S: London 2011
BC: You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. -Samuel Johnson English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784
FC: London | 2 0 1 1 | Spring Break March 11-19
1: Welcome to London! After a 6-hour flight, on which few of us slept, we arrived in Heathrow airport around 7:30am. Our group comprised twelve students and two faculty members: our professor, Franklyn Salimbene, and a study-abroad advisor, Christine. Camden High Street This market is the first place we visited after dropping our bags off at the hotel. It was a lot of fun, and a lot cleaner and more organized than other markets I've seen. Besides the cool shops, there was a small canal nearby that made for some great pictures. A group of us had lunch at Fogg's pub on Chalk Farm Road in Camden Town. My first meal consisted of bread and oil; not bad for my first experience! (left to right) Jose, Clarissa, Ashley, Heidi, myself, Julia, and John
2: We stayed in the Copthorne Tara London Hotel in Scarsdale Place, Kensington. The area near us was beautiful; we were located just minutes away from a Protestant Church, St Mary Abbot's, and Kensington Gardens, where Kensington Palace is located. Princess Diana lived in the Palace until her death in 1997; unfortunately, it was under construction during our visit, so we couldn't check it out. We were able to attend a Catholic Church service on Sunday morning, though we got a little lost on our way there.
3: After a long first day of exploring Camden Market and settling in at the hotel, we were grateful to have a big dinner. We planned to eat at Garfunkel's, a popular British restaurant, and explored some surrounding neighborhoods on our walk towards it. We ended up eating at a small cafe near the tube stop instead. I had some delicious chicken curry and chocolate cake, and excitedly mapped out the rest of our trip with my roommates, Ashley and Heidi. After dinner, we took the bus to some familiar tourist locations...
4: We saw the Parliament buildings and experienced some traditional London adventures; we took pictures in a red phone booth and rode on the upper level of a double decker bus! | The picture below shows the north side of Westminster Abbey. This is where the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton will be held on April 29th, 2011. While I was in London, there were a ton of wedding souvenirs, but the only sign of preparation we could see was new grass in the yard of the Abbey.
5: The London Eye & County Hall The London Eye and County Hall looked beautiful lit up together. This is probably one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. On Wednesday, we were able to ride the Eye and see what London looks like from 135 meters aboves the Thames. | Big Ben & the Thames River We crossed the Westminster Bridge and walked up close to Big Ben. It was impossible to get the whole 96m tower in one picture! It looked very pretty from across the river, though. The dark buildings in the middle are actually Parliament buildings; though the Thames is cleaned up now, there was a time that it smelled so badly from pollution that Parliament had to be let out of session!
6: Buckingham Palace | A bobby! | Clarissa, Ashley, Lacey, myself, Julia, and Heidi | The gates near the Palace | On Sunday, we trekked through the rain to Buckingham Palace, only to learn that the changing of the guard was canceled for the day. We enjoyed seeing the Palace and walking through St. James' Park anyway; I still can't believe that we saw pelicans!
8: Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms | After St. James' Park, we visited the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. This museum is located underground in the actual rooms used by the British government during World War II. The picture to the left shows the original world map, complete with a Hitler cartoon, used by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet in their meetings. We also saw the original door of Number 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister works, and several replications of what the rooms would have looked like during the war. The picture to the right shows a chart measuring death counts from bombs. My favorite part of this museum was the exhibit dedicated to the life and work of the exceptional Prime Minister. "We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm" -Winston Churchill
11: Downtown London & Trafalgar Square After the museum, we ventured out to Trafalgar Square for lunch in the Crypt. It sounds gross, but its actually just a cafe in Westminster, London. On our walk towards the square, we passed a Women of World War II memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Every year, the Queen puts a bouquet of flowers on the tomb in remembrance. We also passed by Number 10 Downing Street; the picture immediately to the left shows the closest we could get to the building. Number 10 is located to the right of the little patch of grass. Due to the recent Irish Republican Army terrorist attacks in London, trash cans have been removed from public areas and stricter protection has been established at several high-profile locations.
12: Some of my favorite activities were visiting Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, where anyone and everyone can stand up and argue about their views on life, and taking the Jack the Ripper Walk led by Donald Rumbelow, in which we visited and learned about several locations in London that were relevant to the Jack the Ripper murders of the late 1800s.
