*written the 15th September*

As I sit here at the airport getting ready for another study abroad experience, I can’t help but remember my wonderful time in London. That was the first time that I had traveled alone, so this time I was a bit more prepared, not to mention calm. Yesterday I was on the phone with Morgan, remembering all the funny things that happened and the places we went, and today I’m still looking back at all my photos from London, realizing just how much of a growing experience it was for me. I expect to have much the same experience in Paris, and I am looking forward to the opportunities and memories it will bring. But until then, I thought I would go back and share some of the photos and memories from London that I have not yet gotten around to posting. So enjoy!
 One afternoon excursion, by the request of our teacher, was to the Globe Theater. Not the original of course – that one burned down long ago – but the replica was good enough 😃 The wrought-iron gates at the entrance were spotted with mythical figures + creatures and signs + symbols, and among them I spotted the telling quill and pen. We were escorted down into the museum part of the theater complex, redesigned for modern visitors and schools groups : there were costumes to dress up and benches for lectures. On the ceiling was an enormous sun with the signs of the zodiac surrounding it. We didn’t stay there long .. there were bigger and better things to see outside.

Our guide, a thespian himself, brought us into the actual theater space – an open air stage with several rows and stories of covered seats going in the round. The rest was left for standing room, and if it rained – it rained! The stage was held up by wooded columns painted to look like stone, with gilded gold tops. Corinthian I believe, but don’t quote me on that. There were other tour groups around us, some even going on the stage, but we weren’t that lucky. We were able to chat with our guide about the acting company that resides at the Globe – they mostly do Shakespeare but if I recall, they also do more modern works.

After our tour we hopped over to the nearby Borough Market for some lunch. Now looking back, it’s sad to think about that place as the lieu of a terrorist attack, when it was so welcoming and friendly and safe when I was there. Along the way we passed a memorial to Shakespeare beautifully painted on the brick.

Morgan and I were joined by other members of our trip also there to get a bite to eat. There were little vendors of all kinds selling anything from traditional English food, German food, Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean, desserts, pastries, chocolates, breads, and more. It all looked too good to eat!

From the middle of the square came a view of a spire, rising up above the surrounding low-lying buildings. Morgan and I went to investigate and found Southwark Cathedral, an impressive example of Gothic magnificence. We went in for a bit and talked to the priest and sisters, and marveled at the twilight just barely illuminating the stain glass windows. It was a nice finish to a nice day, ending with some introspection and peace.
On the way out “The Shard,” that iconic skyscraper with the pointy top was rising up next to us, and I was again struck by just how well modern London complements and acknowledges its history and ancient side.
Until next time,
xx R.

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