Before the group traveled to Oxford, they spent a few days in London. Hannah Antonellis ’14 and Devon Stockmayer ’14 describe the group’s first fast-paced days of the trip, with photos courtesy of Acadia Mezzofanti ’14:
Our first two days in London have whizzed by faster than the double-decker buses that almost run us over at every crosswalk, and block our views of famous landmarks. WE LOVE LONDOOOOONN, but not overnight flights and jetlag. Our arrival at the Heathrow airport at approximately 7:15 in the morning was brutal. We had left Logan at 8:40 pm the previous night and none of us had showered or slept since. Despite general tiredness, discomfort, and little bit of tension, we forged ahead to begin our first day in London. We found our way in the city riding the tube, and walking in long trains through winding London streets. Everybody was amazed by the architecture, from stark stone neoclassical flats with bright doors to Gothic churches with winding spires. Most of us had never been to London, so everybody was visually overwhelmed. To be honest, we were starting to crash by lunch.
Luckily, our stop at the National Portrait gallery’s panorama-view restaurant provided sustenance and a healthy dose of caffeine–tea for those of us feeling British and coffee for those trying a little harder to stay awake. The food was superb and the vista was even better. Post-breakfast, we had time for the quickest-ever viewing of the National Portrait gallery. We covered the masterpieces in fifteen minutes flat, and met outside, ready to continue our walk to our first lecture. Oxford professor Andrew Blades was amazing – offering an exploration of literary depictions of Victorian London that was at once interesting and engaging enough to keep us awake on so little sleep. After the lecture, we were off once again, this time to head back to our hotel! We had never been so excited to take showers and naps.
Dinner that night was at Harrods, where everyone had fun exploring the multi-level store that offered a plethora of sights, sounds and restaurants everywhere we turned. It was a sensory overload, but the perfect end to our first day of the London experience. We crashed into bed that night, grateful for comfortable beds and the chance to finally catch a few hours of much needed rest.
We didn’t sleep for too long, though. Day two began bright and early with a nine A.M. lecture. Professor Blades continued to explain London’s image in literature, and we listened eagerly, reveling in the fact that this morning, we were actually awake enough to take notes. The talk flew by and before we knew it, it was time for lunch. We walked from our conference room at the University of London to the British Library – an incredible museum, home most notably to the Treasure room, an exhibit containing original manuscripts from Alice in Wonderland, the Magna Carta, Holy Texts, and Beatles songs. After that, we walked to the British museum where we delved back into history as we examined the text on the Rosetta Stone and remains from the Parthenon.
An hour later, we were back on the London streets, wandering our way towards Westminster and exploring the city as we went. We passed Trafalgar Square, paused at Downing Street, and ended our walk with pictures of the London Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. A final tube ride brought us back to our hotel before dinner with the Louis family. We walked to the Louis home where we met Mr. Louis (a Deerfield graduate), his wife, and family. We spent a lovely evening at an Italian restaurant where everyone enjoyed getting to know the Louis family and connecting with Deerfield stories and memories. By the time we left the restaurant, we realized that we had reached the end of yet another exhausting day. Our time in London flew by, and as we went to bed that night, we were sad to leave. But at the same time, we were eager for the days ahead in a different city – the city of dreaming spires.