May 29, 2014
Vanderbilt rising senior Ashley Oswald enjoyed the famous Laduree macaroons on top of a double-decker tour bus with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Rising senior Ashley Oswald of the Vanderbilt women's soccer team is in London studying abroad through Vanderbilt's Maymester program offered by Vanderbilt's Global Education Office. Oswald arrived in London on May 8 and this is the second blog about her trip.
It has been over two weeks now in London and my love continues to grow for this city. Although London has a reputation to rain a lot, we Vanderbilt students must have brought the sunshine from America. Day after day the sun hits our backs as we tour through historical monuments.
On Monday we went to the Tower of London, a fortress right on the north bank of the River Thames. For those of you who’ve seen the Academy Award-winning picture Braveheart, the exact spot of William Wallace’s execution was not too far from this castle. In fact, the Tower of London is best known for the executions that took place in the fort, which gave it an eerie feeling. Despite the unnerving amount of killings that took place in the Tower of London, its magnificent structure is very impressive. There is a designated tower filled with the Crown Jewels where you can awe at diamonds, rubies, and endless amounts of gold. There is also a tower filled with armor and weapons. Full armor of knights, along with swords, hatchets, bows and arrows can be seen and touched at the Tower of London. Afterwards, a couple classmates and I were even able to explore London’s Chinatown.
After a historical day on Monday, Tuesday was spent traveling on a boat down the River Thames to Greenwich where a beautiful view of all of London can be seen. I also stood on the prime meridian – zero degrees longitude – and was in two places at once: the Eastern Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere (pictured to the right). For the rest of the week’s lectures, we traveled to Cambridge, visited the Imperial War Museum, and honored American Veterans of World War II at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. It was a beautiful and peaceful spot with a symmetrical reflecting pond and thousands of headstones to commemorate the heroes of our nation.
Besides the educational trips I’ve taken as a class, I was also able to take a leisure day trip to Parise. The Eiffel Tower stood tall and picturesque. Driving down the Parisian streets in an open top tour bus, I saw many iconic monuments of Paris: The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Pont des Arts, and other stunning architecture. And, of course, I had to treat myself to famous Paris food. I devoured a delicious crepe from a street stand and treated myself to Paris’s famous Laduree macaroons.
Arriving back to London by train was a relaxing way to travel. Hearing people speak English again was a huge relief since there was a tough language barrier to overcome in Paris. Nonetheless, I loved seeing the City of Love, and maybe one day I can visit again after learning more French. Just one more week left to enjoy London and then I’m back to the States!