My First Solo Trip: Day 2
My first full day in London, I decided to tube over to the Imperial War Museum. I specifically wanted to visit the Holocaust exhibit before my journey to Poland and was not disappointed. I also visited the WWI and Family at War exhibits, which were very enjoyable and informative. I would say that the WWI exhibit was probably my favorite, possibly because that was where I began my visit at the museum and possibly because I haven’t studied that part of history as much and so I really appreciated taking in all the information provided. I had a good laugh about the reason given for the United States finally joining the war, the explanation being that the U.S. made the decision to join Britain after Mexico announced they were siding with the Germans. Supposedly, Germany had made an agreement with Mexico that a portion of the land in the U.S. would be returned to Mexico if Germany won the war. The U.S.’s response was, “heck no!” Of course this isn’t exactly how the information was stated in the museum, but it’s my interpretation of what was provided and I'm sure that the real reason the U.S. joined was much more complicated than a simple land dispute.
After spending several hours at the museum, my attention was beginning to wander so I decided to head out. It was raining when I left the museum, but I really wanted to be outdoors and stretch my legs for a bit. I had initially planned to look for somewhere to grab a quick lunch or snack, but ended up making my way back to the Thames without seeing anything that really piqued my interest. Once there it had stopped raining and the sun came out so I decided to walk the Southbank all the way down to Tower Bridge. I had thought I might tour Borough Market and grab a bite there, but I somehow managed to miss the market altogether. I remember seeing a sign pointing the way to it, but I think I either got distracted by snapping photos or avoiding a large number of school groups traveling the same route. At any rate, I had reached Tower Bridge and I knew, from past experience, that there was a Costa Coffee next to the Tower of London.
Once I had revived myself with a much-needed latte and brownie, and rested my feet for a bit, I decided to meander my way in the general direction of St. Paul’s Cathedral. I wanted to visit the ruins of St. Dunstan’s in the East and knew that it was somewhere in the vicinity of St. Paul’s. I found it easily and enjoyed wandering through and snapping some photos. The original church was constructed in approximately 1100 A.D., but was heavily damaged during the Great Fire of 1666. The church was patched up following the fire, but not completely repaired. In the late 1600's, the tower and its spire, which still stand, were added to the existing structure by none other than the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren. Sir Christopher Wren was the mastermind behind many famous architectural sites, such as St. Paul's Cathedral and Hampton Court Palace. Without Wren's influence the London skyline wouldn't be nearly as impressive and diverse as it is today. Unfortunately, St. Dunstan's was heavily damaged during the 1941 Blitz and rather than repair the structure, the church was turned into a beautiful public garden.
After my wander through St. Dunstan’s I decided I had walked enough for one day so I took the tube in the direction of Victoria Station. There I stopped in at Boots pharmacy to grab a few toiletries that I had forgotten to pack and grabbed a burrito from a place called Tortilla, which is similar to Chipotle in the U.S. At this point in my trip, I still hadn’t worked up the courage to dine alone in an actual restaurant, so the fast food options inside Victoria Station were a welcome option.
Thanks for reading! As always, please feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below!