and B begins…
Posted June 9, 2009on:
History of London started yesterday, my class for session B. Luckily we only have one 1500 word paper, one 1 hour final, and just a lot of other fun trips all over London. I think I can deal with this (although I did switch from politics to history, I’m not sure what I was thinking…I do not really like either). After our introductory class, we only had a few hours before we had to sign up for all of the exciting stuff the program has planned for us this session. We decided to go to Piccadilly Circus, a very touristy place, with many shops, and people everywhere. It was nothing too special, but still nice to just get out and walk around. We came back right in time to get in line and sign up for the activities. I am officially going to: Wicked (YEY!!), Wimbledon Tennis tour, Windsor and Eton daytrip, Jack the Ripper Walking tour, Greyhound Racing, Bath daytrip, Comedy Store players (comedy show), Dirty Dancing, Cricket, and finally a Midsummer Boat Party. All this, plus more, is to come!! I can’t wait! After waiting forever to sign up, and then finally signing up, we had some dinner and headed over to Builders Arms, a pub where there was a free comedy show. It was very funny (for the most part), and a lot of fun to watch. After watching many people make fun of the fact that we were American (that seems to be a common theme around London when they see or hear us talking) we headed back and went to bed.
Today was a little more exciting than yesterday. First, class wasn’t in the classroom, we went to the Museum of London and walked around the old time period of London area. That was pretty cool actually. It was one of a few trips we well have to this museum because it stretches over the long time span of London that we will learn about in this class (o boy… can’t wait). Afterwards we headed outside and saw remains of the wall that used to surround the city of London, mainly the financial district, back in the time of the Roman Empire (I think that’s what he said anyway…). After leaving our teacher at the end of class, we decided to stay in the area and walked around the financial district for a while; see some of the banks and activity that goes on. It was like a whole different world from the normal happenings of London, especially from the palaces. People walked around in business suits, very determined to get where they were going. It is common knowledge in London that the finance London and the palace, royalty London are two very different things, it was just very cool to see that difference for myself.
After that we headed over to St. Paul’s Cathedral which was absolutely amazing. I think it is one of my favorite places that we have gone to so far. The inside of the cathedral was just incredible, the ceiling, the walls, everywhere you looked was something exciting to see. We went into the crib where people buried in the church are laid, which was just incredible to see also. I just walked around the entire place speechless, in awe of what this cathedral looked like. The worst part was that I was not allowed to take pictures, but it’s ok because I bought the brochure book to make sure I remembered everything. After walking around the main part of the cathedral, we found the entrance to the staircase, and about 250 very wide but short steps later I was at the top of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral looking down at everything I was just looking up at. Then we went up about another 150 narrow but large steps and were even higher up in the dome, but this time looking out on the world. It was very tiring but so incredible. It took about 2 hours to get through this cathedral because there was so much to look at and explore. I absolutely loved it in there.
After walking through the cathedral we headed over the millennium bridge (the large walking bridge that goes over the Thames River) and into the Globe gift shop. There was nothing that exciting there, so we headed back across the river again and onto the tube. Instead of going directly back though we went to Kings Cross train station where Harry Potter was filmed, particularly the 9 ¾ platform. When we finally found the platform, you see a sign about saying Platform 9 ¾ and a cart below the sign half way through the wall, similar to what they did in Harry Potter. Katherine and I took turns taking cheesy photos of ourselves “running” through the wall with the cart in hand. We couldn’t stop laughing, out of a little embarrassment for being there, but also just out of fun and joy.
After we had our fun, we headed back to the house for dinner, and a relaxing night of watching movies and hanging out. The tube (a.k.a. the London form of a NYC subway) shut down at 7pm tonight (Tuesday) due to a union strike, and will not open again until Thursday night around 7pm. This makes getting around town very difficult, as in about 3 million people set foot on a tube every single day in London. The city is going pretty crazy over it, and we decided that our safest bet would be to stay in tonight, and deal with the madness in the morning when it is absolutely necessary. Goodnight for now, although I am sure I will have at least one “we got a little lost” story from my bus travels tomorrow.