Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Golden Disaster

I meant to go here today.
St Benets Abbey along the river broads.
Photo via Andrew Dunn's flickr account funny enough.

The Broads

I took a bus down to the Wroxham broads yesterday. You know, very cool, but the 2 hour boat ride was a teeensy bit long. Though I did learn a lotta fowl stuff from the tour guide (pun intended). Like the Greeve duck babies eat their feathers when they shed, and a whole lotta them, to line their stomachs. Then, when they start eating fish (whole fish, mind you), the bones won't puncture their stomachs because they've basically got a down lining. Huh. You learn things every day... and you learn useless things every day :)
The view from over the Wroxham Road Bridge. That boat on the right looked like the one I took my tour on,
and the tours left from the dock right there. 

pretty view of the Broads.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm off the Map

I biked off the map today. I've been using this fold out Norwich map that Thel had (one of those ones that makes me look like an extreme tourist as I pull it out on the street and unfold it, the size of a poster board). Anyways, I went on a post dinner rendezvous, planning on doing a little loop (for Granny, go to Heartsease roundabout by Thel's, take Plumstead East for a while, take a right, then loop back around on St Williams Way) and accidentally going WAY too far on Plumstead, and when I got out the map... I had passed its borders! I was into the unknown I guess

Ha, unfortunately I took the boring cautious route then, and turned right on around the way I came. It was almost ten at night and getting dark annndd I wanted to catch the Glastonbury rock festival on TV at 10pm (Beyonce was headlining, and she was oh so good. Gave me chills. and it was on TV. how does that even happen?).

But, on the ride, I did see a thatch roof bus stop. A new one there. And some fabulous wheat fields with a setting sun and mist trailing around. Fabulous view.

For church today, I went to Thorpe St. Andrew parish church. Great service and kind people. As soon as I walked in, this elderly lady (Virginia) took me under her wing and invited me to sit with her and her husband Jack who have lived in Norwich for 11 years now. She showed me the ropes of the service, telling me who everyone was and helping me find the right hymns. It was way cool to have service in the same church that Thel got married in. In 1953! Gotta lotta history, that place does.
Front of Thorpe St. Andrew Church
Thel herself gettin hitched in '53, with Geoffrey at her side and a bridesmaid on
the far left I believe.
There they are with the cake. Cute, eh?
It was the sung Eucharist service, and as such they had communion. The sacrament there is done a bit differently, the congregation having to go up for the sacrament and all.

 In the program, it says that you can go up just to get a blessing if you don't want to take communion-- you just take up your hymnal with you as a sign you only want a blessing. I had my hymn book in hand to do so, but perhaps the priest didn't notice... cause he handed me the Eucharist wafer to eat. I went ahead with it, as I know the importance of the sacrament and figured that would be better than making a scene. But then, he also had the cup of wine. I was put in a bit of a tight spot there. So, I just held my lips tight when the cup was to my mouth and the wine just touched. Man, I felt a fool. The symbolism was still there, and I didn't actually drink any wine, but I hope to never be in that spot again! Yikes.

Also went on Elm Hill today, this time knowing that it was Elm Hill! Very cool. Boasts that it is the oldest cobblestone street in Norwich.
Elm Hill. I gotta be honest, it was raining when I went down
the hill the first time, and those cobblestones are slippery!
Photo by Andrew Hurley
Hope to catch a boat tour around the Broads soon. We'll see how that turns out. Only got until this Friday with Thel, and then I'm off to London on Saturday morning.

