Revitalizing Days Abroad

11 days ago, I arrived in the UK for the first time. Since then I have been roaming the streets of London, been to amazing palaces/castles and churches, and taken more photos than I can count (though Lightroom does a pretty good job of keeping a tally). I really want to share my time abroad with all of you, not just because this is an amazing city, but also because through all the various site visits I’ve made in the past week and a half, I’ve found myself reviving my love for photography. There is not a place in this city that does not scream “TAKE MY PICTURE!” And while if most people screamed that at me, I would quickly grow to hate my Canon, this city has the very opposite effect, and I instead find myself photographing every opportunity I get. Even in the rain.

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The above photos were all taken on the second day I arrived in London. The group of students (that I’m TAing for) and I had a bus tour that afternoon that drove us to so many different places in London–so many of which I need to go back to to get better pictures. A couple of times, the tour guide had our bus park so we could stretch our legs and snap some photos. The very top picture was in front of Buckingham Palace. The beautiful gold statue stretches high into the sky–an angel waiting to go to heaven.

Honestly, I don’t remember where I took the second image, but I guess I liked it enough to edit it!  Honestly, I have an obsession with taking low angle photos. It’s coming through in too many of photos; I might need to cut myself off!

The second I took the third photo, I was in love with it. This photo is of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Interesting fact about taking this photo: The entire day was actually very overcast, cloudy. But right as I aimed my camera up at the cathedral, there was a brief break in the clouds, and the rays shined through. I didn’t even have to check the LCD to know this was my “shot of the day.”

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We had the weekend off after that bus tour, and I pretty much spent it taking care of general necessities. I was reattached to my camera by Monday though when we went to the Tower of London (Man, what a misnomer). I actually took a lot of pictures within the Tower of London, but it seems I didn’t edit too many of them. I’ll have to do that and make another post at a later date, because there were many things I absolutely loved within the site.

Another interesting fact [this trip is just abound with interesting facts!] is that the bridge most people associate as the “London Bridge” is actually the Tower Bridge. The London Bridge is the bridge you stand on to photograph the Tower Bridge. Even then, that London Bridge isn’t the original one. Because of structural problems, the original had to be replaced, and so it was actually put on sale. An American (some oil company owner) bought it and then had it moved stone by stone to Arizona!! How The Alchemist is that? Come all the way to London, just to be told to go home and find it there. Try and tell me that doesn’t blow your mind.

I digress. The bridge in the photographs, the Tower Bridge, is what I will from here forth call “The Most Photographic Bridge in the World.” Because A) I’m the foremost knowledgeable on that subject matter, I’m sure. And B) because I wanted to spend all afternoon on that bridge capturing it from every single possible angle, just so everyone back home could understand how awe-inspiring, life-affirming, mind-blowing this structure is. Okay, you think I’m dramatic, but I really, really, really love this bridge.

That leads me to one other small digression:  I had this epiphany or sad thought while I was exploring the Tower of London and while I was on the Tower Bridge. These places are chock-full of history. I mean every brick and stone is bursting with a story from hundreds of years ago. America is so young, and don’t get me wrong, I love my home, but it’s got nothing even nearly as tied to so much world history as London does. I mean, if you never leave America, the closest you get to something that looks like these castles is Disney World, and as magical as that might be, it’s still not real. And that’s kind of sad.

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My last photo set I’m sharing with you guys is from our day at Hampton Court Palace. The first photo is of Henry VIII’s Great Hall. You can’t see all the amazing aspects of this room from the photo, but it’s really impressive. There are the original tapestries that Henry VIII originally commissioned (apparently, Henry VIII was obsessed with tapestries). They’re faded with age but you can imagine the color these tapestries would have brought to the room.   The stained glass windows provide the light for the entire great hall. Every stained glass window I’ve seen here is more beautiful than the last; I’m entranced by every single one. More than those though, my favorite part of nearly any castle or church we go into is the ceiling. It’s where so many points of the architecture meet, and it’s just–how many more adjectives can I find that mean the same thing–breathtaking. The ceiling in the great hall is no different in that respect. I want to start a movement of bring ceilings like these back: elaborate, intricate, and arched.

I’m going to skip captioning some of the photos because this post is already WAY too long. But the third photo is of the King’s Staircase (specifically William III). One of the most beautiful rooms I’ve been in since I’ve come to the UK was this one. In person, the walls are enchanting. Not a space is left unpainted, and the work is incredible. I don’t know if I’ve lost my childlike ability of imagination but while I know how old these places are, sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around it. It’s hard to time-travel back to when these rooms were used for their original purpose.  But in the King’s Staircase, these large windows light up the entire room, and you don’t even have to try to travel back in time. It was so beautiful.

Finally, the photo right under that depicts the astronomical clock. It’s beautiful in its detail but even now I don’t know all the things this clock can tell you. Other than the time, it tells the current zodiac, the moon phase, the tide, the position of the sun, and so much more. It was broken on the day we visited, but the clock is actually still functioning to this day [on most days] since it’s creation in 1540. Timeless.

Hopefully I haven’t lost too many of you. I promise to be MUCH less wordy next time (no I don’t).




One thought on “Revitalizing Days Abroad

  1. Hampton Court is actually on my Top 15 list of Places To Geek Out In. SO much history–and even the building itself (the mishmash of old and new) helps tell it. I’m a little afraid I might cry in the Great Hall.

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