It is sad to not wake up in London. Already our week has already begun to fade into memory. It was an excellent experience and I am very glad to have gone. I can now say I have flown on an airplane as well as travelled out of the country (and continent). I tried new cuisines…and actually liked them. I learned new things about British culture and was able to walk through places that I have only before seen through pictures. Most importantly, this trip has given me the will to travel. London is just the beginning, the gateway to everywhere. I am grateful for the opportunity to go and would love to one day go again. For me at least, London 2014 was a success.
Ashley, Desiree, Jason, Kelsey, and myself traveled to Windsor Castle for our free day. We made it in time to see the changing of the guards and were able to experience one of the most iconic British traditions. We were able to see the State Rooms and St. George’s chapel. The State Rooms were spectacularly grand, they almost looked uninhabitable, because they were so highly decorated. The inside of Windsor was just amazing; the details on the ceilings and the furniture were extraordinary. We spent some time seeing Mary’s dollhouse and a painting gallery, but the main highlight was the gorgeous State Rooms.
Westminster Abbey is simply inspiring. There is so much history which resides within this one building and yet it is still up to date with the modern world (for a thousand year old cathedral). I knew there were many important people buried at Westminster, but I never could have imagined just how many there actually were. It is rather amazing that Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary I, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, George Frederick Handel (and on and on…) are all within the same walls. The Abbey is probably the most important burial place in the world. I was surprised that on the westworks were statues to modern-day martyrs. I had always thought of Westminster Abbey as an ancient church, but here are statues of 20th Century figures, including Martin Luther King Jr. I think it connects Westminster Abbey to the people of today; it is not just a church for the royal family and important ceremonies, but for everyone throughout the ages.
Today after returning from our trip to the country, a few of us went to King’s Cross to see Platform 9 3/4. Afterwards, we split up and went to eat dinner. On our way back to the hotel, a woman stopped us in the King’s Cross tube station and asked us how to get to Marylebone Station. So we got out a map and found the station and then helped her find which stops she needed and where to transfer. It happened that we were getting on the same train, so we showed her part of the way there. One is an accomplished tourist when they can be knowledgeable enough about their place of visit to give directions. Congratulations guys, that’s us.
Tonight, I went to a Thai restaurant for the first time and with Wagamama that makes two times I have tried foreign cuisines on this trip. I had chicken both times once with noodles and once with rice. I really enjoyed the Thai food and I am now glad to say I can I can use “kiddie” chopsticks. It has made me excited to try new foods even though I may not like it every time. I am really excited to try traditional British cuisine while we are here. despite not liking seafood, I would like to try fish and chips.
This was my first time seeing a Broadway/West End show, and I am very glad to have chosen this one. The Lion King was by far my favourite show as a child (which probably applies to a few of us), so it was really exciting to see the movie I grew up with on the live stage. There were obviously changes from the movie, but there were a couple of moments when I could pick out things I believe were changed specifically for the UK show. Instead of doing the “luau” near the end of the show, Timon does the “riverdance”. Obviously the actors (for the most part) had English accents, so we got to hear it pronounced “zeh-bra” instead of “zee-bra”. A very fun evening.
Only for London would I ever willingly be awake this early. This was the first time I have ever walked across campus and not seen a single soul along the way. I am still not sure this is actually happening or if this is just a really vivid dream. I have never flown before, so I am pretty excited/nervous for the flight. From the time I started writing this, we have been making plans, and it is very exciting. There are things I want to do now that I hadn’t thought about until now. I’m very excited and can’t wait until we’re there.