Beautiful Bruges (Day 2)

Beautiful Bruges (Day 2)

Today was a wonderful day, per usual. I started with an early morning run around the city and finished in the town square as a market began. I bought some rotisserie chicken and some great seeded bread, and enjoyed the fresh bread melding with the hot chicken as the sun came up over the city. I then made my way back to the hostel and enjoyed some breakfast and tea with my fellow Grinnell-In-Londoners.


Post-breakfast, we walked around the city on a walking tour, led by Professor Nuttel, which brought us to the Groeninge Museum. The museum had a fantastic collection of paintings, especially a few spectacular pieces by Jan Van Eyck, a famous painter who worked in Bruges. We analyzed the paintings and enjoyed the incredible opportunity to see them literally inches from our faces.


We then went on to tour a few more places, including a fantastic church with a statue by Michaelanglo! After the museums and churches were all visited, we were free to explore the city. I went chocolate shopping and also picked up a few postcards. It was another wonderful day in Bruges, and I am excited for our trip to Brussels tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures.


View From The Room



A Piece by Jan Van Eyck

Painting Analysis


Pastry Analysis


The Bellfry

The Michelangelo Piece



Beautiful Bruges (Day 1)

Beautiful Bruges (Day 1)

We arrived in Bruges, Belgium today after a wonderfully smooth train voyage from London. It was so incredible going underneath the English Channel and popping up in another country completely. We spent the day touring the city as a class and walking around on our own. Predictably, I managed to get ahold of some very fine chocolate. It was delightful. It's a good thing I do not live here, or I would probably eat the chocolate all day long.


Tomorrow involves more touring and looking at various art pieces throughout the city. I am excited to start my day with an early morning run around the city and along the river and then shop at a market nearby. Then I will meet up with the rest of the group for breakfast in our hostel's morning room. Exciting!





Even the Bricks are Beautiful



Belgian Fries

I Marked Grinnell With Scarlet and Black


Classy Coffee Class and The V&A

Classy Coffee Class and The V&A

Today for my Cultures of Empire class, we met in a rather fun setting, a Belgian-style coffeehouse/bakery! We spent the first half of the class discussing the reading over some coffee, tea, and breads with spreads. It was a wonderfully different way to start our day, and the location made it easy to stroll over to the V&A (the Victoria and Albert Museum) one block away for the second half of class. We spent the second half of class looking at some archival pieces, prints from the Exhibition of 1851, which we had read about for class and spent the previous hour discussing. It was incredible to hold these antique, yet perfectly-preserved documents and study their details and ideas firsthand. The archive room is amazing, and I cannot wait to do some preliminary research on my free days for my potential MAP. Enjoy the pictures below!


A Quali-Tea Way to Start Class


Claire Cares for Coffee


A Unique Classroom Setting


The Archived Collection Cover


Detail From a Print


The Class Studies the Prints Firsthand


Greenwich and Great Times

Greenwich and Great Times

Today we visited Greenwich for my History of London course. We examined the area and explored its roles in the the various stages of history, from its major scientific significance to its role in WWII defense and failsafes. After climbing the large hill, we were treated to some of the spectacular views you see below. The area also featured a beautiful rose garden and an old wall still set for WWII land defense. It really makes the history come to life seeing it in such a context. Though the view has undoubtedly changed over the years, the impressiveness has not faded one bit.

After exploring Greenwich, I went home and met my friend Grace and her friend Lauren, both of whom are visiting London. We went to the British Museum and explored all around. It was a great day.

The Prime Meridian!

Rose Garden

Grace and I


Exploration and Learning at The Museum of London

Exploration and Learning at The Museum of London

After my classes today, I ventured over to the area by St. Paul's to explore the Museum of London a little more. One of my class projects is to examine two different artifacts and connect their significance to what we have learned and read about in class. It's an exciting assignment that uses the city as our classroom yet again. I love visiting all the various museums, and I keep finding that the more I learn in classes, the more I pick up on as I roam the city.


Also today, we received our train tickets for this weekend's trip to Bruges, Belgium and saw a fantastic play, Love and Information. It involved about fifty short scenes meant to capture a moment in time, and I really enjoyed the range that the actors had and the innovative set design that seemed dually evocative of a camera shutter and a television set.


Enjoy the pictures from the Museum of London, and look forward to pictures tomorrow when I visit Greenwich for class!

One of the First Fire Insurance Policies


Old Clock in the Museum's Collection


Visually-Impressive Printing Press Display

Beautiful Buddha Donated to Museum


First Visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum

First Visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum

Today, we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum for my art history class. It was the first of (I hope) many visits for me. The V&A, as it is commonly called, houses pieces from around the world and through various times. The focus is on good design and craftwork. We went to examine some Donatello pieces. (The museum hosts the largest collection of Donatello pieces outside of Italy.) They were amazing to look at, and seeing the pieces inches from us, rather than in a book, made the pieces so much more accessible from an intellectual standpoint and yet more intricate at the same time. It's amazing being in a city where so much art is. I am constantly astounded by the quantity and quality of the museums. Today's moment of “Wow!” came when I walked by a little nook where none other than one of Da Vinci's journals. What an amazing city.

