Monday evening, January 19, 2015

DSC_0729 DSC_0737

Breakfast, lecture, then off to various libraries for our second of three “work days.”  Most students went to the Royal Society’s History of Science Library, the Wellcome Library featuring the history of medicine, or the British Library.  Others went searching in London for statutes, plaques, and memorials to the person or institution on whom they are researching and writing.

After a hard day’s work, we enjoyed a first-rate performance of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre.  One student had performed in Les Miserables, and most were somewhat familiar with the plot and music either having attended a performance in the States or having seen the 2012 movie version.

Photographs: Building of the Royal Society; students working at the Wellcome Library.


Saturday evening, January 17, 2015

A-Down House B-Borough Market

Breakfast, then off via private-hire coach to Down House in Downe.  The distance is only 18 miles, predominantly south of where we are in London, but it takes about 1¼ hours each way.  Down House is the home of Charles and Emily Darwin, purchased just before the birth of their third of ten children.  It’s where Charles Darwin did his research and writing, based upon observations and collections made during his voyage of The Beagle.  It is where he lived until he died.  His home has been made into a museum and is part of the English Heritage Foundation.  The home is on considerable acreage with gardens, a greenhouse, and a long walking path that Darwin did three times daily as part of his routine.

On our return to London, we were dropped off at Borough Market, a bustling, Saturday-only market of several hundred predominantly food and beverage booths, crammed under the train and road bridges by London Bridge.  Students ventured to try venison, goat’s milk ice cream, exotic cheeses, and a wide variety of treats.  Many have put it high on their list to visit again next week.

Photographs, L to R: A-Down House from the back; B-Borough Market.

Friday, January 16, 2015

B-St Pauls Dome A-Buckingham Palace

Breakfast…morning lecture…then off to Buckingham Palace via Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square (with Lord Nelson statue, St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Church, and National Gallery).  Changing of the Guard featured the 7 Company Coldstream Guards, the Band of the Irish Guards, and the Queen’s Horse Guards.

After a quick lunch, we headed to St. Paul’s Cathedral for an excellent tour.  We got to see a 17-ton marble baptismal font, the Geometric Staircase (used in several movies including Harry Potter), the American Chapel, and the Crypt (with tombs and/or memorials to Christopher Wren, Lord Wellington, Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale, and Alexander Fleming).  At the end of the tour, the students headed up to the Whispering Gallery (where they played a quiet round of “Simon Says” to demonstrate its acoustical name), and the outdoor galleries in the dome of the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery.  Tonight is our last evening meal at the hostel; from now on, all our lunches and dinners will be out on the town.

Photographs, L to R: A-Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace; B-Students at the railing of the Golden Gallery, Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral (click on picture to enlarge).

Visiting Cambridge

Yesterday we had the opportunity to take the train and visit Cambridge. I really enjoyed having the chance to get out of London for a little while and visit a smaller town and some of the colleges of Cambridge University. We also got to eat lunch at Eagle Pub in Cambridge which is where Watson and Crick announced their discovery of DNA. I’ve really enjoyed traveling around in England; there are so many new things for us to learn wherever we go. I’m so thankful for all the people on the trip and the experiences that we’ve had together. I’m really excited for the next two weeks and all the things that we get to discover in them!

 A. Michmerhuizen

Thursday evening, January 15, 2015

A-Royal Observatory B-Royal Observatory

After breakfast, we met in our hostel’s Meeting Room for a 1-hour lecture on the history of science, medicine and religion focusing on the medieval period through Copernicus and Vesalius.  We then headed out just a few tube stops to the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.  The museum displays an incredible array of animal and human specimens that Dr. John Hunter generated during his long career as an anatomist and surgeon.  It also has a collection of surgical instruments over the last several centuries.  It was Dr. Hunter that brought empirical medicine to surgery for which he is frequently referred to as the “father of modern surgery.”

After lunch, we hopped the tube to the Docklands Light Rail that took us out to Greenwich where we climbed the hill to the Royal Observatory.  The day was fairly brisk and clear with a bright sun and deeply contrasting clouds.  We stood on the world’s Prime Meridian (longitude 0o 00’ 00”) with one-half the students leaning into the western hemisphere and the other half into the eastern hemisphere.  It is here that the world references time to “Greenwich Mean Time” (GMT) or “Coordinated Universal Time” (UTC) that appears, for example, on the satellite images of weather patterns.  In the U.S., Eastern Standard Time = UTC -5 hours.

Photographs, L to R: A-Class photo at Royal Observatory overlooking London skyline in background B-Students on the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory.

Wednesday evening, January 14, 2015

B-Kings-Cambridge A-Cambridge-Trinity

We caught the Central Line tube to Oxford Circus, and the Victoria Line tube to King’s Cross Station for our 9:44 a.m. train departure to Cambridge.  Having arrived about 30 minutes early, we located King’s Cross Station Platform 9¾, and most of the students had a go at doing their best Harry Potter imitation.  Our train was an express train, arriving in Cambridge around 10:35 a.m.  We hiked several miles to the Round Church to meet David Berkley who would lead us on our Christian Heritage Walk through Cambridge University.  We saw many of the Cambridge University colleges, and entered Trinity College and Sussex College for closer looks, particularly at their chapels.  After our walking tour, we warmed up with a terrific lunch at The Eagle, a promi nent pub which features an RAF (Royal Air Force) Bar where airmen watered during World War II, and the place where James Watson and Francis Crick first announced the structure of DNA in 1953.

