8 May 2013
After setting the bar so high, prospects that day two was going to top day one was looking impossible. As we left the hotel in search of Bishop White’s (My freshman YSA bishop from BYU that now serves as president of Sales for Novarad) home in inner London I kept my eyes pasted to the window, taking in the diversity of architecture, art, and people. The London area is full of all ethnicities of people, but the Indian and Middle Eastern Nationalities definitely stand out as the majority of the minority-if that makes sense at all. We are able to drive all the way into his house without taking the tube, but it was packed and a little confusing with all the one-way streets. He lived in a beautiful town home complex, small but expensive. All his housing expenses top $7500 for a 2 bedroom, one bathroom, kitchen, living room, and loft living facility. That was the day that I experienced the reality of London being the most expensive place to live on earth.
London is a mix of industrial and business environments, making it an ideal place for people of all different backgrounds to live. That explains the diversity of people and expense of living that comes with being a part of Grand Ole’ London. It is also one of the most historical locations on earth, something I would see for myself after we dropped my luggage off at Bishop’s house and headed for the Tower of London.
Today couldn’t of been better, I got to see the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, The Eye of London, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham’s palace, and Saint James Park. All the top historical sights in London, and they were all much more beautiful in person than on google, let me tell you!
We spent the most time in the London Tower and even were able to take a tour led by one the Queen’s 35 Royal guards also known as a Yeoman Warder or Beef-Eater. He was incredible and I learned so much about the life of the royal family since the 1300s. Many of the towers within the castle were used to hold King Henry’s wives hostage until they were beheaded or killed. All the books I had read about Anne Boleyn, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth Tudor all came to life. We walked and breathed where they did hundreds of years ago, and say the church tombs where their bodies lie to this day. The Tower Castle also houses the Crown Jewels, a collection of crowns, robes, armory, and jewelry, all made with the finest gold, silver, and jewels in the world. They are still used by the royal family today in ceremonies and events.
The castle is a beautiful structure, built to protect the royal family from outsiders, foreigners, and enemies. Huge canons lined the walls to fire at first sign of danger or attack. Within the tower walls are little crosses that knights would shoot their bows and arrows out of as well as towers where protectors of the castle would keep watch. When you look at an architectural monument, you can’t really understand why certain things look the way they do until you discover the history and function of the monument itself. Usually, things are designed with a purpose…at least innovative things. Creatively speaking, the builders of the castle were geniuses…obviously, or it wouldn’t still be standing today. They came up with ways to rectify the security and effectiveness of the tower without compromising its beauty.
The Tower Bridge that sits right outside the east walls of the Tower of London dominates the London bridge in both structure, design, and beauty. The blue and white colors of the bridge flow beautifully with the sky and river thames…on a good day. 300 out of 365 days of the year England sees rain, no wonder it is so green! After seeing the Tower bridge, the London Bridge was nothing more than a flat slab of concrete connecting either side of London on the River Thames. When we American’s purchased the London Bridge, we though we were purchases the Tower Bridge…because it is the beauty of the two. The reason behind the stark deference between the two bridges, comes down to one thing-creativity. The London Bridge shows no essence of creativity whatsoever and for that reason it’s history is the only thing that keeps tourists attracted to it. The creativity behind the Tower Bridge is something to be remarked at. Creativity is the necessary step in creating something unique, and we as humans need uniqueness to keep us sane. A never changing world is no good. As we rode around on the “Big Bus Tour” throughout London, no one got out for the London Bridge yet people piled off to see the Tower Bridge. People rule the world, and at the sight of this-people want creativity.
We passed the Eye of London, Big Ben and the Parliament building on our way to Buckingham’s palace (we would later come back to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey). The parliament building is something to be remarked at. It almost looks as if an angelic Gaudi built it, as it contains the style and design of Gaudi architecture without the dark feel of horror and disdain.
Architecturally speaking, the Parliament Building is my favorite building in historic London by far. Each shape and curve of the building keeps your eyes wandering and wondering how on earth someone could of accomplish building something that grand and majestic. It’s size towers over the buildings around it and people line it’s gates desperate to get a good picture to show how stunning it is. Unfortunately, none of them will be able to get a picture that does it justice–I am a photography guru and I believe that you can do amazing things with an DSLR and Photoshop–but their is just something that can’t replace physically being in front of such remarkable places. It is almost as if creativity is not just something that can be seen, but is something that can be felt. When you stand as a tiny little spec in the presence of this gigantic building, you realize how remarkable the minds of those that built it must of been. Simply put in British, they were “Brilliant”. They were innovative. Creativity and innovation are vastly different, creativity does not always come with innovation, but I feel safe to say that innovation always comes with creativity. Time proves that something about these monuments is special or they wouldn’t be standing today–and it is not just their history.
Buckingham’s palace was a delight to visit, categorized as the British White House to Americans…in sorts. Again, its serene beauty and unique design draw people from all over the world to it’s gates. Oohing and gasping at it’s grandeur. The Eye of London is an absolute creative masterpiece. How many people would think of building a Ferris Wheel, by constructing it on its side lying across the River Thames to be lifted up when finished to it’s upright position? On top of that, did you know that it takes 30 minutes to go around one time in one of the covered little bubbles that lines it’s outside circle? Sure sounds like a creative idea to me–and an innovative one at that as it draws hundreds if not thousands of riders to it everyday. Innovators create and customers validate, and it looks like this creation has been validated.
We strolled through the most beautiful park I have been to yet, filled with bright tulips and daffodils, swans and weeping willows. This Saint James Park topped Central Park by a hundred fold, but then again the British are known for their beautiful gardens.
We spent all day in Central London at by 7 we realized that we were a bit famished. The Alexanders took my to their favorite Korean Restaurant right near dazzling and sparkling modern London. The restaurant was called Be Bim Bop, the most authentic Korean restaurant they have discovered outside of Korea as of late-they lived in Korea for 3 years previously. I ordered the Yip Sol, a vegetable dish served over brown rice with an egg cracked over top. The food came in a stone bowl that was heated to over 400 degrees-hot enough that the vegetables and egg were put in raw and cooked in a mere second once exposed to the bowl’s heat. Best Korean, take that back, BEST Asian restaurant I have ever been too. I decided that it is so good I need to franchise it in the United States–the people would love it!
The environment of the restaurant was clean, comfortable, and chic, yet it felt as if I was in a foreign land (maybe because I was) as I ate with wooden chopsticks out of a sizzling oversized stone bowl. The flavors were incredible as well. Again, one of the most unique restaurants I have been to thus far and extremely creative. It is very successful in London and people love it. It is off the beaten path and I think the locals like it that way-they don’t want their best known secret to be shared with tourists now do they?
We have arrived in Warwick at a charming little Bed and Breakfast, and I am sitting at a little wooden desk with my night lamp just typing away. Tomorrow we visit Warwick castle, one of the most famous in England. We are in Warwick now and the clock just stroke midnight. Like Cinderella, I must finish the party that this is….and go to bed. Although the time difference is 8 hours from home, I have adjusted quite nicely to Greenwich Time. Our Internet is slow again, and I have no phone to call home…but I wanted to wish my beautiful sister Talia, the best 9th birthday a girl could ask for! Love you sis.