Academia, Life, Medieval, Travel
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6 months later…

It’s been a while since I last updated the blog (and believe me, I’ve want to write so much, but some reason there was always an excuse). So what have been up to the last 6 months? Find out more…I cannot believe that the last time I posted was in May… I had had high hopes of writing loads of blog posts in between this time (even drafting many), but I guess time sometimes flies away far too quickly. Well, I guess on a positive note is that I’m sitting down writing this blog post – and hopefully, it won’t be another 6 months till I write the next one.

So, wow, what’s been going on since April? Way too much! I’ve done a lot of travelling these past few months (in fact, I’m currently sitting in an Air BnB in Slovakia writing this post!). Rather than rambling on, here is a list of the places I’ve been to since my last post:

Notre Dame la Grand, Poitiers

Poitiers, France – I had the pleasure of being awarded a travel student scholarship to attend a Romanesque conference in this beautiful city, and had a wonderful time. (You can see my last blog post all about it here – I hope to make a series of blog posts about the different medieval sites we went to).

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Iceland – I went on an epic road trip across southern Iceland with my amazing boyfriend who had planned and organised the whole trip for my birthday! It was such an incredible holiday, and I loved every moment of it. Iceland is a beautiful country, and I have so many blog posts about this trip coming up.

Carcassonne, France

Carcassonne, France – My boyfriend and I went with my parents for a weekend away to this beautiful medieval city in south-western France. The weather was lovely, and there were lots of medieval sites – what not to love!?

New York, USA, May - June 2018

New York, USA – Wow, wow, wow – I had THE best time in New York in May. I was fortunate to be awarded a travel research grant from the Paul Mellon Centre to travel to the big apple to conduct research for my PhD, and had an amazing time there. I saw so many beautiful medieval manuscripts, which were crucial for my research. I also had a fantastic time catching up with friends and family, and exploring this city.

International Medieval Conference, Leeds

Leeds, UK – not quite a holiday, but I attended a renowned medieval conference at the University of Leeds (it’s kinda’ a big deal in the medieval world). Whilst it was a tiring experience – running from one seminar room to another to catch as many interesting talks as I could – I had a wonderful time being immersed within the medieval scholarly hub. (Yes those are dragons you see in that photo…)

Holiday in Ternand France, view by the swimming pool of the countryside

Ternand, France – we spent a relaxing week in this beautiful village north of Lyon with Malek’s grandparents. (And yes, I did see something medieval whilst there!)

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall, UK – not too sure that I would call this a holiday as such, but at the beginning of September, I was part of a group who walked a good chunk of Hadrian’s Wall for charity. It was hard work (so many hills!!), but worth it – the views and scenery were stunning, and it was so nice to spend time with loved ones. You can find out more about this walk here. Oh, I nearly forgot – I did see some medieval things too!!

Venice Beach sign

Los Angeles, USA – Again – WOW, wow, wow, wow, WOW!! So in July, I received the amazing news that I had received the Christine and Ian Bolt Scholarship from the University of Kent, which allows me to travel to the states to complete my research! My first trip was to LA to research at the Huntington Library in Pasadena. I had an incredible time in LA. I was blessed with beautiful weather (although it’s always beautiful weather there, right?), and I saw an amazing collection of illuminated manuscripts (I think my final total was 15 manuscripts). There were two main manuscripts that were crucial to my work, and seeing those in person was invaluable.


Montenegro and Croatia – A day after getting back from LA (and finally being reunited with our luggage which had been stranded in Dallas), my boyfriend and I, set off for a week of relaxing in Montenegro. I’m blessed to have been coming to Montenegro and Croatia since I was 12/13 (Mum, you’ll need to clarify this!), as my parents have a holiday home in a small village in Montenegro not far from the Croatian border. It was the first time Malek had been to the house since I’ve known him, and so it was lovely to finally be able to share this part of my life with him. Oh, and in case you were wondering, of course, I managed to see some medieval things whilst there!

Kosice, Slovakia

Kosice, Slovakia – After a quick stop at our flat (one day only…), we were on route to Kosice in Slovakia! The second biggest city in the country, Kosice is really rather stunning! We’re here as Malek and his family were running the Marathon for charity (read more about it here: ) – and they did such an amazing job, I’ve never been so proud in my life! The Kosice Marathon is the oldest in Europe and the second oldest in the world! The whole city was buzzing and full of people cheering for those crazy people running the marathon.

Wow, what a long list! I don’t think I have missed anywhere on this… But as you can see, the last few months have been very busy, both personally and professionally for my research. Whilst I do love travelling, I’m looking forward to getting back into a nice steady routine back at home and getting properly into my research as begin my second year.

This entry was posted in: Academia, Life, Medieval, Travel


Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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