13: Runnymede and the JFK Memorial | Franklyn said he "got shivers" when we read the chapters of the Magna Carta; I read chapter 54. | We had to walk through the backyards of some beautiful British houses to reach the meadow... I hope they didn't mind! | On Monday, we took the British Rail and a bus to Runnymede, the borough where King John accepted the Magna Carta in 1215. The American Bar Association donated a memorial to the Magna Carta, at which we read chapters of the archaic charter. Afterwards, we climbed 50 stone steps to the JFK Memorial donated by Queen Elizabeth II as part of a memorial service for him at Windsor Castle.
14: Windsor Castle Touring Windsor Castle was incredible! The weather was beautiful, so we were able to see everything perfectly. Outside, we could see where the Queen still resides; see the pictures to the far right. Inside, we saw the Doll's House, a huge replica of the castle given to Queen Mary as a birthday gift. We were able to tour most of the rooms in the Castle, including the State Apartments, the Reception Hall, and several rooms restored after a horrific fire in 1992. From the windows of the castle, I could see most of London, and I understood why this location was so prime. | St. George's Chapel, founded in 1348 by King Edward III | Some towers protecting the castle | Outside the Castle grounds
15: We stopped for lunch at the Three Tuns Pub before touring and enjoyed the sunshine.
16: We explored some pretty awesome places at night, too. On Monday night, we saw the "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee", an American play showing at the Donmar Warehouse on Earlham Street. On Friday night, we saw "Jersey Boys" at the Prince Edward Theatre on Old Compton Street. On Tuesday, we went to a House of Commons debate and hit up the original Hard Rock Cafe; I had steak and potatoes. On Wednesday night we dressed up and went for dinner and cocktails at Simpson's on the Strand. I had goat's cheese, potatoes, pork tenderloin, and a taste of some desserts.
17: London Eye
18: Canterbury Cathedral This cathedral is one of the most beautiful and most significant establishments in the history of England. First constructed in 597 AD, this is the place where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered for resisting King Henry I's influence in 1170 AD. The candle marks the area where he was slain; a sculpture made of nails hangs below it in the crypt. Becket's shrine was destroyed by a later monarch who didn't want his subjects to worship a man who disobeyed a king. The shrine has since been rebuilt and thousands of Catholics make the pilgrimage to this cathedral every year. | The abutments outside the church allow the building to support tall, stained-glass windows. | Some architecture in the roof | Grounds outside Canterbury
19: The Amnesty International Group dedicated the candle in the upper right hand corner to people who suffer as "prisoners of conscience". All of the stained-glass windows in the building tell stories of the Bible. It is said that the monks would study the windows throughout the day, partly because they were so beautiful and partly because it was cheaper and easier than having so many copies of the bible. After the Cathedral, we explored downtown Canterbury and had lunch in The Old Buttermarket, a haunted pub.
20: Tower of London | A Yeoman Warder, or "beefeater"! Historically, twelve of these men guarded the prisoners and the Crown Jewels; this one was just a tour guide. | Of course, we had to see the Crown Jewels while we were in London. On Wednesday, we took a Thames River cruise to the Tower of London; the jewels are kept in the building pictured on the right. Legend says that if the ravens kept in this fortress ever leave, the Tower and the kingdom will fall. | Though its original purpose was to be a fortress, the Tower also served as a palace and a prison since the early 1080s when it was built. Many people, including princes, were held here, | and in their last hours were allowed to carve sayings or words of advice into the walls. Today, there are over 70 different inscriptions legible. Here is one to the left.
21: Queen Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey were held and executed here. | A number of murders were said to have taken place in Bloody Tower. | Tower Bridge over the Thames. We went under it on our cruise. | A partial view of the grounds; it was all so beautiful!
22: Portobello Market & King's Cross We had the entire day on Friday to explore London. We started at Portobello Market and went to Platform 9 3/4, the British Museum, and the National Gallery. For lunch, we ate at a pub, where Ashley and I split a "Big Ben Burger"- a burger with a fried egg on top! It was so good! That night, we went to "Jersey Boys" and had dinner in the theatre district.
23: The British Museum My favorite exhibit in the museum is one called "Cradle to Grave"-there was one table full of all the pills an average man or woman would take during his or her lifetime. | Thursday was a busy day as well. We climbed to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral, had lunch and tried on wigs at Middle Temple, and sat in on a criminal court hearing of a domestic abuse case. That night, we visited Harrod's and ate at Garfunkel's.