Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Weekend

This past weekend I participated in two London Alive walks.  On Saturday I went on London during the Nazi Blitz, which was led by Dr. Mackaman, one of the history professors and the program director.  He and a history grad student named LB provided us with a tag team lecture on the background of WWII as we walked towards the Imperial War Museum.  I had wondered why lots of the buildings in Waterloo were really ugly concrete, and I learned that it was because of the Nazi’s.  During the Blitz they had attempted to destroy both Waterloo Bridge and Waterloo train station, but had failed.  They did succeed in destroying tons of buildings all around the station and near the riverfront.  So after the war “the good, bad, and ugly” architects all got hired to rebuild.  Hence the ugly buildings in the neighborhood.  The same happened up at Barbican, which we visited yesterday.  The whole complex is concrete, rebuilt after the war.  The Barbican librarian Jonathan pointed out that the Barbican Centre is more likely to fall down of its own accord then to ever be condemned and taken down.  It would be too much work.

Visiting the IWM was a great experience, even though I was still rather tired from travel.  I plan on going back if I get a chance.  I saw all the main exhibits, but didn’t do the special experiential parts.  I enjoyed seeing all the tanks, trucks and planes; and I bought an anthology of war poetry from the gift shop which made me happy. 

On Sunday I decided to do the John and Charles Wesley Chapel morning tour.  There were about a dozen of us who went; many more students went to St. Paul’s.  We took the bus and before service we toured the cemetery across the street.  John Bunyan, William Blake, and Daniel Defoe are buried there.  The church service was very nice.  It just so happened that they had a visiting choir from Alabama who sang during the service.  What are the odds of that happening?  A U. Southern Miss. program and a huge group from Alabama at the Wesley Chapel on the same day.  One of the songs the choir sang was “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” which made me happy.  After the service we had tea/coffee and then got a tour of the church and museum.  I decided to leave then in an attempt to get back for my afternoon walk.  I ended up being about 10 minutes late, because of some tube closures.  I had the afternoon free so I walked around the Strand, and went up to St. Paul’s.   

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