Saturday, June 25, 2011

London--The place to be (by Hiller)

During our stay in London, Wimbledon and a U-2 Concert happened, and the city was getting ready for the 2012 Olympics. Although we didn't have tickets to attend these events, we could feel the energy throughout the city. We have been able to walk most places from our hotel, but the few times we’ve taken a cab have proven most delightful. The drivers are hospitable and talkative, ready to share their opinions and insights about the city and British culture. All of our cab drivers shared at least two perspectives. First, they all think Charles should not be king, but should be passed over so William can enjoy the title. They think Charles has little credibility and would not represent the royal family well. Second, they think that the Diana Memorial that was established by the Queen in 2004 is an embarrassment. They don’t understand why the Queen did not commission a traditional statue of Diana rather than a water feature (or as several drivers referred to it—the waterhole). When we visited it, I understood the cab drivers' perspectives. I think the memorial designers were trying to capture Diana’s unique spirit, but unfortunately the concept was not executed well. If you visit the Memorial some day, let us know what you think. Much of our time in London was spent trying to remember our British history as we enjoyed the many and varied historical sites. It was amazing how much Tom and I could remember, given it's been more than 30 years that we studied British history. A few of the places we visited were: Big Ben, Tower of London, the London Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the Diana Memorial in Kensington Garden. We also took a turn on the London Eye (think huge ferris wheel), which enabled us to view the city from 450 feet. I was a bit queasy but soon relaxed when I realized that our car did not wobble and swing back and forth like a traditional ferris wheel. We’re going to visit the Tate Modern tomorrow (our last day) to get our contemporary art fix before moving on to Lisbon.

1 comment:

  1. Most interesting video clip and commentary. I have enjoyed visiting most of the places mentioned in your blog but that was a long time ago. But history does not change and it is helpful to view the historical sites we've read about through the years. Your journey will soon be over but you have memories to share and take with you for the rest of your lives. Take care and be safe. George