Mind the Gap, Part I

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly,
you cease for ever to be able to do it.” 

-J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to London. We probably could have gotten an award for the furthest early travels. We had a lot of friends going to Germany, or Switzerland, or Italy, but we were the only ones going as far West as the United Kingdom. It was quite the trek to actually get there, but, when we got there, it was just that much sweeter. We took a bus, at least 5 trains, and a plane to get there. It took much effort, but it was definitely a worthwhile trip. It was our first time traveling without the University, so that aspect definitely added some stress. However, in the end, it was good, because we were learning how to get along on our own without, for the most part, the language barrier. (It was great to hear chiefly English again!) And we actually had one of our professors on the same plane as us on our way to London. (That was surely comforting. Our trek wasn’t completely problem-free, but we arrived mostly unscathed.

Once we got into London, we made our way out to Victoria where our hostel was. Looking like those lost Americans, a kind British woman helped guide us in the right direction. We made it to the hostel and checked in to our lovely 15-person dorm-style room. It was at least 12:30am by the time we got there, so people were sleeping. We were all tired, irritable, and grumpy. We walked into the room with 5 triple-bunk beds. We weren’t exactly thrilled at this sight, but we had to suck it up and take care of what we could so that we could pass out as soon as possible.

In the morning, we got ready for the day, had breakfast at the hostel (peanut butter!), 100_0723and then left for Westminster Cathedral, which was right next to our hostel, for Mass. We were able to look around after Mass. It was truly a beautiful church! They had several side-chapels filled with beautiful artwork. They also had a St. Andrew chapel that had relics behind a cross (so we couldn’t see them, but it was still really cool)! After enjoying the beauty (and the Beauty) in the Cathedral, we made our way to a nearby café to enjoy the liquid elixir that is caffeine as we began to map out our day in London.

We got our Tube passes for the weekend and then headed out to the British Museum. The British Museum had some amazing things – from the Greeks, to the Romans, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and I’m sure many others. The beautiful art and architecture from these civilizations were quite amazing. It was kind of interesting the fact that they had some of these things, but they were truly a beautiful sight. We also saw the Rosetta Stone there. As one of the most enigmatic objects from ancient civilizations, it was quite the sight to see, though I wasn’t able to get very near to the glass case because there was a plethora of people surrounding it. After the ancient civilizations, we went to the Americas, which was rather disappointing (not surprisingly, however), except for the Easter Island statue. I can’t say I know…anything about Easter Island, but it was still quite a sight to behold. We then proceeded to the Enlightenment Room: Oh my goodness! There were so many really old books! Even though I may not have been able to read a good number of them – the language barrier rears its ugly face once again – , I was still in awe of seeing these really old copies of Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Augustine, and so many great authors! I wanted to read them all.

After the Museum, we were all rather hungry, so we wandered around in the hopes of finding fish ‘n chips, but our wanderings were futile, finding only expensive options. We ended up finding a pizzeria. After lunch, we headed toward Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. We didn’t exactly approach the National Gallery the best way (without a map), but we did see some beautiful art. While we did see some beautiful religious art, we didn’t get to see too many famous artists or paintings. As far as I can remember, the only name I recognized was Rembrandt.

After enjoying Trafalgar Square for a little while, we decided to head toward Big Ben 100_0898and the sights to behold in its near vicinity. It was truly unreal to see Big Ben. While it’s basically just a tall clock, I was still only used to seeing it in pictures and movies. We walked over to Westminster Abbey (the Anglican church), but we weren’t able to go in, so we had to be okay with pictures of the outside. We then headed across the Thames toward the London Eye. We weren’t going to go on it, but it was still a wondrous sight. Once we got over the River, we gazed at Big Ben and the Parliament building, took our pictures, and then realized that the closest Tube station was back over the bridge, so we made our way back over there to get on the Tube.

One of my friends greatly missed the US, so we took the Tube out to a suburban area where there was an American Food Store. He got himself some candy and some Kraft Macaroni ‘n Cheese. (We all look forward to the when he makes that.) We figured that, since we were in that area, we would look for dinner nearby. We wandered around for a little while until we found a place for dinner. They were out of fish, so we couldn’t actually get fish ‘n chips. Instead, we got some lentil and spinach burgers, since it was Friday. They were surprisingly good. And I also got to have my first Guinness. It was…interesting. I had heard that it was heavy, but I didn’t realize how heavy it was. I enjoyed it, but it was strange. After dinner, we were all exhausted because of our late night before and our long day, so we decided to just head back to the hostel and call it a day.

“Life is not an MP3 player
where you can play what you want
but life is a radio where you
have to enjoy what’s being played.”



Duc In Altum


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: What I Learned in Austria Is… | Eärendil Star

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