Last weekend the husband and I trekked down to London. I've been meaning to write about it all week, but I don't know what to say, exactly.
We took the train down early Saturday morning, and back late Sunday night, and all in all, it was a whirlwind. I'm not sure I even have a fundamental feel for the city due to the brevity of our visit.
For one thing, London is EXTREMELY touristy. We met far more tourists than actual Londoners. It is very different from our little town of Loughborough, where we've met only one other American. Ryan and I first touched down in the Tower of London, and then spent most of the weekend in and around Trafalgar Square/SoHo/the West End. It was wonderful shopping and theatre, but I don’t feel like we really connected with the city until Sunday night.
After pub dinner, we walked along the Thames as all the buildings were lit, and it was really beautiful. That is the London I'd like to see more of next time. On the way back to the train station we walked through a park with a World War 1/World War 2 memorial, and Ryan noted how ironic and sad it was that so many monuments in England talked about the horrors of "The Great War" and then were forced to add an addendum a mere 20 years later. It is frustrating and discouraging that humanity can experience the sorrow of such wars and still continue to engage in the barbaric practice.
But London is not a comment on history, but an honest presentation of it. The Fabulous British Museum is full of rare and beautiful artifacts carried out of colonies. The Tower of London still stands to shock people with horrific tales of torture and imprisonment. (It actually was pretty entertaining, though I think their next step will be some Disneyland-style robotic people pretending to be executed-- you know, like the Country Bears Jamboree only with more blood.)
I guess my advice on London would be to really absorb it from a historical perspective first. Take in the less sensational sights like the government buildings and churches. Then move on to the more touristy areas. That’s my plan, anyhow.