Wednesday, June 29, 2011

London Alive Details

Here’s the details on the two walks I will be doing Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Sunday morning there is an option for St. Paul’s but I decided not to do that one.  I’ve been to St. Paul’s and if I went with the group I wouldn’t get a Sunday afternoon walk.  I may go to Westminster, the main service is at 11, and there’s an evening service at 6:30.  So depending on the timeframe for the walk I will try to get to at least one service.  I may go by myself to St. Paul’s some other time.

Walk Name: The Nazi Blitz and London at War: The Imperial War Museum
Walk Date: Jul 02, 2011
Instructor: Dr. Douglas Mackaman / History
Description: Professor Doug Mackaman invites you to a walking lecture on the horrors Londoners endured during the blitz of 1940 and 1941. As you explore how London was destroyed be Nazi bombers, you will also learn about the “stiff-upper lip” survival of Londoners during this darkest hour of the city’s history. The afternoon will also feature a visit to The Imperial War Museum, arguably the greatest museum of military history in the world.

Walk Name: Londinium to the Millennium…
Walk Date: Jul 03, 2011
Instructor: Miranda Grieder/Visiting Professor / Architectural Engineering Technology
Description: How best to get acquainted with London than to know the story of her origins? After a visit to the Museum of London to learn about Roman Londinium, we’ll trace 2000 years of demolition, construction, and reconstruction in a treasure hunt for historical clues. Through what was once Londinium’s busy city center, we’ll stroll through the modern skyscrapers of the financial district, to find ourselves at the gate of the Tower of London. We’ll discover what is built on top of the Roman amphitheater, Mithras Temple, the Basilica, and the Forum. No trowels or brushes required, just good walking shoes!

Both walks seem really interesting, and I can't wait to learn more about London.  In 24 hours I'll be boarding in JFK!  It's almost time to go!

One Day Left!

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 am my trip begins.  I’ve got a ticket for a shuttle bus which will take me from Albany Int. Airport down to JFK.  The bus makes several stops on the way, but I should be arriving at JFK around 2:00 pm.  It should drop me off right at my terminal.  I’ll have a while to wait before my flight leaves, but this was the cheapest and most direct mode of transportation.  I’ll be heading down by myself, so I’ll say my goodbyes in Albany.  It probably makes sense to drop my checked bag right away, and then wait a while before going through security. 

I’ll have a few movies and some tv shows on my laptop and my Ipod to help pass the time before my 9 pm flight.  I’m also taking Neverwhere, because it has to be read in London, which I can start reading if I get bored.  The flight should arrive around 9am British Summer Time, which would be around 4 am EST.  Once we all get through customs we get to board buses and ride for a couple of hours to the apartments.  Then we have a free afternoon, to get settled and explore, and not sleep.

At this point I am pretty much packed.  I did some last minute shopping yesterday, and weighed my suitcase last night.  It’s around 44 lbs by our scale, so I should be fine.  My carry on is a bit heavy, since I shuffled around some of the weight from the checked suitcase, but I’ll manage.  I’ve printed out my flight info, but it’s too early to do online check-in.  My original ISIC had a misspelling, so I sent it back.  I should receive the new one in London.  I’ve submitted both my book reviews, and read the posted course lectures.

I finished reading London Rising earlier this week, and I’m almost finished with a Traveller’s History of London.  I’ve only got around 40 pages left.  I’m working my last shift at PC today from 11-3; then I’ll be done at work and free to hop the pond.  In less than 48 hours I’ll be in London!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Week til Departure

In one week I will be hopping the pond.  The trip finally feels real, and I can’t wait to go.  Earlier this week I finally got my flight information.  I’ll be heading out of JFK on June 30 at 9 pm along with 4 other students on the program.  We arrive at Heathrow at 9 am.  I'm looking into taking a train down to the city.

Late last week I signed up for the two guided walks that we do the first weekend in London.  On Saturday I will be doing the Nazi Blitz, and on Sunday afternoon I will be doing Roman Londinium.  These two walks sounded the most interesting to me, since I’ve already been to London I decided to avoid the more touristy, see-the-sights walks. 

The second weekend there are two day trips as alternatives for those students not going to Paris, Stonehenge/Bath and Canterbury/Dover.  They cost 20 pounds and last almost 12 hours but I’m not yet sure what all they entail as far as what sights you get to see.  I’m definitely going to do the Canterbury/Dover one, since I've not been there. I'm not sure if I’ll do Stonehenge again, I rather like Stonehenge, and would not be opposed to going back.

Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a journal and notebook for the course.  Both are relatively small and easy to pack.  The journal is actually a miniature of the one I took last time to London.  I really liked that design, and when I saw the smaller version I thought it made perfect sense to get it, since I'll be in the same city, but for a shorter period of time.  The notebook is black spiral bound with narrow lined paper.  I will make sure to take plenty of pencils for the visits we have planned.

I also just finished up my pre-departure assignments.  I finished the second book early last week but didn’t get to the review yet.  I was busy with work and watching the SyFy show Sanctuary.  I’ll read over both reviews once more and then I will submit them.  I'm still working my way through both Thames: a Biography and London Rising, but I did finish a Traveller's History of Oxford last week.  Things are starting to come together; this weekend I will probably start packing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

London Summer Reading

As part of our pre-departure course work the library science students are required to read and write reviews of two books from a supplied recommended list.  I have finished reading two books, and have one review written.  I’m hoping to write the other review today.  I’ve read The Book of William and The Professor and the Madman.  The Book of William, about Shakespeare’s First published Folio.  Though I’m not a huge fan of the Bard, this book is fantastic.  It’s a combination of history, rare book auctions, and antiquarian topics.  The author traveled the globe in an attempt to see as many folio’s as possible and to get an accurate record of their provenance and histories.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  The Professor and the Madman is about the two individuals who were central to the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, in the late 1800's. Professor Murray, an English linguistics professor and general editor of the project, and Doctor W. C. Minor an American Civil War veteran, who personally contributed thousands of definitions and supportive quotations. There were many twists and turns that led to their eventual meeting and friendship which lasted several decades. Murder, madness, and tragedy all played a part in this unusual and unexpected relationship.

I’ve read quite a few books since the semester ended; several of them are London/UK related books.  I have read The Canterbury Tales (which I’ve never read in its entirety) and The Inklings of Oxford, as well as several books on the topic of medieval British outlaws, Robin Hood being a central topic.  I am currently reading Thames: The Biography, A Traveller’s History of Oxford, and several non-London books.  I plan on reading A Traveller’s History of London, and maybe London Rising before the trip if I can fit it in.  I already owned a Great Britain guide book from my last trip, but I found a cheap London specific guide book a couple of weeks ago, which made me happy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tentative Schedule

Date                         Activity

July 1                      Arrive London
2                             Class Meeting, 9:30 a.m.

                               Orientation, 11 a.m.
                               London Alive, 2:30 p.m.
3                             St. Paul’s (optional) - 10:00 a.m.

                               London Alive
4                             St. Paul’s Cathedral Library
5                             Barbican Library, Museum of London
                               Welcome Reception, KCL Chapel and Great Hall, 6:00 p.m.
6                             British Museum
7                             British Library
8-10                       Non-academic days (optional weekend/day trip)
11                          Greenwich Maritime Museum Library
12                          London Library
13                          Day Trip to Stratford-upon-Avon
14                          National Art Library, V&A Museum
15                          Oxford, Bodleian Library
16                          Academic day (TBA)
17                          Depart London for Edinburgh
18                          Central Library, Edinburgh in a.m.
                              National Archives of Scotland in p.m.
19                          Dunfermline Carnegie Library
20                          Independent Research Day (optional day trip)
21-25                     Mini-Break
26-28                     Academic Days (TBA)
29                          Research Symposium in evening
30                          Final Exam (morning)
Sunday 31              Departure Day

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Academic Summer Plans

This summer I will be going back to London!!!

I've been waiting for a chance to get back to London since my semester abroad in undergrad.  Early in the spring semester I received an email about the British Summer Program throug the University of Southern Mississippi.  I immediately jumped at the chance to get back to the UK.  I will be taking two graduate information science courses, for 6 credits total, called British Libraries and Information Centres.  The program is during the whole month of July and it involves visiting lots of libraries, archives, and museums in London and beyond.  The program housing is at the King’s College, University of London near Waterloo Station (yes, my first reaction was to pull out my Tube map and make sure I had it right in my head, which I did).

I’m so excited.  The professor has sent out the syllabus and some recommended books to read and I've started reading a couple of them.  The professor also said to make sure we start walking and are in shape.  I just smiled at the suggestion.  I know from experience the amount of walking that will occur in London.Assessment for the course includes a couple of book reviews, participation, a research paper and a blog of the sites we visit.  This is my first post for the blog.  I will post the full schedule soon.  Tentative sites to be visited include: British Library, British Museum, London Library, St. Paul’s Library, Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Greenwich Maritime Museum, Stratford-on-Avon, Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Art Library, and a weekend trip to Edinburgh.  It looks like there will be a good mix of familiar location I've briefly visited and several completely new places.  I can't wait.