We have arrived in London! After a long flight across the pond, we boarded a coach with Dr. Aaron Hunter. Dr. Hunter is an evolutionary palaeoecologist at Cambridge University focusing on the “history of science.” You can find out more about Dr. Hunter on his website at AFossilHunter.com.
Dr. Hunter took us on a tour of central London giving us a great orientation to the city and its history. We were able to see and visit important cultural sites including the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and Big Ben, Westminster Abby, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, etc. We learned about London’s extensive royal parks and greenways and discussed how important these are to those living in the city. We even drove over the Waterloo Bridge, where Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident writer, was assassinated in 1978 after being stabbed in the leg with an umbrella containing the lethal poison ricin.
Driving around London, we noticed many road and sidewalk improvements underway in preparation for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee early next month (Similar to what we have seen in Birmingham ahead of the World Games.) These improvements will enhance walkability and safety, as well as improve overall neighborhood conditions in Central London. Several students during the tour commented on how “clean” and free of rubbish the streets and sidewalks of London appear. Dr. Hunter explained that British and neighborhood communities in general pride themselves in keeping common areas clean. “It is part of the culture,” explained Dr. Hunter.
Once we were settled into our hotel, our home base for the next few days, we were off to the Cote Kensington, a nearby restaurant for a welcome dinner. After an excellent meal, we returned to our hotel for a much-needed rest, and to prepare for the next day!
Lisa McCormick and Meena Nabavi