Saturday, December 13, 2008

Goodbye London Town

Finals are finished and my time in London is coming to an end. Sad day. So here is a list of some of the things I'll miss about London and what I look forward to when I come back home.

What I'll Miss...
British Accents
Going wherever I want on the tube
Percy Pigs
Cute Sweet Shops
The Thames
Movies in the classroom
Kensington Gardens
Whitechapel Ward
London walks
Art Museums
Going to shows every week
The view from the National Gallery
Big Ben!

What I look forward to being home...
real hamburgers
Mexican food
Toilets that flush
One faucet on the sinks
clean mountain air
being in car
my family!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Walk Among the Scholars

Schools of Thought
1. Socialism
2. Classical
3. Pre-Raphaelite
4. School of Art
5. Darwinism
6. University of London
7. Peaceful Resistance
8. British Library

The walk among the scholars seemed a rather boring walk as far as sight seeing goes, but when I began thinking about all the studying and new ideas that originated in such concentration from these blocks, the lack of “sights” became nothing to me. I walked amazed and inspired by the studious endeavors of past and present students. Britain has held scholarly renown for quite some time and it is no wonder considering the works of Newton, Darwin, Rossetti, and Dickens which cover the bases of human ingenuity in science and art. The pictures and captions listed above are only a sample of the scholarly work in that neighborhood and an even smaller sample of London’s contributions to science and art. This semester, I’ve been walking in the footsteps of giants.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My first full day in France was spent at the extravagant Versailles palace and grounds. The palace was luxury and wealth to the extreme. The grounds looked magnificent, even during the dreary winter day. If I had come in the spring I think the blooming flowers and gold architecture would have overwhelmed me with its exuberance. A group of us girls had a blast though! We explored the grounds and found Marie Antoinette's hamlet which was a fairytale like village she had made to connect with the peasants. Yeah, well maybe it was more like a huge play village, but Marie Antoinette wasn't known for her thriftiness. We sure enjoyed the ideal village and loved the mill that looks like Belle's house. It was worth the extra hours and miles spent exploring.

J'aime Paris

Ah Paris, the city of lights and lovers. Sometimes a person can dream about a place so much that its reality fades in comparison,an anti-climatic realization. My visit to Paris was not one of those times. All I ever imagined about Paris, the architecture, the art, and the food lived up to or exceeded my imagination. I really enjoyed the pastries and I mean REALLY enjoyed the pastries. Since we had to cram as much as we could see of Paris in 4 days there was little time to sit down and eat meals (that lead to some very sore feet) so around lunch and dinner and well anytime food sounded good, we stopped at a patisierrie. My favorite treat was a tarte aux pommes fine. DELICIOUS.
The museums and sights were also wonderful, but my favorite museums were the Louvre and the Orsay. Sam, Annie, and I went to the Louvre at night which made us feel like kids in a school at night. We had our deep intellectual moments discussing David's Raft of Medusa and Venus de Milo, but the best memory of the night was our speed walk through the Italian Gallery. According to Rick Steves, this gallery can be through in 58 seconds if you walk at a brisk pace. That is a lie. Almost running, Sam and Annie made it in 2 minutes and 50 seconds and I lagged behind for a 3 minutes and 10 seconds time, but before I could make it to the finish line/ doorway one of the security guards looks at me and with a heavy French accent says "you lose". I look back (part of reason for my horrible time) and he's straight faced, but all of us are cracking up. It was wonderful. My other favorite, Musee d'Orsay had impressionist and realist paintings in a railway station turned museum. I liked the relaxing feel of the museum that coincided with its art.
Of course, I can't forget the Eiffel Tower. I took about 20 pictures of the icon of Paris and it was then that I realized why I love the Eiffel tower; it is beautiful from every angle of the city. Paris will always be one of my favorite places and hopefully I'll be able to go back and savor all the city has to offer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

For Tanner

Twice during my escapades I saw something that made me think "Tanner would like this". These pictures are for you Tanner. The first is a gargoyle from Notre Dame and the second is a leaf from Winston Churchill's garden. He might have given those plants steroids. They were gigantic!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Museum Walk

Centers of Learning
1. Science Museum
2. Brompton Church
3. Brompton Oratory
4. V&A Museum
5. Imperial College
6. Holy Trinity Church
7. Royal Music College
8. Royal Albert Hall
As close as South Kensington there are several buildings of spiritual and intellectual growth. I did not fully realize how ideally placed the BYU London center was to some of the best museums in London. All around are these wonderful buildings for learning, most of which were built during the Victorian era. I thought the combination of museums and churches fit with great religious crisis of Victorian times. Both sides, science and religion, were represented by these centers of learning which seems to me that both knowledge and faith can exist side by side. Now I’m building and expanding spiritually and intellectually, so this walk seemed to fit me personally as well as the Victorians I’ve been learning about.

