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BU Abroad: A Weekend in Lizzie Bennett’s Shoes

No wonder the Romantics were so successful – if I lived anywhere are rurally inspirational as Grasmere, or the Lake District in Northern England, I’d be considered a classic too!
For one weekend, my literature program took the 7-hour bus ride up north, far away from our new home of London. After 5 hours, we stopped off at the Bronte parsonage, the home of the famed Bronte sisters, and then continued on to the Lake District, taking shelter in a hostel in “Wordsworth Country.” Between the endless green hills and harsh rainstorms, the trip gave a taste of the epitome of the En
glish country.
Touring the Bronte Parsonage, and later touring the house of William Wordsworth, it was apparent what modest shelters these famous figures lived in. It did not take wealth or strong ancestry to make them the inventors that they were – but the scenery helped a great deal. As these authors are known for their use of description and attention to detail, touring the lands that surrounded them was an easy clue as to where their inspiration derived from. We walked to the top of the moors, a setting present in classic English prose and poetry, and looked out on a landscape that was everything romantic. If you squinted, you could see your very own Mr. Darcy rising out of the haze, brushing against the overgrown purple grass and moving towards you with the sun setting behind him. Okay, maybe you had to squintreally hard, but still it was possible.
None of us were dressed for Mr. Darcy, either. The 12 girls on the program, myself included, donned yoga pants and hiking sneakers, wore minimal makeup, and only had the hostel showers to keep us clean. Still, as sub par as those conditions might seem, it really didn’t matter – the atmosphere was enough to make us feel comfortable. Definitely a far way from home, but still, the Lake District provided an area of inspiration that most writers can only dream of visiting. They say famed London writer Thomas DeQuincey used to look up the streets of London pointing north, knowing that he was looking towards the home of Romanticism. Not such a heartless thought for a guy who couldn’t kick his opium habit.
Before heading on the bus ride home, which was going to take up the majority of our last day, the program climbed to the top of a mountain to check o
ut the views. A little calorieburning and a pat on the back later, there we were, standing on top of England itself (or so it felt). The only sense of civilization that could be seen were the stone walls that separated the farmland, and a tiny farm truck in the distance that was collecting goods for local businesses. Windy as anything, it was the ultimate experience to breathe in the air from up there, and to look at the greenest fields that the writers and artists we still study today once walked upon. Our exhaustion didn’t dare usurp our smiles as we took in the view.
            Such places do exist, although theymight seem dreamlike. American authors may manage to derive their inspiration from somewhere, but for Europeans, it is already there and painted for them. All they need to do is look outside at the place they can be proud to call home. And maybe climb a mountain or two.

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