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England's past navigated on foot

July 19, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Marie's blog:
These last few days have been among the most walking-intensive of my life. This is actually not a bad thing, though. I'm sure I have walked miles and miles, but I have also seen many incredible, worthy sights. My feet are so sore, but it was worth it.

Before I go into all of my good times, a quick fact: The City of London (a.k.a. "The Old City"), a single square mile that is the historic core of London and has been civilized for many hundreds of years, is not actually under the rule of the Queen. It is its own entity, with a Lord Mayor, and has been this way for a very long time. Which means there is no reason for me to be as surprised as I was. But still, interesting fact, right?

As you have probably guessed, I spent some time in The City of London. Our group toured it with a guide and saw many incredible buildings with more history that I can even wrap my head around. My personal favorite was St. Paul’s Cathedral. You cannot appreciate the sheer greatness of it until you are standing on the steps staring up at 100 feet of carved marble. Seriously awe-worthy, without a doubt.

The Tower of London was another fun site to explore. While there, I got to see ancient armor, the crown jewels and little replicas of torture devices, among other things. The nearby Tower Bridge offered amazing views from its peaks.

Today was really special. Guess where we went? Westminster Abbey! And, yes, that’s the one from "The Da Vinci Code." And, yes, I saw Sir Isaac Newton’s tomb. It was very impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the building in which it was carved. The architecture is insane, all detail and painstaking perfection. Wandering through the main Abbey, it is truly hard to believe that you are standing in the same place someone else did 500 years ago; looking at huge marble statues that were carved by hand. Of all the placed we've visited so far, Westminster Abbey is the one that most impressed me.

I am off to work on some homework. This week we are studying the history of the plague and leprosy in Britain – quite fascinating!

Marie Manning, a global health major, will be a senior this fall. She is studying abroad in New Zealand, Fiji and London this summer.