LONDON – It was a suit and tie day as we embarked to Lloyd’s of London for a tour of the building and to learn how the company works.
Beforehand though we took a quick tour of the British Library for those who had not seen it before and got a great tour by Randell Ice, interim dean of the University of Central Oklahoma Business College.
In the rare collection, pieces included a 17th-century book containing the four Gospels, prayer books and multiple Qur’ans from the 10th century.
Dr. Jessica Sheetz-Nguyenn, professor of history at UCO, discusses various exhibits inside of the British Library on Monday.
In the museum portion, there was also one of the four copies of the Magna Carta that exists. It was incredible to see one document that changed not only the British political system but shaped the American one.
There were also pieces of John Milton’s work, which also had a significant impact on American tradition. It was like I was in an American history museum.
One of the most positive things that anybody can learn when traveling is that there is a big world out there and people copy other people’s ideas.
We left the British Library and UCO Alumnus Leroy Coffman and I headed to Lloyd’s of London by taxi, which was a horrible idea.
Traffic in the area was horrible, but we made it with just a few minutes to spare and began our tour of one of the world’s largest insurance marketplace.
One misconception is that Lloyd’s of London sells insurance, when in fact they are only housing 84 companies from across the globe with $50 billion in sales each year. Those companies like Travelers and AM Trust sell the insurance.
To rent space inside of the building it costs around $1,300 a square-foot. But, companies do it and Lloyd’s of London makes a profit along with employing around 900 people for administrative duties.
Afterward, we all went to lunch and were cut a little short when the fire alarm went off and were told to evacuate as quickly as possible, so Coffman and I headed to the Bank of England for our final tour of the day.
We arrived nearly an hour early, so we sat in the lobby and waited for the group to show up. We had seen the museum accidently a week ago, but this time were treated with a presentation of the bank in a cool dark room in comfortable chairs.
Needless to say, at least half of the roughly 15 people in our group fell asleep for portions of it, including myself. I felt bad for the presenter.
After a short nap, we all left the bank and headed our separate ways for dinner. Coffman and I went to IL Castelletto, which was horrible.
I now know why it was dead, but luckily it was across the street from a bookstore, which I had to go into.
The London Review Bookshop had every type of book imaginable and they were having a book signing that evening with writers who had been a volunteering in the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece several years ago.
I was interested and the lady at the counter told us about it and invited us.
After having a cup of coffee in the outside patio area we came back only to be told by the same lady that we needed a ticket, but they were all sold out.
However, I did meet the author I wanted to speak with accidently after telling her that she had a tag sticking out from her dress. She at least signed my book though.
At this point, I was ready for some reading time, so after returning to the hotel I went to Russell Square Park and spent part of the evening reading.
It was nice to relax, but after reading for two-hours the park bench was getting uncomfortable, so I went back and hit the sack.
A day of history, day sixteen
It was another amazing day in London and the weather has continued to be amazing with 70-degree days and sunshine, a rarity here in London.
This morning was a fast-paced two-hour tour of the British Museum and even I found it to go by at a very fast pace.
The museum had everything from the Rosetta Stone to the Cyrus Cylinder which is mentioned multiple times in the Bible. There was a heavy focus on the Christian faith, but at the same time took it mostly from a historical point of view.
Ice lead the tour throughout the museum with student’s pens writing down everything they could for a daily journal assignment. I restored to taking photographs of the more interesting topics.
After two hours though I was beginning to wilt and we wrapped up the tour and had lunch at the café there.
We had the afternoon free, so I took advantage of it to work on a news story about the trip, do laundry for the last time on the trip and spent time in Russel Square Park writing away.
It was nice to see people walking past and the entire park full of people. Back home it seems like the only way to get people outside is to burn the house down.
For dinner, Coffman and I went to downstairs and had a quick bite to eat before we all went to see Aladdin in theatres.
It was a great show that I was surprised to see everybody there including the history students.
The two-and-a-half-hour show was spectacular with every scene change possible and great acting.
There was one thing that made this show different than any other show I have seen and that was the ushers telling people to put down their cell phones during the show.
Two members of our group got reprimanded for having them out. I wish they would be stricter in the United States, but we are somehow by nature rule breakers.
After the show it was a short London Underground trip back to the hotel for bed, only to get ready for a long day of walking tomorrow.
Featured Image: University of Central Oklahoma students stand for a photograph outside of the British Museum on Tuesday.