Life so far in London has been fantastic!
This week I started my internship, but I had a week before to get adjusted to living in London, and to explore the city. Naturally, I hit as many historical places as I could. Along the way I also had the chance to see a few modern “wonders” too! During the first week, they had us purchase “oyster cards” which are prepaid transport cards that London commuters use to get around. They are good on buses, trains, and most importantly, the tube! I had to go to two internship interviews at museums during the first week, which were located in two very different parts on London. It was great practice for using the underground, and because I was traveling around on the tube, I was able to make a stop at a very special station. Any guesses as to where?
Get ready Harry Potter fans…have you guessed?
The other members of my program and I also had the opportunity to attend the red carpet premiere of Sex and the City 2 in Leicester Square. While there, we were sort of interviewed by a local radio station! (Although we were slightly confused about who they were…) Lucky again! Check out the video of our encounter here.
We also were able to see the film’s stars as they arrived and entered the Odeon Theatre.
Now…on to the History!
I was able to visit the British Museum during my first week with one of London’s fabulous “blue badge” guides, Liz. These guides are some of the best in the UK and they know so much about their city. The British Museum is completely free (except for special exhibitions), and unless otherwise noted, it is completely fine to take pictures and videos. She took us on a PR slanted, highlights tour of the ancient world. Public Relations, and the use of PR by politicians, has not changed much since Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or Ancient Greece.
See the British Museum, and learn a bit about the Rosetta Stone
We were able to see a copy and the original Rosetta stone, in addition to the very controversial “Elgin Marbles”.
I went to the tower of London, and had the chance to see the Crown jewels. They were worn by the queen just last week for the state opening of parliament! Ultra-security entering this area. There were guards, bag checks, and huge vault doors protecting the royal finery. As I overheard a parent explain the security measures to their child, “You are now entering one of the most secure buildings in Britain.” Needless to say no photography or filming in that exhibit! But honestly it was so bedazzling you felt as though one flash would blind everyone! Check out some outdoor shots of the Tower, along with a re-enactment of the English Civil War!
I tried to be a royal guard…but I only think my hair measured up!
At the weekend the other interns and I decided to take a trip down to Dover Castle and the White Cliffs. It was the weekend of the 70th anniversary of Dunkirk, so the secret tunnels from WWII (located near the castle) had many events set up.
When Germany invaded and held France, Britain was forced to evacuate their remaining troops under enemy fire. Because of Dover’s close proximity to France, (from the Dover Coast France is actually visible) it became a major part of the evacuation. In all over 300,000 troops were evacuated. The day we went there were many veterans visiting.
Though it turned out to be quite a hike to the castle, the views were spectacular! And they had set up the inside to reflect how the Castle might have looked under the reign of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, during the 12th century!
Here is a video of our epic visit to the top of Dover Castle!
After all that fun, I have to enter a more structured schedule centering around my internship at the Foundling Museum. I am looking forward to the weeks to come. They should be very exciting!