Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 2!

Hello all!

I've officially been in London for two weeks and I feel like time has flown by very quickly. It's probably because of all the fun things I did this week!

Tara and I, and our other house mate Akiko, did, in fact, jet off the the Thames River Festival last Sunday and it was incredible. There were so many people there and so many fun things to see. We spent the whole day walking along the South Bank, eating incredible street food, watching live performances, and shopping.

The crowds at the festival

My first crepe since being back in Europe! I was very excited.. Filled with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese.

Walking across Tower Bridge!

Once we made it across the bridge, we got into our position to watch the Night Parade. The parade was great and lasted about two hours. It was filled with so many different floats of so many different cultures. It was a great way to get a taste of just how diverse London actually is. After the parade, we found a small Spanish bar where we enjoyed tea and sangria before watching the fireworks. Fireworks were shot off from different barges floating on the river, and it was the best fireworks display I have ever seen.

My roommate Tara and I watching the display

Monday was quite uneventful as I was very tired from all the walking the day before. I had class at 9:30 and a brief meeting at 11. After that I headed straight home and relaxed the night away.

Tuesday was a wonderful and one of my favorite days since I've been in London. I had class in the morning and then a very large break before class again at 3:30, so I decided to spend my free time in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Not only were the parks absolutely gorgeous, but it was incredible to just wander around with no where particular to go. I ended up sitting on a bench and sketching the Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park for over an hour, just enjoying my surroundings. It was a nice change from the fast-paced lifestyle on the tubes every morning and on our excursions with class.

Duckies in Kensington Gardens

Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens

Dipping my toes in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park (don't worry, they encouraged splashing around in it!)

The Serpentine Bridge

Wednesday was a very long day, but another great one. My day started with a walking tour with my London: Biography of a City class. After walking around some very historical buildings and districts, we arrived at The Monument, erected in memory of the Great Fire of London. We had the option of making our way up the 311 stairs to the top, and I couldn't say no. Making your way up 311 stairs on a spiral stair case is not easy, but the panoramic views of London once you made it to the top were worth it.

After some more class, it was finally time to head to Shakespeare's Globe to see Much Ado About Nothing. I have been looking forward to getting inside the Globe since I arrived in London, and it was a surreal experience. Not to mention the play was absolutely brilliant. It reminded me why Much Ado is my favorite Shakespearean comedy, and why I love the theatre.

Standing outside with my ticket! In line for the standing yard. In Shakespeare's day, the yard was where the peons and poorer people stood. Today, it's the best way to experience the Globe.

With some help from Tara I ended up pushing my way to the front row. This was my view of the stage. It really doesn't get any better than that.

On Thursday there was more class and it was back to the Globe at night to see Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus. We had seats this time but I made the decision to stand in the yard again. Once inside, I made it to the second row behind two shorter girls so I was happy. The stage looked completely different, and we watched another amazing performance from a very talented group of actors.

View from the second row.

Friday was another relaxation day. I was exhausted after all the standing from the previous two nights, so I decided to stay in Harrow. Tara and I managed to get out for lunch and do some grocery shopping before heading back to the house where we had dinner with Steve and Jenny and watched Notting Hill in our room. The next morning we were up bright and early to head off to Brighton for the day!

Tara and I caught our 8:00AM bus with our friends Britany and Caitlin and in two hours time we were dropped off near the Brighton Pier. Although cold and very windy, I loved Brighton and I'm so glad we went. We spent the day walking around antique shops and outlet malls, eating fabulous food (including fish and chips), and walking along the pebbled beach. It was an amazing escape from fast paced London, and we already plan to go back sometime in the future.

The Brighton Pier!

Tara, Britany, and I

Us girls on the beach.

Brighton Marina

And so that brings us to Sunday! I've been doing homework and writing postcards and letters all day. I don't mind spending today at home seeing as there are large closures on many of the tube lines and it's raining outside. I do plan on watching the Chargers play the Patriots tonight if this website that was recommended to me will actually work so I'm looking forward to that!

Before I go, another new word I learned this week:
Ice Lollies= popsicles!

Until next week,

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