My Kind of London
By Sarah Goranson
Busy. Exhausting. Overwhelming! These are some of the words that I would use to describe my first few days in London. I am not used to constantly moving from one place to the next and in engaging in so many different activities within the span of 24 short hours. Nonetheless, I was also feeling engaged and excited about everything that I had been doing. Speeding along the Thames in a riverboat, gazing at the Tower Bridge from up high at Sky Gardens, and marveling at furniture from the Baroque period that was displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum seemed like a dream.
Aside from these wonderful locations, I also had the privilege of visiting Eltham Palace- an incredibly beautiful Art Deco-style mansion in Greenwich. Originally owned by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, Eltham Palace has been around for centuries, and not only attracts American tourists like myself, but also London natives, such as the two adorable twins I saw running around in neon pink puffy coats yelling in baby British accents, “Mummy, I am having so much fun!”When I actually walked onto the grounds of Eltham Palace and gazed up at the magnificent mansion, I felt as though I was in a different world.
It seemed as if I had walked straight into a Jane Austin novel and that at any moment, Mr. Darcy might come out from around the corner and greet me. As I explored the interior of the mansion, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to actually live here and have lavish dinner parties and sit around in the parlor drinking tea.I think the best part about this location was the exterior of the mansion. There was so much space to walk around outside amongst acres of green grass, blooming flowers, and sunshine. Being outside and feeling the warm sun on my face brought a sense calmness over my body and mind, and
I wished that I could have stayed there the entire day reading a good book somewhere under a tree. This, right here, was everything and more that I had envisioned London to be.
As I explored the palace, I couldn’t help but notice that I could see tall buildings from the city in the distance. It made me realize that even though many things have changed over the years in terms of London’s technology and society, there would always be places like this that people could visit in order to relax and take a break from the crowded, bustling city. Going to Eltham Palace really made me appreciate the classic beauty that London had to offer, and I hope that someday I can visit this place again.
3 Famous Old Buildings In London
By Samantha Salvemini
#1 St. Pancras Parish Church
Is believed to be one of the oldest places of worship in England. With England's extensive history and investment in religion, there are many churches and temples throughout England that date back to as early as 314 AD, like St. Pancras Parish Church
Image owned by Stephen Mckay
Stephen McKay / St Pancras Old Church / CC BY-SA 2.0
#2 The Tower of London
A huge tourist attraction, the Tower of London accompanies over 2.8 million people a year! It is where the crown jewels are kept and protected. William the Conqueror built the Tower of London in 1078 AD, and over the years was used for royal residence, defense, record storage, and even a prison, where traitors were often tortured.
Image courtesy of Victoria Doda
#3 Buckingham Palace
The all too familiar and beautiful palace that the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, lives in! (As well as an administrative building). It was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, and has since been through many kings and queens. It is a focal point for gatherings of joy and grieving as well
Image courtesy of Victoria Doda
A Small Reprieve
By Ralph Black
The city is a lot.
First, the smell. Gasoline, cigarette smoke, pee, and humidity that infiltrates your nostrils, intermingling in a painful manner. When you smell things, it means that the particles themselves have to be inside your nose in order to smell them. And that’s just the smell.
The sights are overwhelming. It’s constant motion without stopping for breath. So many harsh buildings (some beautiful, homey ones as well) lined against and around the city with nothing else to break the sight line. You feel constantly surrounded with no real space. The city is not a place for claustrophobic people. If you want to look at it from an optimistic side (sadly, I’m not prone to that at the moment), you can say that your eyes are constantly entertained by the many different designs and architectural expressions, many of which are enthralling. There is a building shaped like a blender with the lid slightly popped off, thanks to peculiar shading. It is most interesting.
Then there is the harried rush of people hustling by and caring very little for the people around them. They will glance at you once passively and move on. I try to smile at everyone, partially because I like to engage people, but also to see how many people will smile back. I’ve gotten one smile in return.
The interesting thing though, is that the one smile I received was genuine. It was not the fake half-smile that people normally do. I’ve noticed that, actually. Overall, the people here just seem more genuine. I can’t tell if it’s the tainted, confused eyes of a foreigner of it’s actually the case. I had a conversation with one waitress about how fun breasts are (I mean, they are), and I am almost certain that that sort of conversation would never have passed so freely in America. In general, people seem more brazen and honest here, which is something I actually quite enjoy. I think with the upfront aspect of personalities comes more acceptance as well. Again though, maybe I just haven’t been here long enough to see its true personalities unfold.
Video by Samantha Salvemini
Page by Samantha Salvemini- Film and Moving Image 21'
Old and New London section pictures Courtesy of Victoria Doda