Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Dickens, Hardy & London

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December 01, 2008

I Promise Myself to Return to London

Jake Thomas 09 - Last full day in London.  My shin splits make it difficult for me to walk. The blisters on my feet are nothing short of repulsive and hideous. Still, none of it really affects my attitude.  Dr. Herzog and the class has traversed through ridiculous amounts of the glorious city as well as the English countryside.  The love and respect I feel for city reminds me a lot of how I feel to my home town of Chicago.  I have never felt as comfortable.

The first half of the day, Dr. Herzog took the group on a short tour of famous post modern architecture.  Above all else, 30 St. Mary Axe left a very strong impression on me.  Amidst 18th century churches and modern architecture of the mid 1970s, 30 St. Mary Axe (lovingly referred to as "the Gherkin") towered over the city of London.  To me, it was the financial district's crowning achievement.  I could not help compare the piece to Chicago's Sears Tower.  Whereas the Sears Tower fixes itself with the rest of the Chicago skyline as typically modern architecture, the post modern elements of the Gherkin seems to show signs of flexibility in the historic city.  It was amazing.

The group ended our walk facing London's Tower Bridge.  Upon looking at the bridge, I could not help think about how the bridge's architecture instills a sense of classic beauty that leads the city of London.  When people think of London architecture, it is the first thing that comes to mind (not London bridge...which is in Arizona...apparently).  In a sense, the old mixes with the new.  With the post modern Gherkin, there is also the Victorian Tower Bridge.  Both wonders of our world.

I am going to miss this city.  I learned so much from Dr. Herzog, as well as so much from personally experiencing the culture.  Was the experience life changing?  I cannot say. Nonetheless, I will return to London one day. I can only promise myself that.

Seeing More of Central London

Michael Wartman '09 - This week has definitely lived up to the massive expectatoins I had developed over the course of the semester. 

Dr. Herzog's tours, while conducted at a frantic pace in order to allow us to see as much as possible, have exposed me to parts of London that the average tourist on holiday completely misses. Take the time to read my classmates' blogs to learn more about the places we have visited. Today we spent time walking to the Swiss Re building, Lloyds of London, and the London City Council building. All three are examples of the amazing work that contemporary architects are doing in London. While I came expecting to be awed by the buildings of the past, I left wit a deep understanding of the role London plays in the contemporary world of architecture.

The contemporary was also the focus of my afternoon spent in the Tate Modern, London's beautiful museum of modern art. The works of art ranged from the beautfiul to the shocking to the thought provoking. My favorite pieces in the museum were the Henri Matisse paintings. It was unbelievable that such a gorgeous museum was available to the public for free. It was a great way to spend our final day and a great end to the trip.