The Lane

A once massive empire sprawling across the world, Great Britain has been reduced to a near fraction of its old self. London presents a representation of that once great empire, with sights, foods, smells and flavors from across the globe settled in one city. The juxtaposition between the bustling financial capital, always moving forward, and the centuries old royal structures, still charmingly stuck in the past, shows that London is an assembly of past and present. My experience in London was simply incredible, and altogether too short.

I spent my time mostly seeing the classic sights of London. Big Ben, Buckingham, the Tower, Westminster, and many others showcase the age and continuous importance of the city. These landmarks are really enjoyable to visit. Most of them are an illustration of royal excess and wealth, but that’s what makes them interesting. Westminster Abbey specifically comes to mind. It was ornate, large, and packed with tombs of the important. Tombs of royal figures dating back to Edward the II nearly a thousand years ago showcase the history and age of this city. The clashing smell of aging marble and the mustiness of what seemed like centuries old books (probably the hundreds of dead people) drove the antiquity home.
The old buildings were fascinating and all, but Keith, Jose and I took an excursion on Friday that showed me what London really is. Soccer, or football if you’re European, Latin American, African or a pretentious American from Seattle, has been a strange love affair in my life since the 2010 World Cup.


White Hart Lane, note how the facade looks like an office building from the 1970’s.


With no real good reason, I chose Tottenham Hotspur, a team located in North London. We took about a 55-minute trip on the Tube towards the north of London to see their stadium, White Hart Lane. While the stadium was somewhat unimposing, at 12 p.m. on a Friday the area around it was bustling and lively. Halal shops with the hunk of lamb roasting on the spit, markets, sketchy bank loan businesses, and barbershops were abundant in the storefront. Loud, heavy cockney accents, the hiss of busses stopping, and children running around controlled the soundscape. It was real and it was alive. When we finally arrived at the stadium, I was, like I said, thoroughly unimpressed. However, the stadium was tucked into the landscape, it felt like it belonged in that area. Unlike monumental Ohio Stadium dominating the Olentangy, White Hart Lane blended in with its surroundings, which led me to a realization. That stadium was an image of the people around it; therefore the club itself was truly a representation of North London (Arsenal certainly isn’t) and witnessing the stadium and the area around it gave me a look into London that Big Ben simply couldn’t.

London has been an incredible experience; if the next three cities are even half as enjoyable this trip is going to be amazing.

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