Monday, June 29, 2015

The First Weekend

We started with our first class meeting, where we went over the final itinerary and assignments. Then all of the BSP students toured Parliament.  I got to hear Big Ben a few times that morning.

A fellow student (Kristen) and I lost our group on the way there, but eventually figured out where we were going. Since we got there a bit later, and everyone took the audio tour independently, people scattered afterwards, so I found two more classmates (Carolyn and Erin) to tag along with for lunch at St. Martin of the Fields. They have a cafe and gift shop in the crypt, which helps support the church. I noticed they have jazz there every Wednesday night, so I may go back again.

We took a quick trip through Covent Garden to exchange some money, and then made it back to King's College for a second round of tours. I went on the Literary London tour. We saw the theater where Bram Stoker worked, the offices where Charles Dickens ran a magazine, through Covent Garden, through the Bloomsbury Neighborhood where the Bloomsbury Group was founded and some of its members lived (e.g., Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey) lived, and ended with the Treasures of the British Library Exhibit. I don't have any pictures of these places because, by then, I was experiencing sensory overload, between the jet lag and trying to keep up with the group among the crowds, and was having ahard time taking everything in.

Five of us (Jenny, Andrea, Kelsey, Jaime, and I) had dinner at Fishcoteque--fish and chips for all--ran a few errands, and then called it a night.

Sunday was much more relaxed. I slept in a little, went to Mass at a tiny Friary Church (St. Patrick's) around the corner, bought some supplies, and took a tour around the city to learn the bus and underground systems. I did take a few photos here.

After the hectic day on Saturday, this day made me feel much more settled. I think I'm ready for classes to begin tomorrow.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Well, here is the first entry in what (I hope) will be a daily journal of my adventures in London, Edinburgh, and Paris.

I'll be spending the next 5 weeks here (I know!), touring amazing libraries and archives and conducting some research into British Libraries and Information Centers as part of USM's British Studies Program. This blog is one of my assignments, but I also hope to use it to document my trip, and perhaps turn the text and photos into a photo book when I get home. So, my plan is to post something every day. We'll see how realistic that is...

There are two other URI students in the program. We met up in Newark (I flew in from Providence), along with students from several other locations, for the long flight over. As much as I tried to prepare for the sleep deprivation and time difference the week before, I think I only got a few hours sleep Thursday night/Friday morning. We arrived a a little after 7 London time (2 Eastern time), worked our way through customs and baggage claim (one of my classmates used her phone to estimate that it was a mile walk from the arrival gate to where we met the BSP folks), and got to the dorms at King's College by around 10:30.

Courtyard of King's College Apartments

After getting settled, we attended orientation, then met with our professors, Drs. Welsh and Griffis, for a walking tour of the area and a delicious dinner at a gourmet pizza shop on the Thames.

Photo taken by Dr. Welsh

I think that's all I'll post today. I'll try and post something about the rest of the weekend tomorrow.