My London journey began shortly after getting off a six-hour train ride from Edinburgh, Scotland to King’s Cross Station in London. My friends and I had a relative plan of what each of us wanted to do and three days to see over 10 attractions, including the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. One of my first memories of that trip was getting off the Tower Line just next to Big Ben, Parliament House and the Tower of London. It was incredible seeing so much history in one area. Although we never went inside Big Ben or Parliament House, we were able to visit the Tower of London and see the crown jewels and a fantastic collection of armor owned by Henry the VIII.
One of my fondest memories of London came at the end of the first day when we visited St. Paul’s Cathedral. Built in the aftermath of the great fire of London in 1669 by Christopher Wren, the Cathedral is a testament to the human spirit to rebuild and overcome. We decided to overcome in our own special way by climbing to the top of the rotunda without the help of an elevator. Although it was exhausting, the view was worth it. From the top of the cathedral we had a magnificent view of the city from a position that was built to stretch towards heaven.
Like many cities, London has always been a melting pot of different cultures. London’s China Town is a prime example. With the red pagoda architecture and freshly cured meats hanging in the window of every restaurant, it felt more like Beijing than London. We were fortunate enough to eat at “The Golden Pagoda”, one of the many restaurants that dot Chinatown. As someone who’s been raised on Chinese food from an early age, I was impressed at the freshness of the rice and fish platter. Although the price for lunch came to roughly $20.00, it was worth it.
London is truly a city of many faces. Medieval castles stand next to modern skyscrapers, Chinese music plays from Georgian apartments and modern street performers juggle and entertain on the same cobblestone streets their ancestors entertained on centuries before. This is merely a summary of my three day London odyssey, but the experiences and people I met will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Thorenz, Matthew. “Entry 7: London Part I, Written 10/27/09.” Matt’s Abroad Blog. Center of International Programs, SUNY New Paltz, 31 Oct 2009. Web. 13 Sep. 2011. http://abroadblogs.newpaltz.edu/blog/2009/10/161/.