London: the City of Literature

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Team Member: Mira Koussa – Codename: Lil’ Sis

                                    Ghia Koussa – Codename: Ghayoush

London is one of those cities that you must visit…no excuses. I’ve read so much Shakespeare that I practically talk in Renaissance slang. Jane has become a household name – no need to mention her last name, everyone knows which Jane I’m referring to. I can quote the Prime Minister’s words in Love Actually, verbatim; “The country of….David Beckham’s right foot”. During my 2014 Christmas break, the stars were finally aligned for me to make my journey to one of the most historic and iconic cities in the world.

London was briefly shown in the first Mission: Impossible installment, the red bus passing behind Ethan Hunt under the rain; and extensively filmed in during the events of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Ethan Hunt has been tracking a shadow organization called The Syndicate, who is responsible for many terrorist attacks around the world. With the IMF still under investigation due to the events in Ghost Protocol, Hunt is on his own. His clues lead him to London, where he makes contact with another agent, only to be gassed by The Syndicate. The chase takes him to Austria and Morocco before returning to London. Beautiful shots of the Big Ben, the London Eye, the Parliament, the Thames river, and Benji (Simon Pegg) is taken hostage and loaded with explosives, sits in a cafe near the Tower of London.

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Before heading to London, I tried to make a list of monuments that I wanted to see; The Globe, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Hyde Park; jus to name a few. As my list became bigger, I realized that I wanted to see every inch of the city, walk every street, try every cafe, and visit all monuments. And on couple of days during my stay, I woke up in the morning, picked up coffee and a sandwich, and walked the streets of London. I wandered without the constraints of maps nor time, lingering in some places more than others, taking detours, and bumping into places from history by mere luck.

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The highlight of my trip was seeing the Tower Bridge and crossing it. I love crossing bridges around the world – for both aesthetic and symbolic reasons (I should definitely write a post about crossing bridges). The Tower Bridge is the one monument I have always connected London to. The most unexpected thing to happen was crying in front of Big Ben! My first stop on the Red Bus tour was the Big Ben. The moment I took the scene in, I cried – perhaps because the city means so much to me, because I had read countless books about it in literature and history. The point is I cried. In between these two moments, I had many smaller ones – Breakfast at Buckingham, which entailed having my cappuccino and croissant in front of the palace; an encounter with the Bard at the Globe, a traditional English breakfast (vegetarian) at a conventional English place, tea at Harrods, and a historic walk through the Tower of London. I meandered in the underground city endlessly, trying to find my way through the labyrinth underneath. I brought in the new year by attending the Christmas village and riding fun rollercoasters. I bought many books – for souvenir purposes you see – back home.

When I saw London on the big screen, I was ecstatic. I loved every shot of it because it brought back memories of my trip and of the first movie in the series.

For other cities, click on the image below

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