Tuesday, 12 November 2013

London: Take 3

Wow! This past week has been super busy and this upcoming week is only going to be just as busy, if not busier. It was nice not having classes for reading week, since it gave me a lot of extra time to work on a paper that was due today. I really needed to get it done before the weekend though, since I was in London and obviously not doing any homework.

It was definitely different going to London with our group, as opposed to me just going by myself. But the good thing was, Bob really just let us loose in the city and we could do whatever we wanted. Free hotel and money for food! What could be better! Friday night we went to a play in the West End, the Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. I really liked it, even though it was kind of depressing. It’s a satirical play about Hitler and how his rise to power could have been prevented, and the ending was really powerful.

Saturday I took Sarah on my official London tour!!! We had an excellent time. We got up early and walked everywhere. It was tiring but totally worth it! We walked past St. Pauls on our way to the Tower of London, so she could see that. And then the added bonus of hanging out with me in London: “Hey Sarah, want to go to Diagon Alley?” We were right by Leadenhall Market, where they filmed Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, so I took her there too. The Tower of London was, of course, amazing. Sarah took her homework seriously and not only did she ace her quiz, she also got bonus points!!! We were there super early, so before we went on our Yeoman Warder tour we were able to wander around basically by ourselves. Our tour was probably my favorite that I’ve had so far, he was hilarious and great and just all around awesome. 

After that we did my Tower of London tour stuff, and then walked across Tower Bridge to the south bank of the Thames. I made sure Sarah saw Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and we stopped and got pizza at this great place in Gabriel’s Wharf, the same place Sigrid and I ate at on my first ever day in London! It was just as delicious as I remembered. Then we went across Westminster Bridge, making sure to take pictures at my preferred place, and saw Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Then it was up Whitehall and to Trafalgar Square for the National Portrait Gallery! Back home. It was wonderful.

Sarah and I basically decided that we’re going to live in London together in a flat with our dogs. We’ll go on runs by the Thames together but have our headphones in, and take our dogs on long walks to all the parks. This weekend, more than ever, I really felt like I belonged in London. I have a feeling I’ll end up there someday.

Saturday night our group had another play, the Potsdam Quartet, in a smaller theatre near Piccadilly Circus. I really liked this show too! It was about a quartet playing for the major players at Potsdam. There was a Russian soldier whose only lines were in Russian, and I understood almost all of what he said! Saturday night Kailey, Sarah, and I went to this great little place called the Cider Tap. It’s super small, but the cider was excellent and delicious and it was such a cool place!

Sunday I went to the British Museum. Holy shit, so many asian tourists. And large tour groups. It got annoying. It was really cool to just wander around and look at stuff, since I didn’t have anything in particular I really wanted to see besides the Rosetta Stone. Peter met up with me there, and it was great to see him once more before we head to Wales together in a month! It was such a gorgeous day on Sunday that I decided I couldn’t stay inside, so I walked to the Mall and Buckingham Palace. I had some issues getting there, since I kept finding all these used bookstores on the way. I would walk out of one, and then two stores down there would be another one right there!!! It was amazing!!! They were all super cool, quintessential used bookstores. Really small and cramped, tall ceilings with lots of shelves, and semi-creepy basements that had even more books. It was only with great restraint that I ended up buying just two books. That’s the amazing thing about London! There’s so much to see and do off the beaten track of classic touristy stuff. I’m so lucky I got to do that and I had time to explore.

I did finally make it to Buckingham Palace, and spent some time in St. James’ Park. It was Remembrance Sunday, and I accidentally stumbled upon a parade of veterans (I think) laying a wreath of poppies at the WWI memorial. It was really touching and I bawled my eyes out, I don’t really know why. Everyone here wears poppies (you can get them pretty much anywhere, just by donating some change or something) and it was really emotional in a unifying way to see so many people, especially in London.

St. James Park

Monday was super laid back, since I didn’t have too much to do. Our train to Notts left at 3:15pm, so I didn’t want to try to do too much. I went to the Museum of London, which was free and it was cool, but probably not something I’d do again now that I’ve already seen it. Also there were a ton of little kids on field trips and they were loud and obnoxious. Thanks to a tip from Peter, I jipped Sainsburys out of 20p when I was buying rolls!!! At the self-checkout, you say you’re buying a bakery item that is cheaper than what you’re actually buying!!! Got rolls but said they were cheaper! Saved 20p!!! Thug life! Fuck da police! After that, it was back to the train station, back to Notts, and straight to my bed for a resting period.

This week is going to be even busier than next week: I actually have classes this week, including Bob’s class tonight. Wednesday night I have Russian lessons, Thursday I have a meeting for volunteering in the late afternoon and then we’re seeing Richard III Thursday night. And then I’m headed to Edinburgh on Friday for the weekend!!! I’ve got a lot to do, lots of practicing and flashcards (Polish) and reading and preparing a seminar presentation (Russian culture). I feel like I’m going to have literally zero time this week, but hopefully I can make it through and head off to Edinburgh without a lot of stress! I’m really excited to explore the city on my own—it’s my first solo trip to a new city (I’ve been to London by myself, but technically I had already been there before), so I’m a little nervous. But the best part about traveling by yourself is that then you can do whatever you want!!!

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