love to all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

the view from Cromer

Macy and I took a 45 min train to Cromer beach today... it was well recommended! Dad liked it, the Norwich native that Macy spoke to on the train highly recommended it, and Ken spoke of it too. I was liking the idea of a beach and liked it even more when I found out it was only 6 pounds round trip. Outside the rail station, it was fabulous to see the ocean coming out all blue and sparkling on the horizon. The best part? The romantic sea side cliffs. I hope to try and find a good photo online, but we'll see... the internet that I have is a bit sub par for loading pictures.
The pier (with the theatre) and you can see the kiddy slides and stuff
 they had too.
This view wasn't too far from the pier, just a 15 walk
 or so down the beach. It was pretty too cause
 it was a bit misty when we saw it.
We walked up and down the beach and saw the pier (which had a theatre on it...) and all the brightly colored beach sheds that were lining the beach. As it was Macy's last day in England, we got some fish n chips from a local vendor (the Cromer crab was too expensive, dang it) who was quite chatty. While we ate, we helped him perfect his American accent and he helped us with our British (he said my accent was too posh, I needed to rough it up a bit :) He was saying how much he liked it in the states when he came (to Florida for Disney World) and how nice we were and trim the ladies were (one, why mention the ladies' figures? kinda creepy. and two, since when are Americans described as "trim"? p.s. I had a rhubarb and custard ice cream cone while there and it was absolutely delicious.

The other day, Macy and I were walking through Mousehold and these 2 young boys were being mischievous on the sidewalk, they were maybe 9 ish. When we walked up, one of the boys asked us if we would like to see his nipple. We said No Thanks and laughed a bit as we walked on. After hearing our accents, he asked quite excitedly, Are you American? We said yes and asked him his name (Gary) and he told us that he had NEVER met an American before! Fancy that. Was kinda exciting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Weekend

Macy is here at Thel's, safe and sound! hallelujah. We plan to go to Cromer Beach tomorrow (crossing our fingers for good weather!) and I only can hope for as good a time as we had at Brighton Beach a few weeks ago. Here's a few good uns to jog our memory...
Tara, Amy, and Emily headin into the water... looking oh so refreshing but no. too cold for anybody's good actually. eh, you win some, you lose some.

no this is not a photo I googled off the internet. my friend Jessica took it. hard to believe, yea?
Obvi, we were scared to try the jellied eel. and for good reason. why do they even sell this stuff?? They should give it to convicts in prison who've been really bad...
Brighton Beach, We love you. Really.
Today, I showed Macy around Norwich and I do hope she liked it. The castle was way cool- had an indoor well which I don't think I've ever seen before. Only a week and a day before Deanna and I are in Venice! Dang. how is this even happening? really.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A lil miracle

When I was out'n'about in the city yesterday, I locked up the bike at a rack in front of the cathedral. No biggie, everything fine, I coulda swore I put the key to the padlock safe in my book bag after locking up the bike. And yet, 5 hours or so later I come back to the bike only to find my key hanging by its lanyard on the bike's handle! I felt so ashamed, if someone stole the bike (it's Ken's, Thel's neighbor who is currently in Gibraltar on holiday... in the Mediterranean right below Spain) I would feel like real poo. A little miracle for sure!

Speaking of miracles, the cathedral. I know I can't stop talking about but I can't get over that place, I just love it, its got some kinda magical magnetic force around it or something I swear. I went on the tour yesterday, which was led by this 150 year old sweetheart of a man who walked with a cane. He said some good stuff.

1. There is no medieval stained glass as the Puritans came in around the 1600's or so and smashed it all to smithereens. Supposedly they regarded anything too fancy as idolatry, so they nipped that right in the bud. rude.
2. The foundations of the cathedral are not very deep, if at all (or so the guide said... though I don't know if I believe him, how is it possible for a cathedral to have no foundation?) as it is very near the river and if you dig down you'll just find water.
3. There is a stained glass window depicting Julian of Norwich, a religious lady way back in the day from Norwich, and was the first woman to write a book in English. Cool, eh? Way to represent, Julian. The book is called Revelations of Divine Love. Quite interesting, here is wikipedia's take on it you click here.

The best part about the cathedral was the cloisters, by far. Its this patch of green surrounded by beautiful stone walk ways with gothic arches all overhead and crisscrossed window panes that make me think of monks singing their hymns and walking along with their hands in their sleeves. I would upload a photo for you but the internet is a bit slow and tired today... I will soon. Its funny, I'm not the only one talking about cloisters today on the world wide web. If you click here you will go to a blog I look at sometimes... her post on June 22 is about the cloisters in New York! Ma, you and I have been there!

