June 9, 2017 37th and O

#HoyasInUK Day Five

by Edward Weizenegger

With more than a few of us light on sleep, having stayed up to the small hours of the morning parsing through election statistics from across the island, the #HoyasInUK turned to full-time sightseeing. London's unparalleled cultural offerings made it difficult to know where to begin, and so for something completely different from the bleeding edge of electoral politics, we started the day at the Tower of London. Parts of the imposing fortress date back nearly a thousand years to William the Conqueror. We walked the same path where in centuries past doomed princes played and more than a handful of nobles walked on the way to losing their heads. Our guide was a genuine Yeoman Warder, better known as a Beefeater.

Tower of London

Upon slipping away from the grounds with our heads intact, we crossed the River Thames over the iconic Tower Bridge. We marveled at the glass flooring that seem to leave us suspended in thin air untold meters above the river's rolling current, as well as the below-deck steam works that once hefted the bridge into air dozens of times a day. Touching down on the other side, we were further dazzled by the city's public transport as we were able to catch a fast boat up river using the very Oyster cards that get us around the Tube.


Disembarking, we made our way to the Tate Modern, one of the world's premier galleries of modern art. In stark contrast to the stone-and-steel monuments of the morning, art at the Tate commented on the human condition in many mediums -- including sculpture made of human hair! Still processing that, we were off to the Sky Garden for a little perspective, and were treated to one of the finest panoramic views of the city at 500 feet.

Sky Garden

To end the day with a more traditional exhibition, we walked to the British Museum, which was established before the United States declared independence. At first glance the Museum's mission of chronicling 'human history' seemed ambitious, but the description soon proved accurate. From room-length reliefs of Assyrian lion hunts to a contemporary exhibit on the American Dream, our couple hours there convinced us we would all have to return again to see more. That, it was becoming apparent, was a feeling we were all getting about the city of London itself.

British Museum

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