Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Fish and chips versus tofu and veggies

August 26, 2009 · No Comments

Today was an interesting contrast in English History, with one site having become completely commercialized and the other having remained protected. We began the day in Westminster. Even though it is one of the sites in London that is synonymous with the city it does not suffer from commercialization or due to the number of tourists. Yes, there were numerous individuals wandering through with the audio tours and other tour groups besides our own, but they did not hinder our experience in the abbey. Beyond that, every hour on the hour we were asked to observe a moment of silence for either prayer or contemplation. It was a simple and effective way to remind everyone within the abbey that they were in a sacred place. We could appreciate the tourist attraction of Westminster, while still noting that it was a church with more meaning than just beautiful architecture and memorials. Westminster Abbey is an essential part of what London has become today. They have managed to share a beautiful piece of history while maintaining its integrity and historical accuracy.

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The Tower of London in comparison has become a commercialized tourist attraction. It was similar to taking a history-lite course. The entire site had been turned into recreations and tourist traps. There were multiple gift shops, hawking imitation, jewelry and mock swords. It seemed that most people wanted to see either the Crown Jewels or the Bloody Tower, by far two of the most famous attractions within the Tower of London. The most informative part of the Tower were the sporadic movies shown throughout the various towers and exhibitions, however they were made difficult to view due to their placement in crowded rooms with a heavy traffic flow. It seems to be a shame that not all the historical sites of London can be as protected as Westminster Abbey. We found the Tower of London to be somewhat of a disappointment and that we spent more time waiting to view small exhibits (the Bloody Tower) than we did actually learning from the site. We were most interested in the Bloody Tower and Crown Jewel collection which turned out to be two of the smallest exhibits in the entire castle while having the longest lines. Honestly, it seemed that we gained more from wandering along the walls and through the grounds of the Tower instead of the actual exhibits.

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Categories: Kimberly · Mara · Uncategorized

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