Monday, May 21, 2012

Save the Queen!

I'm running out of title puns, I have none left on my witty arsenal.
It has been a whirlwind of activity here. The class took a hop-on-hop-off tour to the Tower of London. The buses are somewhat painful to navigate here, but the information provided on the tours is great. The Tower is always a preferred stop for new tourists because of its age old histoy. The Beefeaters, the crows, the white tower and the gruesome history that comes along with it.
The group dispersed, many students continued the hop-on-hop-off to get a better grasp of the city. I went off with some others to Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. The amount of people is simply incredible (and the shopping is great). Covent Garden is one of my favorite places to visit. There are always street performers (this time it was s contortionist), and great eateries.
At the end of the night a large portion of the group went to the London Eye to get a complete view of the city at night, as well as look at Parliament and Big Ben. As impressive as they are during the day, they are simply incredible at night.
The next day we took a river cruise down the Thames to Greenwich village to visit the royal observatory and the exact point of division between the eastern and western hemispheres. We returned from the cruise and visited Big Ben and Parliament again, as well as the Westminster Abbey. After some inquiring from the locals we located the tube stop for the infamous Abbey Road. It is tucked away in the more residential part of the city. There were a handful of tourists at the spot, because it isn't easy to find, but the street is still open. This make picture taking difficult and hard to time.
The evening in London was full of spirit as Chelsea won the European soccer (football) title. Much cheering and drinking ensued on behalf of the whole city. The team was originally a German team and this was their first title, and it just happened to be a win against a current German team.
Today we headed to Windsor Castle (the Queen's second residence). She was in the castle so security was much like the airport. It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. There is nothing more I can say about it that would even adequately cover it. We took off then to Stonehenge, followed by Bath. The areas outside of London are gorgeous. Lush fields, well kept but not perfectly manicured, and serene. It truly is like visiting a picture.
It is all those reasons why I love this city so much. The people are animated, the experiences are ample, and there is so much history to take in. The diversity is incredible from multiple perspectives.
Out stay in London is ending today, sadly. Tomorrow we leave for Ireland and the first group of students returns to the U.S. I'll miss the city, of course, but my track record leads me to believe I will be back before long. The students have mixed emotions at this point. They are all excited for the new adventures but sad to leave London when there is still so much to see.
Ireland title puns coming soon!

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