My friend from the program, Macy, is coming tonight to Thel's around midnight. Kinda a crazy time, but she flew into London today from Rome at 8:30pm and then still has to take a train to Thel's. So no other choice really. Thellie was really sweet about it, she's going to bed but didn't seem annoyed at all that Macy is coming in real late. Macy is only staying until Friday, so hopefully I can keep her entertained with the things I've found in Norwich so far. Planning on going to the castle with her tomorrow.

Love to all, xoxo

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Cathedral and I are Best Friends

Norwich is a treat. Especially when I can cruise around the pretty views while on my bicycle! Thellie`s neighbor, Ken, is a real doll and let me borrow his bicycle which is an absolute dream. I rode down to the city today to do a bit of gift shopping and the weather was just perfect (for once! it has been kinda rainy and cool).

Last night, I rode up Mousehold (Granny, this was for you. I couldn't wait to see the road where we coulda lost you to that fighter jet and the heath that you and grandpa walked in when you were dating) on the bike of course! I was struggling up a hill in the heath, but when I got to the top, boy was there just a great view of the city. Gran, I can see why you guys went up there a lot! it was kinda romantic!
Here's what I saw at the top of the hill. quite a lil reward for my hard work!
 Ken drove Thel and I to the beach at Great Yarmouth yesterday. Gotta be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first cause Ken described it as "Las Vegas" which lets be real, I did not come to freakin beautiful Norwich to see Vegas. But... it was different. There were casinos and all sorts of shops with little trinkets, but I rather liked it. Had a small town beach feel to it (almost as good as Brighton beach which is saying a lot, I loved that place). And the beach was sandy and not rocky! Which I haven't seen in England yet. And in the water were quite a few wind generators. They were quite beautiful in a way, modern meets traditional in a granola sorta way.

The wind farm off the beach of Yarmouth. The website to learn more is here, if you wanna click
The pier at Yarmouth. a little showy, but hey.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Operation Norwich: SUCCESS!

After a sweaty hour riding the tube and lugging my 985758575 lb suitcase around London, a 3 hour bus ride, and a taxi ride, I made it to Norwich without a hitch! I was just a touch nervous about it, thats all.

Thel and I took a bus to Sainsbury`s today. Was lovely, but I think I know that store like the back of my hand now. Thel, Ken, and I are going to Diss tomorrow and meeting with one of Ken`s friends who used to be  a RSM (Royal Seargeant Major I think is what that comes out to) for London. AKA one of those red-jacketed guards with the funny bearskin hats (I believe they are still made out of bearskin... I'll ask :)

I`m at the library posting this, about a 10 min walk from Thel`s house. Pretty convenient, eh?

xoxo, han

PS an edit to this post after talking with said ex RSM... the hats ARE still made out of bear skin (Canada Black bears) and are "hoovered" regularly as he put it. Vacuumed you know to get all the dust out :) Sweet man, Steve was his name, also gave me a Queen's Coat of Arms patch and pin that he would wear on his coat sleeve! I felt like a 5 year old on Christmas day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

travel plans

NOTICE: Granny, small change in plans, I waited too long to book the train and it went up to 44 pounds as it is the day before now. No Good! Therefore, I booked a coach bus from Victoria Coach Station to Norwich bus station (just a bit farther than the train station, but not too bad, internet told me 14 min from Thel's) for 8 quid. So I will be comin in by bus, and then catchin a cab to Auntie's. I will call her tomorrow morning to tell her! But wanted to let ya know too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Playin Catch Up

It was the last official day of the program today (meaning exams were today and people start flying out tomorrow and continue leaving till Wednesday). Breaks my heart a little bit. These girls (and boys) have been my little European family which I love! Eaten at pubs together, lost on the Tube together, acted like obnoxious tourists together, getting pumped about the royal wedding together, eating jellied eel together, and the like. I'm sure gonna miss em. London has done me good. Norwich has got some big shoes to fill (which I'm sure it will-- dang I'm pumped to see my Auntie Thellie). The plan is to take a train (15 pounds is what I found, how does that sound to you Granny? A good price?) on Wednesday to get to Auntie's house at around 3 or 4 ish.

