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We are home from London.  I already miss it a little bit, but it’s good to be home.

I wish Dallas could have spent more time sightseeing with me, but the conference went really well for him.  He’s made some new contacts who may be able to help him with some of his research and archival access, and he’s even been invited to take part in a new project.  I’m really proud of him and everything he’s doing.

There were a lot of things I really loved about London.  For one thing, it’s pretty easy to blend in.  I never felt like I stood out in any way, something I’m all too aware of here in central Georgia.  (Not so much in Warner Robins, because so many people here are from somewhere else, but when I go to small towns, people can tell I’m not from here.)  London is an incredibly diverse city–many of the people I interacted with were not locals; it seemed to me that most of them were from central or eastern Europe originally, based on their accents.  With that kind of diversity came all different kinds of food to eat, too, which was awesome.  Dallas and I got German food one night, the best restaurant hamburger I’ve ever had the next night, and Dutch-style pancake dinners the last night we were in town.

Another thing I enjoyed was how easy it is to get from place to place, especially in central London.  Here we have to drive everywhere, and since driving is one of the biggest triggers of my anxiety disorder, I don’t have a car and am largely reliant on Dallas.  In London, I could tap my Oyster card on one of the readers and hop on the Underground to wherever I wanted to go.  In addition, London has these crazy things my fellow middle Georgians may not recognize–sidewalks!  My best estimate is that I walked about 20 miles while we were in London, mostly on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

I got to see a lot of things: the Kensington gardens and Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Royal Albert Hall, Abbey Road, the Tower of London, the Tower, London, and Chelsea bridges, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, King’s Cross Station (including the site of Platform 9¾!), St. James’s Park, Piccadilly Circus, the Imperial War Museum, and the Battersea Power Station.  I would have liked to have visited the British Museum, the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Paddington Station, and Hammersmith.  There’s only so much you can do with five days, though, and when you’re adjusting to the time difference on the first day and leaving early on the last day, it’s hard to fit a lot of things in.  The limited daylight made things difficult as well–the sun set around or just after 4 pm every day while we were there.

All in all, it was a great experience.  I wish we could have stayed a bit longer, but real life was calling.  I go back to work on Wednesday morning.

Of course, I took a ton of pictures–maybe more than I would have otherwise since Dallas was cooped up in a conference room most of every day we were there.  Here are some of my favorites:

Abbey Road Studios, former recording home of the Beatles.  This is a pilgrimage I've wanted to make for ten or twelve years.

Abbey Road Studios, former recording home of the Beatles. This is a pilgrimage I’ve wanted to make for ten or twelve years.

Platform 9¾, King's Cross Station.  It was probably early 2001 when I found out King's Cross was a real place, not just a Harry Potter location, and I've wanted to go ever since. Mischief managed!

Platform 9¾, King’s Cross Station. It was probably early 2001 when I found out King’s Cross was a real place, not just a Harry Potter location, and I’ve wanted to go ever since. Mischief managed!

Big Ben!

Big Ben!

 

Westminster Abbey was probably my favorite stop of the whole visit. Dallas doesn't understand my fascination with cemeteries, and I really enjoyed reading all the tomb inscriptions, even the ones I struggled through because they were in Latin.

Westminster Abbey was probably my favorite stop of the whole visit. Dallas doesn’t understand my fascination with cemeteries, and I really enjoyed reading all the tomb inscriptions, even the ones I struggled through because they were in Latin.

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