The Chimes of Big Ben

January 30, 2010

Last weekend was full to the brim with lovely touristy activity. I went on a bus tour of the city, a cruise of the River Thames, a Jack the Ripper tour, and a walking tour of the Beatles’ London. It has been very cold here – a different sort of cold than I’m used to – but it hasn’t stopped me from strolling down Fleet Street, walking around Buckingham Palace, staring at protesters in Trafalgar Square, and standing at the base of Big Ben for the 1:00 bells.

The chimes were lovely (unlike the church we ran into in by a Jack the Ripper murder site whose bells clanged incessantly for no apparent reason). It was nice to be able to get a first overview of the city and take a good amount of the obligatory photographs. Though the weekend didn’t provide any in-depth knowledge of London, thankfully my Social History of London class should fill in the gaps. Happily, there is a field trip every week, so I will have the chance to see many of the important locations up-close and personal over the course of the semester.

Speaking of classes, I am completely thrilled about everything I will be taking. London Theater from the Globe to the West End will bring me to 8 shows (including Twelfth Night performed by the Royal Shakespeare Co. and possibly Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Globe theater). Literary London will have several guided walks about the haunts of famous writers. Shakespeare: Comedies and Romances is taught by a very dry and quite humorous professor who it seems will be great fun to learn from. I already mentioned my History of London class, so lastly there’s Women of the Classical Age taught by a tiny energetic and quintessentially British woman. It should be a good semester.

Well, it is now another weekend, and I must be off to explore further.



January 25, 2010

Hello World!

My adventure in London has begun, and here it shall be chronicled to the best of my ability.

My flight landed at London’s Heathrow Airport the morning of Thursday, January 21, 2010. I was soon thereafter shuttled to my flat and, having dropped my bags in my not-so-glamorous room, I set off to explore the area. Initial impression: not all that dissimilar from other cities I have seen. This is excepting the fact that I just drove past No.221 Baker Street (famed residence of a certain Mr. S. Holmes), complete with a Victorian police officer posted at the door. This is going to be a good semester.

Fun Fact – they drive on the opposite side of the road here (I know you’re shocked)! Be it known that this is not only alarming when one is in the back of an excessively speedy hired car, but is also quite startling when one must cross the street.

More news shall follow shortly…