Little Venice

Modes of Transportation
1. Little Venice Canals
2. Driving
3. Biking
4. Walking
5. Boating
6. The View from the Bridge
7. Canal Home
8. Canal Entertainment

Little Venice may not look like the real Venice, but it still had a waterway charm just in the English style. The boats along the canal were sturdy and rustic looking. After a few minutes in the cold November air I was jealous of how they seemed to be snug and cozy on the cold water. During the summer the canals are supposedly bustling, but now they just sat along the canals like ducks on a pond. Just a few streets away the city was moving, but Little Venice stayed calm. It reminded me of outer Denver with the cold day and the city nearby. As I looked around I noticed all the different ways to get around the neighborhood. One thing I’ve noticed about Britain in general is that there are plenty of ways to travel and Little Venice was a perfect example of this.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Walk Among the Superstars

1. The First Star
2. Sir Lawrence Olivier
3. Oscar Wilde
4. Brahm Stoker
5. Keith Richards
6. George Eliot (Marian Evans)
7. Mick Jagger
8. Thomas Carlyle
The walk wasn’t quite the Hollywood tour where you drive by the homes of famous actors, musicians, and athletes, but an interesting walk nonetheless. I saw the homes of writers, philosopher’s, and—well okay—actors and musicians as well as real heroes, the royal army. It seemed amazing that so many great people lived in the Chelsea area. There were not that many memorials or beautiful landscapes along the walk and I felt a bit ridiculous taking pictures of doors, but there was a nice appeal to the walk. Instead of looking at monuments where historic events happened, I was walking the same streets as great people of the last century. It was wonderfully mundane—just a city neighborhood that happened to have famous people living there at one time.

Holland Park Walk

1. Playing Shadows
2. Hillgate Street
3. Hillgate Pub
4. Lonely streets
5. Deep Red
6. Brilliant Orange and Yellow
7. Kyoto Garden
8. Crane in the Garden

Having been thoroughly impressed with Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, I did not expect anything new from Holland Park and the surrounding area, but I was pleasantly surprised. What I found there was a previous luxury in London, quiet solitude. Granted, it wasn’t complete silence or solitude, but the closest I’ve been to it since I came to London. There were times during the walk when I couldn’t hear traffic and saw only a few people on the streets. The charming houses and Kyoto Garden were made more enjoyable by the fact that I didn’t have to dodge crowds to get to them. The fading light heightened the rich yellows and reds of the changing leaves and created shadows on the white washed houses. Autumn has been a long season and this walk was yet another walk that seemed to be made for a brisk autumn afternoon. Paris in the Fall—try London in the Fall—truly spectacular.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bonnie Scotland

TEdinburgh is a beautiful city, but the Scottish weather is even more fickle than Alamosa's. It literally took five minutes to change from sunny to rainy. Luckily, we were prepared for any weather and the cold only made the experience better because we braved it. Our trip started off slow...the train arrived in Edinburgh two hours late because gale like winds had damaged the railway (Scottish weather), but we made the best of it and even got reimbursed (in vouchers). The best part was the Scotch Broth and toast waiting for us at the home of a missionary couple. They made our trip. We were able to stay in their flat which is the closest thing to a home any of us have seen for a long while.
The next day we walked the Royal Mile, tried deep fried mars bars, and hiked to Arthur's Seat which looks over Edinburgh. It was a really hard hike with the wind and rain coming down on us and once we reached the top, the wind threatened to blow us away, but the trials were worth the view. Just a few steps on the way down and the sun came out and a rainbow crossed the horizon, but that didn't mean the trip down would be easy. I took a wrong path and had to back track up the hill to get back with my group and three of the other girls slipped and fell in the mud quite a few times. I laughed my head off mainly because Sabrina was the last to fall and she fell in the act of making fun of one of the other girls. That night we had really good Chinese food with the missionary couple and Sabrina and I warmed up with Hot Chocolate and a murder mystery. (Oh and the wonderful bed they had for us...we never wanted to leave.)
Our last day of the trip was consistently stormy. Umbrellas were broken, but we were smart enough just to bundle up. It was the perfect day for relaxing in a coffee shop, and that's what we did. We did what any Harry Potter fan would do. We went to the birthplace of our favorite series and wrote on the napkins while enjoyed steamers. Then we left to have another train delay, but not before I fell in love with Scotland.