In the last week of London, there has been a flurry of activity-- making sure we see all the things we wanted to see! I've heard quite a few of "Oh, I gotta run to Sainsbury's one more time to get candy for my family" or "I gotta see _____ broadway play before I go." 

We have sure made our rounds this past week. 
Monday: class, a lecture by George Chittock who was about 5 years old or so during the London Blitz in 1940-41 during the war. He was telling us about what it was like, the bomb shelters that families had in their backyards, how he remembers staying in his family's shelter one night after a rainfall the previous day and the shelter had 6 in of rain chillin on the bottom of the shelter (I'm sure only adding to the ambiance of bomb noises for 12 hours during the night when their "friends," as George called the Germans, were bombing London). 

Tuesday: Noon tea at Kensington Gardens right by Kensington Palace. My first experience with herbal tea... I gotta be honest... perhaps its an acquired taste. I had blackcurrant, jasmine, and vanilla herbal tea. It was this lovely rose color, and I thought it was gonna be good when I sipped it, but then when I swallowed came the bitter herby taste. The color was tricky, it was just a beautiful blush! I kept trying it thinking it would get better. Unfortunately... no luck. But the cucumber sandwiches and raisin crumpets were to die for. That night, we got to go to the play Mousetrap, a murder mystery. It has been running since 1952! It was a great play--  kept me interested the whole 2 hours and the set didn't change once! At one point, it was gettin pretty suspenseful and someone in the audience screamed! ha, only later did I find out it was one of the girls in our program.

Wednesday: Trip to the London Temple. Da bomb.

Thursday: Cricket Match at Lord's Stadium. Middlesex Panthers v. Essex Eagles. P.S. Cricket games last FOREVER. But cool though, a bit like baseball but with two batters goin simultaneously and only two bases (called wickets) that the batters run between while the ball is bein caught by the other team in the outfield. A little fun fact, the panthers' colors were pink! I feel like that would not normally happen in the states. Can you see basketball happenin in pink jersey's? 

Friday: The Tower of London happened (about time, right Granny? :) It was way sweet. Got to see the crown jewels, which were ah-mazing. Though perhaps Britain is monopolizing a bit on the diamonds, they've got the First Star of Africa and the Second! Both the biggest diamond and the second biggest. One in the scepter (530.2 carats, thats right you read it right, five hundred and freakin thirty! Like the size of a plum) and one in the Imperial State Crown (more like a cherry!) We went on a a conveyor belt to see all the jewels.. and I conveyed by three times, yea they were beauties. I didn't realize there were so many crowns! One for coronation only, one to wear right after coronation and at the opening of Parliament, one especially made for when there were joint sovereigns  and they needed more than one crown, one made for the King (I can't remember which one off the top of my head now...poo) when he went to be crowned in India as the crown jewels are not permitted to leave the country, and a few others as well. It would never do to only have one crown, of course. 

Also saw the lucky ravens. An unusual tradition here I thought, for centuries it has been considered very unlucky if ever all the ravens and birds were to leave the Tower. Therefore, quite a few kings back, they decreed that ravens should be kept at the Tower at all time. There are 6 there now, with their wings clipped and a special Raven Master to look after them to make sure they don't leave, and 2 backup ravens caged up juusst in case.
That's an old wall there in the Tower of London enclosure... to the right is the 'Bloody Tower' and behind the wall on the left you can see the cage for the extra ravens.
Saw the chopping block they used for Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife. yikes.

