Many Faith One Humanity

Getting Ready to Leave

Tired, awake, excited, and full of wonder we arrive in London.  The adventure has begun.  Less than 48 hours ago 17 of us waited at the Syracuse airport to board our plane to being 10 days of sites and discussion.  With little sleep during the in between we are safe and sound and through our first day in England.

When we arrived yesterday morning we were greeted by the SU London staff who guided us to the coach that would take us to our hotel – the Royal National.  On the way I was treated to a front row seat (on the left side of the coach) and just took in the scenery.  A little something called The Globe to my left… then a cemetery, churches of all types, and brick buildings that remind me of Mary Poppins all in view.  Traffic on the left side of the road didn’t seem strange, at least not then.  I was tired but ready to get the day started.

Many Faith One Humanity

Lunch and Introductions

We deposited our bags at the hotel, couldn’t quite check in when we arrived but we knew that ahead of time, and then off to Syracuse’s Faraday House; the center for SU London.  Our orientation to the UK was fun and informative on both the joys and the dangers of being a tourist.  I am thankful for the information!  We are also treated to lunch along with introductions to several people on the staff.  So far we are still excited and alert.  I’m amazed at the energy still being so high, especially in myself.

Once done we are back to the hotel to check in, unpack and start on our first event: a walking tour of the local area with Prof Richard Tames.

Many Faith One Humanity

Wisdom and Youth

 This gentleman was a repository of knowledge regarding London history and briskly walked us through the squares, the University of London, past Virginia Woolf’s home, to the British Public Library.  An hour and a half of non-stop information about the area we are calling home for 10 days.  He returns us to our hotel and graciously hands us his complete notes regarding the tour just given.

After our thanks for his generosity we finally have a moment to breathe – 45 minutes until we need to meet and leave for dinner.  I have to say that riding the London tube is an experience, especially when you are entering the Underground for the first time during the end of the day commute rush!  It was wild finding out where to go, herding 17 bodies in the same direction and onto the same commute line, and ending up at the same stop.  Thank goodness we had two guides from London helping us navigate the system; if not I’m sure that we would still be looking for some of our party.

Dinner was at Maroush, a Lebanese restaurant serving family style to our table.  The food, flavors, smells, and comfortable chairs a truly welcome relief.  Conversations all around the table were buzzing on a number of topics and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.  But the lack of sleep finally caught up with all of us.  Soon I could see in others a mirror of what I was feeling – a need to close my eyes and let my body rest. 

It has been a wonderful beginning to the trip and I imagine that it can only get better.  Today the Imperial War Museum, a Zen Garden visit, Notre Dame Church, tea at St. Martins in the Fields, the Buddhist Society, and then back to the Faraday House.  A full day indeed.

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