After lunch, students enjoyed several hours of free time to pursue further some of the colleges of Cambridge University, take in the sights, or do some shopping.  At 5:30 p.m., we attended Evensong at King’s College Chapel to hear what is arguably one of the best male choirs in the world.  It was inspiring.  Our return train ride was uneventful.  The day was cool and quite windy.  Everyone should sleep well tonight in the warmth of our hostel rooms.

Photographs, L to R: A-Window of Isaac Newton’s room & descendent of his infamous apple tree at Trinity College, Cambridge University, B-King’s College Chapel, Cambridge University

No Longer Distressed Passengers

It has been a very eventful few days here in London. Once we got our luggage things began to look up for us. We have gotten the chance to explore and experience so many beautiful places here in the city. On Sunday we attended St. Paul’s cathedral and the whole time we were in awe at the beauty that surrounded us. Today we got to take a bus up to see Stonehenge. It is such an awesome thing that we are now able to say that we got to see such a cool part of ancient history. One of my favorite parts of the trip so far has been getting to know all the people that are on the trip. We have all grown really close over the past few days and I feel blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. I am so excited to continue on this adventure and experience even more sights and places.


T. Nederhood

Tuesday evening, January 13, 2015

A-Stonehenge B-Salisbury Cathedral C-Baptismal Font

Our private-hire coach picked us up promptly at 8:00 a.m., and we headed out of Central London through heavy traffic initially for Stonehenge in the deserted countryside.  The skies cleared completely, giving us a great but false hope.  By the time we arrived at Stonehenge, heavy clouds had moved in and a steady drizzle prevailed.  The rain overshadowed our time there, but we learned about when and how Stonehenge was constructed and hypotheses as to its purpose…and got our photos.  As we left, a heavy squall blew driving rain—we were glad we’d gotten there just in time.

We proceeded to Salisbury and the Salisbury Cathedral where we had lunch, then took a guided tour of the Cathedral.  For most of us, at 800-years-old, it was the oldest church we’ve ever been in.  A recent, modern addition, has been a very artistic baptismal font that blends the traditional old with the new.  After our tour of the Cathedral, we enjoyed free time in Salisbury.  On our way back to Central London, we enjoyed Belgian ices and chocolate with chocolate-chip cupcakes and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday!” to celebrate J. Lamb’s 20th birthday.

Photographs, L to R: A-group photo at Stonehenge, B-Salisbury Cathedral, C-baptismal font

Monday evening, January 12, 2015

A monday BMonday

Today is our first “working day.”  The weather was cloudy and drizzly throughout the day, making it easier to stay inside and focus our attention on our primary course papers.  Five students working on scientists (John Dalton, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, John Flamstead, and Isaac Newton) went to the Royal Society and registered to use its archives.  Everyone went to the Wellcome Library to register to use its history of medicine library.  Both libraries offer remarkable resources for the study of the history of science, medicine and religion.

Mid-afternoon, we visited the remarkable British Museum.  With limited time, we saw the Rosetta Stone from Egypt, the Elgin Marbles of the Parthenon from Greece, and the mummies from Egypt.  The Enlightenment Period exhibit of 17th and 18th century science was closed for refurbishing, but should reopen a few days before we leave.

This evening, we attended a first-rate theatre performance of “Wicked.”  Wow!  What fun!

Photographs, L to R: A-Interior of British Museum, B-Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre

Sunday evening, January 11, 2015

ADSC_0461 B sunday

Today dawned clear and bright, and reached a high around 45oF.  We all keep an eye on the weather at Calvin College, and are additionally grateful to be here.  We worshipped at 9:30 a.m. with All Souls’ Church, Langham Place, a thriving, multiculturally diverse congregation in the evangelical branch of the Church of England.  After worship, we caught a double-decker bus to St. Paul’s Cathedral where we worshipped at the 11:30 a.m. Sung Eucharist service with the 12-men Vicar’s Choir (no Boys’ Choir today).  The cathedral was visually and acoustically resplendid.  After worship, we gathered to reflect briefly on our different worship services.

Via bus and tube, we made our way to Camden Market and Locks.  The “Locks” refer to two locks on the canal at Camden that are interconnected to canals that cross England and even London, allowing people to live and travel on long, low, narrow houseboats.  The markets are countless small booths, hundreds clustered adjacent to each other, hawking a wide variety of ethnic foods, souvenirs, clothes, shoes and boots, jewelry, tattoos, and even some drug paraphernalia.  On weekends, it is inundated with commoners and tourists.

Photographs, L to R: A-Sanctuary of All Souls’ Church, Langham Place, B-Camden Market and Locks