Hello all! I have created this lovely blog for all things London, and I suppose all things Lauren... well really all things about Lauren's study abroad in London.
So I have been in London a week and I am loving it! I have already learned so much and have seen so much and I still have a little more than three whole months left. It has been kind of hectic, and kind of stressful, and now I am kind of tired, but it has already been one of the best experiences of my life.
This is my new home... the BYU London Center. I love it! All five stories of it! I live right down the street from Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace, it is such a nice location. I share a room with 12 other girls... which is fun? Really, it is fun, and I really love all of the girls here... and the one boy that is in our group as well. I have already met so many amazing people and I know we will all become really close throughout the semester.
I am a little overwhelmed by how much I have done, and am not going to do a day by day debriefing of all things Lauren in London... it would be a bit too much, for you and for me. So here are the highlights of the past two weeks.
Tuesday, September 9
Today we started an assignment for my London Walks class (yes I get credits for walking around London). The walk followed the path of the old Roman wall that surrounded the ancient city. It was amazing to think that there are still remnants of that wall. Anyhow, as exciting as ancient walls are, I enjoyed seeing the real current London a little bit more than thinking about the ancient wall.
I got to see awesome things like the tower of London, with my new friends...
And finding awesome churches, like this one, where mother goose was buried. I know the door doesn't exactly tell you a lot about the church, but I liked the picture. So I am putting it on here.
Okay so maybe I am a nerd, but this was my favorite spot of the walk. It contains remnants of all of the time periods in London's history (well most of them). The mossy rock in the right hand corner is part of an old Roman tower that was on the Roman wall. The brick strip on the left hand side is pre-WWII, as are the other walls. They were all bombed during the WWII air raids. They found the Roman wall when cleaning up the remnants of the bombings. Then there is a contemporary building on the right and an old church on the left. That is exactly how London is though, there are these beautiful old cathedrals, with a modern skyscraper right next door. They build new in with the old. I love it. It is so amazing to be able to walk through the city and see over a thousand of years of history. Anyways, nerdy moment for the day. I thought it was awesome though.
Wednesday, September 10
Today we went to Bath and Stonehenge. The whole day was so amazing (I will be saying that a lot, because everything I have done has been amazing)! Stonehenge was so cool. There isn't a whole lot to know about Stonehenge except for the fact that they don't know a whole lot about Stonehenge. So after seeing how awesome it is we just took a bunch of awesome stonehenge pictures. It was really fun though, and although they don't know a lot about Stonehenge there is a lot of history behind it. The rocks apparently came from some mountains in Wales. It is amazing to think that somehow these ancient people brought these huge rocks to this random field.... I am assuming that whatever it was used for was pretty important.
After Stonehenge we drove to Bath. For those of you who are unaware (as I was), Bath has a very long history. The city started as a Roman temple. There are ancient baths in Bath (who would have guessed). The amazing part is that the baths that you see when you are there still use the original drainage and pumping systems, as well as the original sealant for the baths. The picture below is of the baths and Bath Abbey (which was also beautiful).
The city was also home to Jane Austen and two of her books were set there. Anyways enough history. I loved Bath! It was perfect, like out of a book. The whole city was absolutely pristine and looks as though it hasn't changed since the time that Jane Austen lived there. Around every corner there were charming houses and gardens. We went and had a tea at the Pump Room and drank the healing bath water. It was lovely.... that's really the perfect word for Bath. Lovely.
I really think I must fast-forward through the rest of the week as this is taking much to long to write. And really Bath and Stonehenge were the highlights to the week, and I have so much more I must tell you about. So highlights of the rest of the week were:
Parliament: went on a tour with the group, absolutely amazing how much history and tradition there is in British government.
National Gallery: I have fallen in love with art. I have never before been so awestruck by it, I cannot believe the amount of detail and beauty in each painting. My favorite was "Madonna of the Rocks" by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Walk Along the Thames: It is a really fun area of London and has a different feel than central London.
Portobello Road: So fun. It is this awesome market with antiques and fun shops. I got cute new shoes and a new wallet to hold all of the change that they give you in Britain! That is one thing I am still getting used to.
Thames Festival: I ate delicious Moroccan food. It was delicious.
Vivaldi Concert: I hadn't really ever love loved classical music, like I liked it, but never loved it. This concert was so amazing. I love classical music now.
The Tube: I love the tube. It is a great place to people watch, and a great way to get around London. I think I have a pretty good handle on it now, although I still have to use the tube map.
I feel awful for skipping over such amazing portions of the week, but it might take me a whole week to explain them in detail. Everything I have done has been so amazing... that's really the only way to describe it. Amazing.