I tried to post this on Thursday but the wifi wasn’t working.
I wanted to write a post about the fabric of London, now that we have seen a great deal of it from various heights and angles. I found it extremely intriguing to look at the gherkin from the angle next to the cheese grater. It was nice to see the different layers of the city that have been built throughout time: the old ruined church, the newer neoclassical building, and the nearly brand new gherkin. From chipped, dated stone to thin glass, you can really see how the city has grown over the years and it is quite a sight. It makes you think about the history this city went through. And today seeing the globe theater up close with it’s thatched roof was also nice because it brought my point full circle. Obviously from a logical and sustainable standpoint, thatched roof and wood buildings aren’t going to last, and even if the fires did not occur in London, at some point, that architecture would have been rebuilt with stone and marble and other materials. But, to see thatch in modern day, thick poche at places like St. Paul’s, aged stone, and thin, tall curtain wall, just makes me appreciate this city more. That kind of stuff does not happen anymore; you can’t see that stuff in columbus ohio. It also makes me think about the heap of issues Londoners have had to overcome. From fires and rebuilding their entire city to accepting buildings like the egg, the gherkin, the cheese grater, the walkie talkie building, the shard, and the inside out building all within the last few years, makes me realize and appreciate their culture, architecture, and way of life. Their buildings are truly a melting pot of architecture.
Hampstead Heath is located in the very north side of the city of London. London is well known as the top green city in the world, and it is one of the reasons that I like London as well. It was not very smooth trip to get there. I planned to meet my friend at 3 pm at the hampstead Heath station, but I could not make it on time due to traffic jam. My friend told me it is hard to be on time in London especially on weekends. London seems to have the same problem of congestion as other big cities. The heath was beautiful, many families came out to enjoy wonderful weather and Spring.
While sitting down on a bench, I saw the problem of Walkitalki building that I heard from the news. When sun light directly goes to the building, it reflects and bothers other building and people on the street. I remembered a news that the light thawed snow on the street last winter. It was about to sunset when I arrived there, and I could exactly see the strong light coming out from the building. My friend also told me the architect who built walkitalki recently designed a similar building in Dubai, and it may cause a big problem.
On my free day I chose to do a little more in the city of London. I first met up with my friends from back in Ohio and went to this little quaint restaurant called Nicholson’s for fish and chips (again). This was one of the best things I ate there! After that we walked up and down Oxford and Regents street shopping! One of the big things I found to be different was the layout of the store Self Ridges. Unlike malls that I have been to in America, it was just one large space with all different stores and no dividing walls. I think this is a good way to organize a shopping center because it forces people to walk through different stores and see things they might not see if it was an individual shop. After that, we went over to Camden town to go to the market and try new foods. On our way there we passed by many street performers and were able to stop and enjoy for a little! Unfortunately the Camden Market was closing as we were getting there- but from what I saw it was mostly unique things that weren’t too expensive!! We ate at this little pub called Mexican Kitchen. At first it was a little sketchy but turned out to be really great food. I am happy I was willing to try new things because in the end that is what made this trip so rewarding!
The last day in England was spent traveling to Canterbury. This is the tale of our journey.
The beginning of the day was a hot mess of everyone scrambling to figure out what the game plan was. One group already planned a trip to Windsor. Others were shopping. And our group hoped for a trip to the bleach white cliffs of dover. We were unsure of the price of a train ticket round trip and had to call the station. Finally, we learned that the train tickets had a deal that would make our tickets only ₤17, much less than the expected ₤60 we calculated the day before. The fab five (Chris, Juli, Kerry, Ruben and Todd) traveled to Paddington to buy the tickets. When there, the ticket lady determined our best option was to buy the ticket in Victoria station, which is where the train left. With 25 minutes before departure, the team sprinted to Victoria via tube. The tube was nearly about to depart when the fab five squeezed in. A few stops passed until the team reached the station. To our dismay, the queu to purchase tickets was half a football field (European version) long. Risking the situation, the group jumped into an adjacent queu that was nearly empty. The ticket master approved our request and gave us five tickets. With under ten minutes to spare, the fab five rushed to platform 3. After a stressful and time crunching morning, the team successfully hopped a ride on the train.
The London Eye was a wonderful experience to do and witness at sunset. Being able to view the city from yet another view above the city as if we were floating above the Thames River. It was neat to be able to look down and see where we had walked the whole week around parliament and the river. After this experience Rachael, Shelby and I went to the Shard Lounge to get yet another perspective of the city from above. Ive now had on this trip three experiences of viewing the city from above including the top of St. Paul’s dome.
trim.0B201B02-763A-4C36-BE96-8EE352BA1B54After the last day, the only thing I want to say is that the free day is amazing! Andrew, Tian and I went to the Cambridge. In Cambridge, the town is the university and the university is the town. There are 8 colleges in total and some of them just look like gothic churches. I feel that there is fullfiiled with the culture and art. A lot of people just perform beside the street or sell their handmade art crafts. We found a really authentic Chinese restaurant for the lunch. But it’s kind of sad that we don’t have enough time to take boat and photograph in the river. And the most funny thing is we run to the train station in such a beautiful town and tried to catch the train, but we still watch the door closing in front of us. Moreover, on the way back, I found a really cute and delicious cupcake store!