From Outside

Class in the Gallery

By Donatello


Da Vinci's Journal

St. Francis


St. Sebastian


The Wonderful Walk to School

The Wonderful Walk to School

It never fails to amaze me how incredible it is to be going to school in the heart of London. My daily walk to the teaching site seems designed to make sure I stay impressed. I get off of the bus at Museum Street and walk directly north to Great Russell Street. As I turn onto Great Russell Street, I am greeted with the sight of the majestic British Museum. It's impossible not be impressed by its immense size and incredible architecture. I continue walking down Great Russell Street, a wonderful road lined with shops, restaurants, and miniature museums all encased in beautiful and old buildings until I reach number 99. This is the teaching site, and even it astonishes me daily. It is housed in an ornate historical building, and has a massive mural lining its ceiling in the entrance foyer. It is absolutely incredible to see all these amazing sights and it boggles my mind that this is my daily routine.


The British Museum is One Block Away



Great Russell Street


The Teaching Site, #99


Just Inside the Front Door


The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, & More!

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, & More!

Yesterday we visited the Trafalgar Square area for my Cultures of Empire history class. Though the iconic square was covered in a set-up for celebrating and watching the Paralympics, we could still walk around it and enjoy the sights. It was incredible to see the historical buildings I have read about for years up close and personal. Nelson's Column is an awe-inspiring sight to see, towering overhead and guarded by sculpted lions. The ability to see Whitehall (and Big Ben) directly from the National Gallery's steps is also so impressive to me. It will be a great deal of fun to keep returning to the Trafalgar Square area, as I need to come back to the National Gallery at least weekly for my art history class. It will be interesting to see the square change as the seasons change along with events.














A City of Old & New

A City of Old & New

This morning, we took a walking tour from the Monument to the Great Fire to just below St. Paul's Cathedral. It was an incredibly interesting walk, with Professor Layton-Jones pointing out various places and structures of historical importance. One thing I began to notice as we walked, however, was the incredible blend of the old and new structures. History doesn't build out from London's center, it builds up and around it. We saw numerous rows of buildings with facades and details from various centuries. It's the historical touches that give London its unique feeling. It is a city lost in time. There are places that look unchanged from their same appearances hundreds of years prior. Their juxtaposition next to modern buildings further highlights it. I feel the stark contrast adds a certain beauty to both the old and the new. London may be lost in time, but that's what makes it beautiful.















Sushi Lunch From Wasabi

Sushi Lunch From Wasabi

We started our first day of classes today. My first class was with Professor Prevost, a history class entitled Cultures of Empire. It seems like it will be a really engaging and interesting class. It is designed so we have to venture all over London and immerse ourselves in the historical sites we are reading about. Tomorrow we have to visit the Bank Junction (an area where seven major roads converge, and also the site of the Mayor of London's home) on our own, and then write a 1-2 page response to some discussion-provoking questions about it. I am getting really excited, and can't wait to dive into this class head first.

In any case, post-class, we were really hungry and wanting a good lunch. I had seen a variety of interesting and inexpensive places for lunch on Holborn Street on my way home the other day, so Claire, Hannah, and I headed that direction in search of nourishment.

We found it in the delightful sushi from a small, clean place called Wasabi. I had seen this chain and was impressed by how orderly and beautiful and inexpensive their food options were. Trays of sushi lined a wall cooler, and individual pieces could be bought for two pieces for £1. I went for a combo plate, the better value, and was excited to dig in!

Wasabi, a great little sushi place

I had to wait a few minutes to dig into my sushi, as we decided to save money by taking the food to go (or takeaway, as it's called here) because many places charge more to eat in, as that uses space. We ventured over to the nearby Bloomsbury Square, a nice patch of green grass, gardens, and benches, a perfect spot for lunch. There was a cool breeze and warm sunlight, giving our little park bench some great lunchtime atmosphere.

Our Lunch View

The sushi, once we finally dug in, was phenomenal! It was outrageously fresh and absurdly delicious. I had been expecting decent, but distinctly packaged sushi, but this was amazingly good. It was all tightly packed by an obviously practiced hand, and had perfect proportions. It was beautifully organized and accompanied by a delicious edamame salad. The thing that stood out the most though, was the tantalizing texture of the sushi, the rice, seaweed, and fish all stood distinctly apart. No sushi I have had in Iowa can even compare. The cool breeze, the superb sushi, and the feeling of accomplishment that came from completing my first class in London made this a supremely satisfying meal.

Awesome, clean food packaging


Sushi Detail