It’s a Boat Ride

Before traveling to London, Dave, Kelsey and I took a short two day trip to Dublin Ireland to soak up the Irish culture. Dublin was much smaller than I thought it would be but it was still a pretty cool place with plenty of things to see. During our second day there we toured the Jameson Distillery and then the Guinness Storehouse where we learned to pour the perfect pint. In all Ireland was an awesome place, however, I hope to see more of the countryside next time because I hear it is absolutely beautiful.
We flew into England via the Luton airport which we soon discovered was a considerable ways outside the city. We were able to get a bus for relatively cheap and so were off on our London adventure. This was not my first time in London as I had stayed here for two weeks about two years ago with the London Honors program. Regardless it felt good to be back and I was excited to get exploring more of the city.
Dave, Kelsey and I were surprised to find that we were the first students to arrive at the hotel. We checked into our rooms and freshened up before heading out. We didn’t have tube passes yet so we decided to just pick a direction and start walking. We saw a lot that day including Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. We met up with the rest of the group later on and got our tube passes and London passes. We decided that we would get dinner but our group was far too big to be accommodated at almost any of the pubs and restaurants. Jenna, Hannah, Kelsey and myself decided to split off and we had dinner at the TCR Bar which was a pretty cool place. We were joined later by Dave for some drinks.
The next day was when we got started on the WWII part of the trip which is what I was most excited for. We visited the Churchill War Museum which is inside the bunker that he commanded from during the Battle of Britain. It was cool to see how Churchill and his people lives and worked during the battle. There was also a pretty extensive museum that chronicled his life all the way to his death with a very moving video of his funeral profession. After the museum me and some of the group went around to the typical tourists spots such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. On our way home we crossed the millennial bridge which I had never done. I was on the lookout the whole time for death eaters. Luckily none appeared.
The following day we took a train out to Bletchley Park and visited the site where they cracked the enigma code and worked around the clock to decipher German and Japanese intelligence during the war. We took a leisurely tour through the grounds and it was hard for me to imagine over 8,000 people living and working there. The museum was cool to me because it included a small section on some of the double cross agents such as TATE and GARBO that I did my research paper on.
Saturday was a very busy day for me and some of my friends. The group first visited the HMS Belfast which I thought was one of the best things we did in London. I love touring large military ships and the Belfast did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed winding my way through the boiler and engine rooms especially. I was disappointed that they did not have more of the ship available to look around but it was still a great experience none the less. We had spent the previous night planning our day so after the Belfast we quickly boarded a ferry and traveled to Greenwich to see the prime meridian. After thy we ferried back to the heart of London and traveled around seeing the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker St, the Marble Arch and many other sites. It was a fun but tiring day and we took it easy that night by just walking around Piccadilly Circus and soaking in the culture and nightlife.
After so many exciting days in London a lot of us were pretty beat. Regardless Dave and I decided we wanted to see a football stadium. If it had been in the cards I would have liked to have visited Old Trafford in Manchester. Seeing as that was a no go we decided to see Chelsea and Arsenal both were on the London pass but Chelsea was renovating their field so we decided to stick with just Arsenal. The tour was fantastic and allowed is to see the Directors box and the Diamond box. It even included a tour of the dressing rooms and press rooms. The coolest part was getting to go through the tunnel and out to the pitch. Sitting in the home dugout and imagining the roar of tens of thousands of fans is a pretty crazy experience. After that our day was pretty much done. I called my mom and wished her a happy Mother’s Day and we spent the rest of the day relaxing walking around and working on our blog posts.
London was cool but I felt that I had seen and done most of what there is in London before. As I write this I am eagerly anticipating getting to mainland Europe. Normandy is what I expect to be the most exciting part of the trip for me. As we sail into Normandy I will prepare to storm the beaches with the rest of my group. It would be amazing if we could land on the beaches in Higgins boats but I don’t think that is very plausible. Regardless I am excited to start the next leg of our adventure!

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