Indiana University
Journalism Ernie Pyle

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March 9, 2008
tortman
Photo by Tim Street
Phone booths on Fleet Street near St. Bride’s church.

Today, we all woke up refreshed from our long travel day yesterday. We started downstairs in the lobby of our hotel at 9 a.m. and headed down to the West Brompton tube station to ride into London proper. The tube was amazing – it’s too bad Americans can’t make one work for the entire United States. It was really easy to get around, and really fast, too. We each have a tube pass for the three days we are here, which makes it really easy to get around. The longest we waited for a train was three minutes, and the tunnels even have color-coded tiles to help tell which line is which.

Photo by Tim Street
The interior of St. Bride’s church.

The interior of St. Bride’s church. After getting on the tube for the first time we went to St. Bride’s church. We went inside and I was amazed at its magnificence. There were so many details to see – lots of gold flourishes, which would normally be overwhelming, but just accentuated the true beauty that could be seen all around. There wasn’t much stained glass – only one window in the front of the church, surrounded by a huge mural.

The building itself was gorgeous, but the music was by far the most moving experience of the day. Unfortunately, I was not able to go to mass today because of our schedule, but hearing the choir sing helped make up for it. The choir began practicing while we were seeing the church and the rector allowed us to stay and listen. It was unbelieveable! The choir consisted of about ten people who sang like nothing I have ever heard before. It was pure and floated around the air echoing off of the ceilings and clinging to everyone in the vicinity. It left me speechless. All I could do was cry and smile. I have never been so moved by any other music as I was by the St. Bride’s choir. We left the church all too soon, but we were heralded by the historic and breathtaking streets of London. As we were walking down Fleet Street we heard church bells ringing, bouncing and reverberating off of the walls of of the city.

Photo by Tim Street
The group listens to the tour guide on the first floor of the Imperial War Museum.

Soon, we passed the churches and entered Trafalgar Square, where people from Kosovo were celebrating their recently-gained independence. They were waving flags and holding signs that read "Thank you USA" and "Thank you Mr. Blair." They were all excited and friendly. We continued on to the Imperial War Museum, where we experienced what the blitz of London was like and saw planes and weapons that were used during WWII. After all of this, we split up to experience London in smaller groups.

I went with three other girls in our group to visit Harrod’s, London’s famous and rather ridiculous shopping center. We bought tea and then headed off to "The Eye," London’s famously tall ferris wheel. Two of our group decided to go up in it, but I declined (I’m afraid of heights), and instead had tea with the other member of our group. While we were drinking our tea, we watched three street performers acting like statues. They were completely covered in paint and didn’t move a muscle for minutes at a time. It was astounding. Now we are all headed out to hang out as a group and hopefully get to know each better.