I’m having a really tough week trying to sort out all of my paperwork from my year abroad (and also trying to fix the ceiling leak that destroyed my laptop and flooded my kitchen!), and at times it feels like I would have been better off if I had never gone over to England. No sooner do I think that, though, than I think of all the amazing times I had in Europe, and I know that no matter how hard the aftermath of my year abroad is, I don’t regret it at all.

As I wrote this post, I recalled many of the incredible times I had in Birmingham. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to call this place home.

When I look back at Birmingham–at those moments I really felt at home–I think of the cozy mornings I spent sipping tea at my favorite coffee shop. I smile at the thought of all the hours I spent in the Waterstone’s bookshop. And of course, even now that I’ve been back in the US for three months, not a day goes by that I don’t recall all of the wonderful times I had in Birmingham with my amazing friends.

Love, Elizabeth

Shakespeare and Company
Leave it to me to find what Flavorwire called one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. As soon as I walked in, I recognised it from photos I have seen on some of the book blogs I follow. In fact, the wallpaper on my computer at one point was a photo of the signature doorway in this shop, above which is painted: “Be not inhospitable to strangers, / Lest they be angels in disguise.”
The small, cosy shop is crammed from floor to ceiling with (English-language) new and used books. The ground floor is the shop, and the upper floor is a massive reading room—complete with typewriter-filled alcoves—that houses a personal library that is free for anyone to look through and read. They have a strict no-photo policy, so you’ll just have to go there yourself to see what I feel is the most beautiful bookshop in the world.
Love, Elizabeth

Shakespeare and Company

Leave it to me to find what Flavorwire called one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. As soon as I walked in, I recognised it from photos I have seen on some of the book blogs I follow. In fact, the wallpaper on my computer at one point was a photo of the signature doorway in this shop, above which is painted: “Be not inhospitable to strangers, / Lest they be angels in disguise.”

The small, cosy shop is crammed from floor to ceiling with (English-language) new and used books. The ground floor is the shop, and the upper floor is a massive reading room—complete with typewriter-filled alcoves—that houses a personal library that is free for anyone to look through and read. They have a strict no-photo policy, so you’ll just have to go there yourself to see what I feel is the most beautiful bookshop in the world.

Love, Elizabeth

Inverness

Molly and I met up on Wednesday morning at the bus station and boarded our bus. Four hours later, we arrived at Inverness and made our way to our hostel. After my horrible hostel experience last time I was in London, I was a little nervous, but I’ve since decided that this is the best hostel ever. Nice location (right in the town centre), nice kitchen, nice staff, nice price (£11/night), nice toilets, nice showers, nice bedrooms. The pillow is a little lumpy, but that’s okay because I brought my own.

We spent the day just walking through the town. Everyone I had talked to told me that Inverness was really small, but in my opinion, any town that has a mall and streets upon streets of restaurants, cafes, and shops isn’t “really small” (but maybe that’s because I grew up in a tiny village in the middle of a cornfield). I really liked Inverness. It had quirky shops and cute cafes. It was full of beautiful churches. The grass was bright green and the River Ness runs right through the town.

My favourite thing in the town was a place called Leakey’s Bookshop. It was in what used to be an old church, so the windows are still stained-glass and there’s an overall antique feel to the building. I didn’t take any photos of it because some shops are weird about that, but you’ll just have to believe me that it was an incredible place. There were shelves upon shelves of old books. The smell of the books mixed with the smoke from the wood-burning stove that warmed up the entire building. Upstairs was a cafe, some couches, and more shelves of books. It took so much discipline to leave that place without buying anything, but my backpack was heavy enough already without adding books to it, and I didn’t want to think about trying to haul more back home in a few days.

After our wanders, Molly and I went back to the hostel so that I could write all of my blog posts and she could work on homework.

Love, Elizabeth