March 14th, we went to the Westminster abbey in the morning. For me it is kind if fun that on the coronation chair there are a lot of lettering stuff did by kids. Also we i was a little bit surprised that in the church, such a sacred and inviolable place, people can yell and even bring their horses in. What a mess! All of these make me start to know this is how a royal church looks like. Moreover, inside the church especially the vaulting and dome, compared to other churches, they are highly decorated.Then we take a boat trip in Thames and went to a architect studio. And I really impressed by those models there.
Exiting the Train
For my free day, Wenli, Tian, and I went to see Cambridge university. The first part of the day was spent on the train out. The train ride was nice and relaxing and we got to see the cute suburbs of London and a little bit of the countryside. Once we arrived we got to the university and saw the gorgeous gothic architecture which the school was made of. Being a student there would be incredible as you could see all the examples of gothic design right on campus. Then we tried to find the rivier. At this point we were rather lost but we were next to the cathedral. With the knowledge of cathedrals’ westworks we were able to get our bearings and find the river. Who knew architecture could be a compass?
When I went up to the top of St. Paul’s, I thought it might be better not to have construction facilities. It seemed to ruin the beautiful skyline of London. Today, however, I felt this could show us an impression on London that it is still developing itself in a positive way. They don’t see much construction in some of the major cities any more in the States. It is beautiful to see the skyline without construction facilities, but it also implies that they are not improving anymore. I wonder when they will finish the construction in London, but I expect the moment I will visit this city again.
I loved taking the river boat down the Thames to Greenwhich today. I never associate the Thames with anything past the London Eye or Big Ben, so I was really cool to see all of the buildings along the riverbank. The ‘tourguide’ was great as well. I loved his sense of humor; it seemed very British, very subtle and almost sarcastic. I think it would have been interesting to have him show us around the whole city. And the stories about Jack the Ripper and the pirates were so interesting! I wish we had a chance to go to more of the dark historical parts of London. It’s morbid, but Makes the city so interesting and dynamic.
The shard was unbelievable! Well worth the money. John, Jason, and I had a great time at the top of the tallest building in Europe. The view was absolutely incredible from up there. Downtown looked awesome, Tower Bridge looked fantastic, and St. Paul looked so small from up there. We were veiwing the city from the seventy second floor. It was really neat seeing the view from the London Eye earlier and then seeing from the top of The Shard. The two views were both amazing, but it was really neat getting to see the London from a birds eye view all lit up at night!
Tower Bridge and City Hall
London Eye and Parliament
The architecture of London is an odd combination of very modern buildings and very ancient buildings. During yesterday’s trip we got to see the area with all of the massive brand new skyscrapers which were right next to the Tower of London, one of the oldest buildings in London. Seeing this new and old architecture right next to each other was very interesting. The obvious differences are in material and general shape. Another thing of interest was how the Buildings had such different functions and how their designs showed that. Tower of London was very low with thick walls and a massive most while buildings like the Gherkin were just focused around height and it’s beauty.
Today was full of wonderful views. Kew Gardens was our first stop on our journey today and it could not have been better. To bad that we could not explore the 326 acres. After Kew it was time for lunch and what a struggle that was to get there, but we managed to find the right path and enjoyed a wonderful meal. The London Eye was pretty special too. It gave a great view of the sun setting over the city. However, I think the greatest part of the night was my trip to The Shard with John and Todd. From the top one could see the entire city of London. That was well worth the £29.95 in my opinion.
I am not sure If I am a fan or a critic of the view of downtown London. It truly is an unique collage of buildings. In America I am used to seeing a different view. I am used to skylines filled with all kinds of tall curtain wall and concrete structures. The big difference here in England is how the old buildings and new buildings clash in age and architectural style. The old structures are beautiful and the new skyscrapers are neat, but to me they seem to clash due to having nothing in common. Some of the other students have told me they enjoy the view, but to me it just is an unusual sight.
This chilly morning we headed out to the catch the tube. I had the pleasure of leading the group down Bayswater Road to the tube station. We took the red line east to St Paul’s Cathedral. We entered Paternoster Square to see Sir Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar. The beautiful arch stood as the gateway to London for over 200 years. The Temple Bar has been rebuilt two times which shows it’s resilience to remain a part of London’s deep history. Statues of King Charles and his son adorn the arch along with King James and his wife Ann. The monument is perfectly placed next to Wren’s famous St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Today has been our second day in London and so far in these past two days I have seen a lot. The best by far had to be the visit to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The cathedral was just beautiful. It really stinks that pictures were not allowed because words could not describe it. Also, the view of the city from the very top made for some excellent pictures of the city. The second best thing has to be going to the British Museum. The museum was full of architecture and artifacts from pretty much everywhere. I had a blast going around and having the chance to see all of it. So far these past two days have been great. I cannot wait to see what the other days have to offer us.
The underground is insane. Riding during morning rush hour today really showed me how much this system goes through on a daily basis. I can’t imagine using the train every morning and night to and from work, cramming into those train cars like sardines. One guy got in next to a few of us, and it looked like he barely fit in the car. We asked if he needed space, and he barely reacted, insisting he was fine. I was amazed when the doors rushed shut right above his head. Knowing exactly how to stand on such a crowded train must have taken him tons of trips to master, and I’m still impressed. I doubt we will get anywhere near that proficient at the tube during this trip, but it’s not too bad anymore! It’s pretty easy to get around once you know the general idea.