Saturday: Tour of the Houses of Parliament. This. was. awesome. The way the tour guide was describing Henry VIII was fascinating and a way more positive perspective than anything I've heard before. He was saying how self sacrificing Henry VIII was, that to divorce Catherine of Aragon (his firstie that he married because she was his brother's widow) and to marry Anne Boleyn was the move that prevented a Civil War from happening in England. That he HAD to have a legitimate heir or else all hell would break loose. I just never heard ole Henry described in that light before.

The House of Commons was way cool too. The MP's (thats what our guide called the Members of Parliament!) have eight minutes to vote on a proposed bill. Sometimes, the MP's will be out and about when it is time to vote. So in all the pubs around the House of Parliament they have a Division Bell (the voting is called the Division, as it divides the "aye" voters from the "nay" voters) that rings when the votes need to be cast. The police bobbys apparently halt all traffic around the House too for 8 minutes to allow the MP's (also our guide called em 'suitors' as they all wear suits!) to run in from their 'liquid lunches' or pint of beer, and cast their vote. How fascinating! Our guide also said that the 'aye' voters or the Aye's go to the right and the No's to the left when they come into the house, he called this the Picasso Connection. haha pretty clever, eh?

Saw the Trooping of the Colors for the Queen's birthday on a tv in a pub. Loved it. Also went to the Cabinet War Museum, which was just right-o cool. It houses the basement rooms that Winston Churchill used as meeting rooms (and sometimes living quarters) for his cabinet during the war. It was too dangerous to be holding meetings in Houses of Parliament, so they moved to this more remote and more un-obvious location. Churchill was so interesting. Always with a cigar in his mouth, daring and likable, but a bit scary. There was a quote by one of his many typist secretary's Elizabeth Nell, it was written in her memoirs that
"When typing, it was hard to understand what he was always saying- he had a slight speech impediment with his "s" and he always had a cigar in his mouth. But, sometimes what he said was so interesting that you want to stop and just listen. [when he was hard to understand] you could ask him what he said if you're brave and prepared for a put-down. Or you could put what you thought he said and hope he didn't roar at you later."

I do apologize about the length :) I'll add pics in a bit. love to all.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Take a load of this

Edinburgh, Scotland. The pathway we hiked up to Arthurs Seat when we were up in Scotland.
All misty and dewy. 

Friday, June 10, 2011


The top three walks:
1. Southwark/Bankside (click here to go to the post about it)
A few things contributed to make this numero uno! First, the weather! Sunny and fab with a breeze, pitch perfect temperature: a touch too cool in the shade, but oh so warm and springy with the sun. Also, I loved the surprise element of the Southwark Cathedral. When I went inside, I lost my breath for a second, cause the sun was streamin in through the windows, and the stone crossed ceiling was just so Gothic, and the orchestra was playing something magic. It also was nice to be by the Thames, makes it feel fancy.

2. Regents Park (click here to see)
Again, the weather here, just spot on! And I was in some dang good company (thank you Lorraine and Sydnie!). There was plenty of fowl entertainment (all the ducks were hilarious) and the fields just kinda sparkled at you, and all the greenery was so nice. Indeed, on this walk, we stumbled on a gem of a church also, St. Marks. And to think we weren't even gonna go inside (we weren't, until we discovered the door ajar and our curiosity just got the best of us). But the stained glass windows were heartwarming and the space felt so old and full of history!

3. The City (click here to take a peek)
This one made #3 because of all the architecture. Sheesh, Londy town knows how to do its building. The Bank of England was so grand! Huge pillars and such, and its own museum, and those HUGE Alice in Wonderland like doors. Shelisa and I did get quite a bit lost. But hey, when in London getting lost is good because you find things like the Lloyds building. This building was something else, like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory gone evil or a surrealist painting of our industrial society. Loved the surprise it gave us.

Maybe that's the common element, I loved all the walks where we unearthed something fabulous. I gotta admit, sometimes it was a touch annoying to HAVE to complete these walks, but once I went on them I absolutely never regretted them and always found something new and awesome to discover. I just had to make sure and budget in some extra time for the walks to go off the beaten path a little bit.

