Saturday, March 14, 2009

London

Like in Brussels, I stayed in a youth hostel in Luxembourg. When I was in the UK, I stayed with Iranga and his roommates in the apartment they share in East London. They were all very nice and welcoming to me, and on my birthday (March 7) they bought me a cake! I was so touched. Rimla wasn't at home then, but the other three were.

Iranga is on the right, next to him is Nazleen and on the left is Asif.

On my last full day overseas, Iranga and I visited the Tower of London and the British Museum. Both were very cool. The Tower was initially constructed in the 11th century; at first, the only part of the complex that existed was what today is called the “White Tower,” and was first a royal residence, then later an armory.

The first picture is the White Tower, and the second one, taken inside the building, is a medieval bathroom!

Of course, the Tower of London isn't just a fun historic site, but a place where political prisoners were once imprisoned and executed. In one corner of the inner courtyard is a little chapel, and inside are the unmarked graves of several decapitation victims, including Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. The stories of some of the victims are really horrific, like one person whose execution was botched because the axeman was too drunk to swing straight; eventually he got so frustrated that he grabbed the person's head and sawed it off! And most of them were so young, younger than me...I wish it weren't all treated as mere entertainment now. These were real people, whose lives mattered as much as ours do and who suffered horrible fates that no human being should ever have to endure.

After the Tower we got lunch at a cafe along the Thames, then headed for the British Museum. I had always wanted to go there; the collection of ancient art is wonderful. Of course, we have museums like that here in New York, but it's still fun to look around, and besides, we got to see the actual Rosetta Stone, which you obviously can't see anywhere else! Seeing all those fantastic ancient artifacts made me even more eager than I was before to visit the countries they came from, and I may have a chance to go to China on a study abroad program next winter. Fingers crossed!

So that was how I spent the first week of March. Definitely the best birthday I've had so far! I've now been to nine countries (actually ten, since the train from London to Brussels passes through a bit of France after going through the Chunnel, but I don't really count that). I still feel kind of bad about allowing Iranga to pay for so much of my trip, even though I know I shouldn't. But most of all, I'm just incredibly grateful to have had a chance to see a bit more of the world. I know I only got a tiny glimpse of the countries I visited, but that was more than I had before I went, and while I would love to visit them again and explore them in greater detail (especially the UK), I'm very thankful to have been able to see as much as I did.

1 comment:

Jenea said...

Hahaha! The old english Toilet it's looks very cool!!!

Look here:

http://dispatchesfromtheme.blogspot.com/2009/11/halloween-come-in-my-home.html