I had a LOVELY weekend in Exeter with my amazing friend Louis, who is quite literally me in male form. Except I move at a much speedier pace and he doesn't like chocolate dessert?! - I know, I questioned the friendship at that point too, it was difficult for me to take in. We did lots of exciting things and I spent almost the entire timing laughing myself a six pack and teaching him how to be a country boy.
As I arrived before he finished uni I spent most of my afternoon exploring the town and failing to resist book shopping. The cathedral is gorgeous however I refuse to ever pay any money to go inside a religious building, so I didn't get to see the interior. £4 seems a little steep to chat to God when you can just do it wherever you like anyway. I'm not sure of my stance on whether putting God in a 'house' is the right thing to do in the first place as the Bible says it's a no-no, but then people do need somewhere to gather and feel safe. Which is why it really ticks me off as churches are supposed to be a place of refuge for those in need and if those with little or no money can't go in then that totally defies the point of even having a church building in the first place. I don't care if you need money for the up-keep of the church, if the church isn't being used for the proper purpose what on earth does it matter if it looks all pretty inside anyway? I could go on, but I think you get the point.
ANYWAY I met Louis for a drink in a pub called 'The Old Firehouse' which apparently is the place that J. K. Rowling based the Leaky Cauldron on in the Harry Potter series, which as a Potterhead I was rather excited about. It was a lovely place too, with a proper inviting and warm English pub feel, which counts for a lot on rainy English autumn days. Seeing as we're super classy we then decided to get a Tesco take-away curry for two for dinner, before settling down for the night by playing drinking games with his flat mates, which eventually turned into a bit of a pyjama party with choreographed dance routines and some drinking a little more than their stomachs could handle. All in all, a great night with some awesome people! Just goes to show that you can still meet great people even if you don't go off and stay in a hostel and do the traditional travelling thing.
On the Saturday Louis and I decided to become wilderness explorers and venture out into the Exeter countryside, with no plan of where to go, no map and no provisions, because we are super smart and organised. Within about 30 minutes we'd wandered off into some field (public footpath my arse) and begun a bit of an adventure I'd like to entitle 'How the hell do we get out of here?'. Luckily I'm used to this sort of thing as where I grew up there are loads of fields and farm land so I'm not stranger to being chased by sheep or accidentally trespassing on private land. Louis however, is a massive city boy and began to panic a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit, when we managed to get stuck in some private field. And then when we eventually found the road, there was no footpath. Which Louis didn't like so he began reminiscing about his beloved 'safe' underground in London... *SIGH* ;)
Louis LOVES the outdoors. It's funny coz he actually does. He just doesn't like the prospect of getting his shoes muddy...
Beautiful view of the Devon countryside. I always think that the beauty of the English landscape is understated. I mean this is beautiful and the picture doesn't even do the real thing justice.
This is the field we were 'lost' in and tried to find an escape route from, only to discover it was surrounded by a barbed wire fence.
So after our ridiculous adventure (after which we found out if we'd stuck to the road we could have covered the distance we walked in two hours in just 20 minutes...) we were cold and wet and tired, so we went to grab some comfort food at the student bar, which is AMAZING. Seriously, Exeter student union is incredible, I've never seen anything like it! I do sometimes wish I'd chosen to go to a campus uni or one that isn't based in the middle of a busy city. It was really nice to be surrounded by nature and not feel the pressure to rush anywhere or to have to do a million things at once. City life kind of sets you up with that mentality. Though if I was in the country I'd probably be complaining that I was bored and had nothing to do, so really I can't say London is all bad.
In the evening we joined the rest of the gang and went to watch his flat mate Laura in a short play put on by, I assume, the drama society. It was actually really nice to see original plays performed by students (and I think written by students), as I don't know if we have something like that at my university or not. I think there's something beautiful about seeing a brand new character portrayed by the first time by an actor who has made it their own, rather than basing it on a previous portrayal of a character we've seen 100s of times before. The performances as a consequence were raw and oozed sincerity, something that creates an undeniable connection with the audience. Needless to say, I really enjoyed it and would love to see more of that kind of thing on my home turf.
And that pretty much sums up my short but sweet stay in Exeter. I met some amazing people and as always had some brand new experiences. I'd recommend to anyone to visit the city not only because the surroundings are breath-taking but the city itself is really something; quaint but with a lot to offer. I next get to see Louis at Christmas, hopefully with the rest of the Croatia gang, so I've got that to look forward to! I haven't yet planned my next UK trip but it's only 90p on the bus to Coventry so that looking like a likely candidate. If you have any suggestions on places to visit or things you'd like me to write about please let me know :)