WALKING TOUR #10 Soho to Trafalgar Square

Amy and I led this walk together, it was just the pair of us that completed it. Soho Square was a cute little park near the Jersey Boys Theatre (that I went to a bit earlier!) that had some touching art. Take a lil peek. Amy and I interpreted it as interactive art.
The plaque said... the nudity symbolizes being stripped from inhibitions and bringing all of yourself to society. Also, this sculpture was called Interaction, hence Amy and I interacting

Trafalgar Square is also a treat. Its got some stunner views of the National Gallery (home to some swell Monet's and Turner's as well as a clincher Da Vinci piece).The ambiance of the square is neat too... bustling with people all the time, a proud statue of Horatio Nelson who led a great naval victory for Britain during the Napoleonic Wars (Britain lost no ships, while the Franco Spanish side lost a whoppin 22), and good shopping. The feeling is hip yet cultural, think romantic comedy movie set in Europe.
Trafalgar Square, with National Gallery there with the pediment and columns.
This photo is from google, but it shows exactly what we saw (I didn't get a pic of the Nelson statue myself!!)

Amy and I struttin our stuff in front of the Soho Square sign. We had to ask a few disgruntled  locals to take this picture, Amy's camera button proved a bit too complicated for the average joe


Walking along the Thames river, right by the London Eye and Aquarium, and right up to the Somerset House, all was beautiful and breezy. Walkers were Tara, Shelisa, and myself. And shhooot, the London Eye is way bigger than I thought! It's like a Ferris Wheel, but except 2 people sitting in each carriage, its enough room for like 15.
Tara and I lovin the view off the Westminster Bridge
The EYE! it was supposed to be a temporary establishment... however it was too popular so they left it  up!
I haven't yet walked on this side of the Thames, so it was cool to get a good look at it from the other side. There were quite a few swanky looking restaurants, with dressed up sophisticated looking people everywhere, which I was loving to watch! In fact, Tara and I plan to get "all gussied up" and work the scene tomorrow night there, so hopefully its just as hoppin tomorrow night.

These pictures are NOT a foreshadowing of my and Tara's sophistication that will happen tomorrow night. FYI.
An over sized grass couch by the Thames... I'm not sure why exactly it was there, but cool? yep.
Are we immature? uhhh... 
Walking Group photo! the gang. This lion was riiight when we got of the Westminster Bridge

WALKING TOUR #8 Bloomsbury

Mollie and I jointly led this walk! It was just us two, but it was nice to walk in the rain and chit chat and see all the "____ who accomplished ____ lived here" plaques on the houses.
Mollie and I in front of a fountain in Bloomsbury Square
An example of one of the famous plaques. Pretty cool, eh? Dicken's flat was pretty nice too.
I gotta be honest, the walk wasn't too eventful really, but it was real nice and relaxing. We passed by the University of London (NOT London College like I said before! Thanks granny), very nice, and a few other things. But the jaunt was cool as it was rainin and misty the whole time.
We saw Handel St. on the walk, so named as Handel performed his Messiah on this street to raise money for the orphans in Foundling Hospital.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I gotta Handel on it

A few more tidbits from the tour of Westminster Abbey a few days ago. There were sure a bumload of tourists in there, but we all had our little headphones on, listenin to the audio tour, all in our own spell bound worlds kinda entranced by the architecture of it all. I just loved it when the audio tour would play choir music in the background and you could look around with this powerful music praise in the background.

