“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” commented our friend, William Shakespeare. I’m reminded of his observation when I ask Ruth Ann Taylor to tell me about her recent trip. I am aware that somehow Byng community has assigned to Ruthie (RAT) the role of world traveler.
Most of us Byng-ites don’t have the money, the time, or the energy to travel extensively outside the boundaries of the U.S., but we are pleased to let her journey for us, and vicariously, we enjoy the excitement with her. She has been to China three times, and to Africa once. I, personally, have gone with her to Mexico and to Israel and have recognized that she is a person who can feel at ease and at home wherever she hangs her hat.
Ruth Ann is at home now after traveling with her brother and sister-in-law, Wyman and Susie Grindstaff, Springfield, Mo., and seven of their church friends on a 20-day trip to major points of interest in Europe.
The group flew from Springfield to London’s major airport, Heathrowe, where they were picked up by Princess Cruise line bus and taken to Dover where they began an eight-day cruise. Port cities included Edinburgh, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Milford Haven — St. David’s Peninsula, Wales; St. Peter’s Port-Guernsey Island. The cruise finished with return to Dover.
The group then went by ferry and train to Paris, France, where they stayed six days. From Paris they took the bullet train Eurostar to London for two days before returning to Springfield, Mo.
Recalling memorable aspects of her travels, Ruth Ann mentioned Edinburgh’s 14th century palace, particularly its Crown Room, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the chamber where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James , who became king of England and Scotland.
“It was fun to see the former royal yacht Britannia which served as the Royal ramily’s seagoing palace for over 42 years,” she said. “On Sunday, we were delighted with a side trip to Dufermline, arriving at the Church of Scotland’s Dunfermaline Abbey just in time for the first church service. It was great to see that it was a viable, engaged congregation.
"Highlights of Dublin included a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland, and Trinity College, its oldest university. It houses the Book of Kells, the ornately illustrated four Gospels, written by monks of the Kells’ monastery. The Book of Kells is kept in a glass case in a room with muted lighting. Two Gospels are shown at a time and pages are turned each day."
In Paris, Ruth Ann was most impressed with experiencing the Louvre which is much larger and more grand than she could have imagined. She was particularly impressed with seeing the Mona Lisa “up close and personal” and being allowed to take a picture of the painting. Other great works of art she enjoyed included “Winged Victory,” “Venus de Milo,” and the painting “The Wedding Feast at Cana.”
An exciting event was having lunch on the first level of the Eiffel Tower and going to the top (l,063 feet) for a magnificent view of Paris, then lingering to watch the city light up at night.
Having only two days in London caused some in their group to feel they had not had enough time to see everything noteworthy. However, Ruth Ann had spent considerable time there on a previous visit, so she contented herself with re-visiting the Tower of London and getting a glimpse of the Crown Jewels.
An exciting evening climaxed their visit when they saw a lively rendition of the musical “Wicked.”
Byng Community seems in agreement that RAT filled the role of world traveler very well. We all agree: “We couldn’t have done it better ourselves!”
We blinked our eye, and September was gone, leaving us with some glisten-y ‘bright blue’ October weather. Mornings are cool, sometimes foggy, and a jacket feels good until the afternoon sun makes it unneeded.
A friend tells me that hummingbirds began migrating on the Equinox, and by the first of this week, all were gone except one straggler. If it was able to hitch a ride with a larger bird going the right direction, it is probably in South America with the other birds of a feather.