Over the past couple days my friends and I have really started to seriously explore the surrounding neighborhoods in the vast city that is London. The changing scenery is really quite spectacular. On the far east-end is the quiet Olympic Gardens; the peaceful setting makes you forget you are in a city. Travel a couple of tube stops west to New Cross Gate (where Goldsmiths University and the home of the Lafayette students is) and you will find yourself in the middle of a bustling urban neighborhood, somewhat like Brooklyn. Keep traveling Northwest and you will end up in the famous areas of London: Whitehall, Knightsbridge, Kensington, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar’s Square and so on.
Even in these areas the scenery quickly changes from one block to the next. First you are walking along a noisy, busy street lined with restaurants, Starbucks, and foreign embassies. Go one block further north and you will find yourself in the middle of Kensington Square Gardens, a beautiful escape from city life, almost like Central Park (but better).
Now, if you are somebody who thrives on peace and quiet, solitude, and a fresh, natural landscape, a city obviously just isn’t for you. But if you only need to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life every once in a while you can absolutely find all of those things right in your hometown (if you are living in London). If you live in New York City or Philadelphia, you will probably have to travel a bit further to find some peace and quiet. If you live in Easton you can find that peace and quiet everywhere you look. I find myself missing that peace and quiet. Lounging in the middle of the quad on a sunny day with the occasional hum of a car driving by, enjoying an order of Gilbert’s nachos with your friends out on the terrace without having to hear constant sirens in the distance…I suppose I never appreciated how peaceful College Hill is compared to some other parts of the world.
Unfortunately, Easton cannot offer the huge variety of free museums, cuisine, history, and diversity that London is famous for. That is why I think going abroad can be a fundamental aspect of not only one’s undergraduate experience but the maturation process in general. You will be exposed to so much that America cannot offer.
This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting Stonehenge. As a child I never was able to fully grasp the significance of the site. Who cares about a couple of crude rocks scattered about in a circle, right? In fact, Stonehenge is quite remarkable. The most astounding feature being the mystery behind it. What is Stonehenge? How did people 5000 years ago transport these stones (the size of a two-story bus) over 20 miles and across a body of water? What is the significance of the alignment of stones matching perfectly with the sunrise (and likely at one time the sunset), and representing the five planets visible by the naked human eye? Our tour guide seemed to believe that Stonehenge was the first observatory, but I am not convinced. Maybe you are interested enough to do a bit of research and decide for yourself, what is Stonehenge?