscastle JUST in time to be admitted into the museum, which was amazing. Boscastle is really atmospheric, eerie, and beautiful. I could definitely live there. It seems like a good place to have a witchcraft museum.
But, I couldn't stay there for the night--the hostel was full. I had to go to nearby Tintagel, and thank God for the long English days, because Tintagel is beautiful. I went (long) after hours to Tintagel castle, and climbed to the amazing island, but the real treat was the hostel, which was perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. As the sun set, I thought to myself, Cornwall has won me over. It was absolutely magnificent with the rugged coast and the little coves and the ancient buildings and the very low cell-phone service.
But, Tintagel is much farther from Glastonbury than I thought. It took me till almost six o'clock to get to Glastonbury, just in time for the opening ceremony of the Goddess conference.
The Goddess conference. I've had some good and clarifying conversations with many of the New Agers and Neo-Pagans here in Glastonbury, but the Goddess conference just beats all. I have to say I was a little scared by the opening ritual, but as I continue to participate (I'm not really doing any of the events today, as they are all self-help sorts of things, and that doesn't tell me anything except that there are a lot of women here), there are a lot of things that I feel very comfortable doing and thinking about.
More on the Goddess conference later. Suffice to say, Glastonbury is just a different place altogether.
Today, I am going to be working on my research and personal notes and perhaps perusing some more book stores, where I could spend hours and hundreds of dollars. But, to be honest, no matter how cynical a view I may take of some of the things here, I really love it here in Avalon.

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