Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as 'Kimberly'

Bit of an Odd Day

August 28th, 2009 · No Comments

After the Tate Modern today, I was unsure if anything could improve my day. To be blunt about it, some of the exhibits were just too much for me. I am not a modern art person to begin with and typically only deal with short visits to modern art galleries. Alas, one exhibit at the Tate Modern completely proved to be far too long for me, even though I viewed it for less than a minute. To describe this exhibit, let us say that how Professor Qualls described the “fisting” exhibit was far tamer than it truly is to view. After that, my day seemed tainted by the experience. I mean the War Cabinet Rooms turned out to be a very nice exhibit and one that I enjoyed walking through, but still that exhibit from the Tate stuck with me. Truly, it haunted my thoughts to an extent. It crossed a line between art and the need to attract attention. To me, art centers more on conveying a message or point to those who wish to find it or come across it. It is not a venue in which to shock and horrify people. But those are just my thoughts on that boundary between art and the desire to attract attention.

After that I thought I would be unable to appreciate anything else the city had to offer. Thankfully I was absolutely wrong. Troilus and Cressida was the perfect remedy for what I saw at the Tate Modern. It was my first official Shakespeare play. I had seen scenes from Shakespeare at the RenFaire before, but never an entire play put on by a professional troupe. It went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for and that erased the negative effects that modern art had left on my day. Even with the rain it was a beautiful night to stand and watch Shakespeare. It could not have been a more appreciate or liked show on my part. I only hope that any Shakespeare plays I see after this one live up to the standards it has set.

Tags: Kimberly

Fish and chips versus tofu and veggies

August 26th, 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.

tower and westminster 025

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.

tower and westminster 092

Tags: Kimberly · Mara · Uncategorized

Down the British Rabbit Hole

August 24th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Up until the day we left the US, we could go to our 24 hour grocery markets, convenience stores, and cafes. It never crossed our minds that this would change. We thought that the 24 hour 7 days a week mentality was an attribute of the modern world, not one that would be characteristic of the United States. So yesterday it was startling to find all the stores and restaurants, excluding pubs and Starbucks, closing by 6 pm. Six o’clock on a Sunday evening back home typically would translate to dinner with the family and all preparations for the coming week. This would include trips to the grocery store, gas stations and other last minute errands. Here, though, it seems that Sunday is still more so a day of rest, especially in the sense of shops and restaurants having shorter hours. Back home Sunday is the day of catch-up, which requires shops and restaurants to remain open.


At six o’clock after our walking tour of Bloomsbury, we attempted to go to Tesco’s to purchase some pasta and bread to cook our own dinner. Unfortunately, they were closed and upon further investigation we found the only places to still be open were the pubs and Starbucks. Over our dinner at the Marlborough Arms, we discussed how a chain store like Tesco’s back home would have longer hours on a Sunday. It made us realize that the perception of time is something that is different here. Perception of time is something we have been thinking a lot about since we visited the observatory and Prime Meridian at Greenwich and had to start considering time differences in talking to our families.

Something that wasn’t a consideration other than making sure we got to our classes and appointments on time has become a huge part of our daily lives and now we’re dictated by time and how it is perceived by the British.

On a side note, cookies for whoever understands the reference.

Tags: Kimberly · Mara · Uncategorized

Whitechapel (Mis)Adventures

August 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

We left the Arran House bright and early at 8am. Together, we boarded the tube and set off for East Aldgate in search of the Whitechapel Market. This proved to be much more of a hassle than we had imagined. As we left the station and entered the streets of Whitechapel, our first perception of the area was the large, pristine East London Mosque, featured below.


From that moment on, we observed many bilingual street signs (in Arabic and English) and small family owned businesses including flower shops, restauraunts, and news agents.


Though there were a plethora of shops, there was a distinct lack of people. We were perplexed by the quiet streets and closed stores and were still unable to locate the elusive Whitechapel Market. Thankfully, a mailman was able to calm our fears…by telling us that it did not exist. He instructed us to walk a few blocks to Commercial Street where we could visit Spitalfields, a predominantly Islamic market. This also proved to be a disaster: it was closed, as we later found out from Professor Qualls, due to the beginning of Ramadan. Below are a few pictures of the deserted market which we imagined, under different circumstances, would otherwise be a vibrant and exciting community.

