Dear followers of “Best of Britain,”
Our group of travelers made the most of our stay in London today. We started out with a fascinating walking tour, led by David, the owner of the tour company. He was originally from Wisconsin, moved to London 40 years ago to study Charles Dickens, and never left. His Ph.D. was written about Dickens, and we were given a dickens of time during his two-hour tour walking through the alleys and churches and hidden gems that remain from before Shakespeare’s time. David would take us to a site of something from a famous Dickens novel and then recite the very passage about the place that we were seeing. If that isn’t good enough, we were told many interesting Shakespeare stories by this expert on London. (David is my new best friend.)
As the tour ended, we walked past St. Paul’s Cathedral, the second largest domed church in the world. Our group then crossed the Thames River on the Millennium footbridge in a bit of a drizzle. The light rain didn’t matter to us, however, since we were looking at the great landmarks on the banks of this famous river in both directions.
At the Globe Theatre
One of the landmarks on the river is the replica of the straw-thatched Globe Theatre, looking exactly as it did in Shakespeare’s day, over 400 years ago. We headed straight for it and made our way to our wooden-benched seats to watch “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” starring Robin Goodfellow, Puck himself. If you can’t appreciate the Bard by watching his plays in the authentic Globe Theatre, then you are a saucy lad or lass, and you should never visit London.
After a delightful viewing of the play, we headed back to London Bridge Train Station to go our various ways. By now, everyone is familiar with the Tube (subway) stations and the overland train depots so we can all maneuver our way back to our Glenthurston lodging place. Remember our rule is to never travel alone, so all of us have a buddy or two or three on every journey we make.
Some of the group went over to the Tower of London to see that ancient castle (built in 1066), some went “home” to shop for groceries and do laundry, while some of us paid the admission price to travel to the observation deck on the Shard, the tallest building in Europe. Even in the rain, the view from “up there” was fantastic!
This group of eleven ladies and one male fellow have made me happy and proud. They are noble travelers, not afraid of daily “adventures” and always prompt and polite. While the weather has not allowed us to wear our shorts very often, we did not come over here to get tan or lounge around. It’s a class of literature lovers, and we are loving it.
After that busy day, we gathered in the lounge area to hear another student lecture about Jane Austen and to work on our original sonnet writing. I saw happy faces, and I heard good original poetry from my students. Tomorrow we will be taking an early morning train to Bath, a Roman spa city with 2,000-year-old buildings, built over hot thermal springs. This is the city in which Jane Austen visited and vacationed often during her life.
God has been good to us, and we are so grateful for this opportunity, planned and prepared well, experienced and enjoyed well, as well.
Dr. Martin Moldenhauer