Today we got up at 5am in Belgium and again put our public transportation skills to test getting on multiple trains to eventually make it to London! When we arrived we were greeted by Victoria who will be our guide for most days this week. Victoria helped us navigate to the hotel where we were able to freshen up and get ready for our first day. We all met at 12 and made our way to Westminster where we got on a boat to Greenwich. The boat ride was great giving us a view of many historic, political, and urban buildings in London. We went under the London bridge as well. Greenwich is where we spent most of the day. We started off with an early afternoon tea at Catty Stark. I loved this as I am a loyal and enthusiastic tea drinker. It was fun to have an authentic tea time in England. Next we toured Catty Stark, which was extremely interesting from a trade perspective as well as a historical perspective. From there we went to the prime meridian and learned some more history of England.
A surprise for the day was seeing the urban part of London that victoria compared to Manhattan in New York. I had always known about Buckingham Palace and the mor historical buildings that are in London, but didn’t realize it also had skyscrapers that were home to banks and law offices. It was fun to get to walk around that district a bit and see everyone in their business attire.
One way today connected to me theme was the idea that religion prompted people to drink more tea. The push for people to drink less alcohol by the methodists resulted in a boom in the tea market and with more demand resulted in the Catty Stark having an initial purpose in moving tea from spot to spot. Another interesting point Victoria made today was the description of Britain selling opium to China in order to get their silver back. I thought this related in the sense that with power you have a responsibility and Britain abused their power here hurting another group.