This is the exterior of the Spitalfield Market!

This is the exterior of the Spitalfield Market!

Here is the interior of the deserted market.

Here is the interior of the deserted market.

After another panicked call to Professor Qualls, he then directed us to Leadenhall Market which we located on the outskirts of London Proper. Originally a market for fish and cheese mongers, it was established in 1321 as a meeting place for vendors. However in 1666, parts of the original building were destroyed by the Great Fire and then later rebuilt in both 1881 and refurbished in 1990.

Leadenhall Market Exterior

This is the entrance into the Leadenhall Markets.

Below is an image that captures the amazing architecture of the market place which is clearly incredibly ornate and a far cry from what we saw in Whitechapel. Not only were there high-end retail stores, but also high-rises and the buildings and streets were noticeably cleaner.

Here is an example of Leadenhall Market's interior!

Here is an example of Leadenhall Market's interior!

Despite the fact that the markets were closed, it was still a very enlightening experience, for we saw two different Londons. The first being a predominantly immigrant community that combined the traditional culture of their homelands with the western ideals of Britain. The second was a more commercialized section of the city and felt more like a mainstream city center. It lacked, however, the intimate nature of Whitechapel. All in all, this experience helped us realize the economic and cultural diversity of London!

Tags: Kelley · Kimberly · Maddie · Markets

Finsbury Park and other wanderings

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

One word to describe the environment that we explored: DIVERSE. When we got on the Piccadilly line at the Euston station and made a change over to the Victoria at King’s Cross St. Pancras to head towards Finsbury Park Station, little did we expect to encounter a place filled with people (who appeared to be) from various diverse backgrounds. It was a busy street, and as we walked by the shops and street vendors we observed how everyone interacted with each other and the environment. Every shop was unique in what was sold and in their atmospheres. We were impressed to see such a large variety of shops together on the same street and Flow was blown away by the fact that platanos were being sold on the street! There were also residential areas along with the interesting meeting ground of shops, restaurants and homes. In our exploring of the area, we found the Capital Ring. This is a trail that runs through parts of the city and besides the sounds of passing cars, seemed to be a trail in the country. Our return trip was an experience. We ended up riding around on the buses for a few hours. This allowed us to see the city from a different viewpoint than being on the ground walking or underground riding the tube. It took four buses to find our way back. Three of these buses were headed in the opposite direction of the hotel…not helpful. Yet it ended up being a good experience for our first day. We didn’t end up completely lost and found a part of London that we did not expect to find when we set out on our first adventure!DSC00713

Tags: Flow · Kimberly · Uncategorized

second full day in London

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Today ended up being a long day of walking after our boat ride down the Thames. It was a beautiful day for both walking around the city and being out on the river. The boat ride, for me at least, was a nice introduction to some of the more touristy sites I relate to London in my mind. I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was a perfect spot to appreciate the bridges of London and the architecture along the Thames. Greenwich was a wonderful experience, especially since I have wanted to visit there since I was about eight years old. The museums concerning the clocks and observatory were wonderful. I especially liked the layout of the clock museum and how it presented the problem of telling time at sea and how they finally developed the solution for it. And the planetarium was very good. The presenter had a wonderful sense of humor, while still being very informative.
After lunch, I went to the market with Mara, Sarah and Alli. It was a very diverse market with numerous stalls and items for sale. We ended up spending a few pounds on henna tattoos. After this we walked to St. Alfege’s Church and even though we couldn’t go inside the church it was worthwhile to see the architecture and look at the old gravestones. From here we decided to make our way under the Thames and find a rail station to come back to the hotel. Well, we found a park, Millard Park, by the station and thought that it was a good idea to go into the park and investigate. Well, we ended up finding a farm. There were loads of animals there: pigs, cows, goats, sheep, chickens and horses. I especially appreciated the equestrian center we found with the farm. I knew that there are numerous stables and equestrian centers throughout the countryside, but I wasn’t expecting to find one in Greenwich. After walking through the farm, we decided to make our way back to the hotel on the train from the Mudchute Station. Overall it was a long day of walking and exploring, that lead us to find many different aspects of London and how this city is unpredictable.

Tags: Kimberly · Uncategorized