London was a fabulous experience and I’m so thankful I was a part of this group. It’s hard to pick a day or a place that stands out as a favorite because everyday was full of different experiences and sites. The real food market was a great introduction to London and assured me there was good food to be found in London despite many warnings I had heard from others. Actually, I indulged in the local cuisine more than I should have! Thankfully the 10 miles we seem to walk everyday hopefully made up for it! I adventurously tried fish and chips, bangers and mash, Canterbury brie, macarons and even a lox and cheese sandwich! After returning home I think I’m missing the delicious food the most! The experience was awesome and I loved every minute of it!!!!
I was struck by the wide range of materials used in the landscape. The variety of pavers, bricks and stone used gave the ground plan more interest than I have seen in other cities. I did not experience the concrete jungle effect I usually associate with cities. I noticed interesting patterns and deliberate materiality changes which was a nice accent to the stunning architecture. The merging of the old and new materials was present as it is the architecture. One example of this was seen at Stonehenge where the walkway was a pervious plank system. Brilliant really, it gives the visitors a walking surface without producing the water runoff a traditional paver path would have. A similar material was used around Princess Diana’s memorial.
Can it be? Is that a bee buzzing and flowers blooming? Yes, the beautiful English countryside was dotted yellow by trumpet daffodils, wild hyacinth and amongst other things a few remaining crocus. Cherry trees and magnolia trees are also beginning to burst open their swollen buds. I spotted a handful of snow drops hanging on to their petals but the majority had passed. The earliest rhododendrons were beginning to put on their spring show displaying deep reds and soft pinks. Cyclamen was in abundance planted in pots and window boxes along the streets and also in the understory of parks where it was thriving in the mild English climate. Also blooming now are flowering quince in an array of whites, oranges, pinks and reds. Perhaps my favorite would be the camellia with its perfect round flower and striking stamens. I also spotted some viburnum, pieris, primrose, and even a few roses. It was a lovely time to visit!
Diana Memorial Fountain
The princess Diana memorial designed by Katherine Gustafson captures
the essence of the life led by the former First Lady of Whales. The memorial is skillfully carved to manipulate the natural flow of water and minor typographically changes increase and decrease it’s speed. The artist created ridges and drilled holes which added ripples and movement.
Diana experienced turmoil in her life and the sharp turns and carved ridges in the memorial agitate the water creating tumultuous spaces. The ever changing current also displays periods of calm and stillness which captures the grace and elegance which the Princess steadfastly displayed. Finally the eternal ring symbols to me how Diana’s legacy of humanitarianism will live forever in the many lives she touched.
Today was a rather ambitious! We began our morning with a level of uncertainty due to the train ticket prices to Dover. We were pleased to find a deal for 20 pounds for a round trip ticket. The rail line was rather nice and the lovely country side gave us a glimpse into suburban life. We were surprised when we arrived to see a large shipping port at the foot of the cliffs. Apparently it is the largest passenger port in all of Great Britain per our taxi driver. As we traveled down the rough terrain the port disappeared and we were left with magical vistas. We arrived at sunset which was well worth the wait. The lush green fields were a pleasant reminder that spring is a mere 4 days away!
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.
We are about to board our flight to Heathrow and everyone is excitedly planning there upcoming week! Some students are buying tickets to shows like the Lion King, Wicked, and Les Miserable! Harry Potter is also attracting a lot of interest hopefully someone can find tickets. There are so many things to consider and to do!
Instead of springing forward one hour tonight we will be springing 5 hours ahead! Lucky for us London changes time March 30th so we will only be 4 hours behind when we return. Our flight is boarding!