Speaking of music, George Frideric Handel is buried in the walls of Westminster. On his statue was written "I Know that my Redeemer liveth." and that was the piece of music that was etched on the papers in the statue as well.
CNN photo of the memorial to Handel which sits atop his tomb
We couldn't go into the cloisters at the abbey, but the grounds were sure pristine and beautifully kept. The hallways around it were my fav. With the scalloped edges on the windows and the crisscrossed iron work in the windows that created diamonds for you to see the green grass square through. I was just hoping a choir would burst out in song... and you know, the boys filed in a bit later to the choir seats to rehearse (I assume anyways!) for Evensong that was gonna happen in about 30min. Huh. What luck.
The halls around the cloister.
Photo by Adrian Fletcher
And if you want a little background choir music to get you in the mood, click here to go to a YouTube video of the Kings Chapel Choir  at Cambridge rehearsing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Da Vinci is Da Bomb

There is something a bit special about connecting with art. Art can be timeless- like how students are still studying Michelangelo and Da Vinci who drew and sculpted in the 1400-1500s. When I saw this in the National Gallery today, I died inside and floated up to heaven.
Da Vinci's The Virgin and Child with St anne and St John the Baptist

Monday, June 6, 2011

Waltzin to Westminster

I'll keep it short and sweet as I don't have much time! Took a tour of Westminster today and boy, was it reverential. Even with all us obnoxious tourists! The Westminster is just so tall and skinny as opposed to wide open space like St. Paul's Cathedral.
photo from here

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reallllly Modern Art

Sculpture at the Saatchi Gallery...
Berlinde De Bruycker as artist.
Real horse skin and hair used! but no eyes or hoofs real
or otherwise, just the fur.

All Saatchi photos from their website which you can go to here and see 
all the art works if you're brave!
A sculpture in the Saatchi Gallery! Called "Blind leading the Blind"
by Peter Buggenhout. Whats crazy to me is that on the wall
with the title plaque, in addition to the title and artist, it would list
the materials of the sculpture materials. This one had horse hair, polyurethane,
blood, and tar as some of its materials. Thats right, blood. hard core or what!
 The Saatchi Gallery is not for the faint of heart! I tagged along with a few girls to the hip and modern gallery, and it sure was "thinking outside the box" art. My thoughts of the "Blind leading the Blind" sculpture? It looks like something brought up from the bottom of the Thames... haha. but seriously it did. Perhaps its a little suggestion on society... our leaders don't REALLY know whats goin on, so its like the blind leading the blind, and look what the result is: pollution, war, etc. Kind of dark though...
Sure is beautiful on the outside... and then it gets freaky
on the inside :)
beauty of a photo from CGP Grey, via Wikipedia
This was my fav exhibition! It took up a whole room mind you. You go out on this little landing to view it from above and I coulda sworn I was looking down into another room. Then, I realized it was a wall to wall puddle of oil (I shoulda known, as it smelled like a rubber tile in there) with such a smooth opaque mirror surface, that it reflected the lights and windows on the ceiling. It was crazy cool. Something so smooth and pristine and perfect was actually reflecting something already in existence.
Artist: Richard Wilson, who also does other site specific oil works...
This one was nuts. Literally, a car wrapped around a pole. My question
is... where did they get the car? was it pristine before they crunched
On Thursday night, some other study abroaders went to see Wicked the musical (some for the 2nd time! Yes it was that good!) But since I had already seen it and I still wanted to see Jersey Boys, I went ahead and did that! It was one of the. best. decisions! It's about how Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons started up singin under a streetlamp (so they say...:) But the voices and harmonies were just spot on, especially lil Frankie's falsetto! haha I was way impressed. There was some Jersey language mind you...
photo from the Jersey Boys- London website. If you click on the
link you can see the cast that performed! They were just fabulous.
I was walking home from the show and almost home (it was about 10:30pm or so I think) when this man (mid to late 30's, nice looking) on a bicycle stopped me and the convo went a little something like this:

"I hate to trouble you, but I wanted to tell you, you gave me a smile earlier on the subway and I just wanted to
           thank you."
"Oh! haha... not a problem! I'm glad I could help you a little bit." (me thinking, awww, sweet stranger man      
           needed a little encouragement and was havin a rough day)
"Yea, Really, I hope I didn't trouble you too much, but I just felt something when you smiled-- and sometimes
           that just helps. So I just had to follow you home from the subway and say thank you."
"Oh... well thank you. I hope you have a good night!" (mayday MAYDAY! he did WHAT??)
" I was wondering, I would love to be a positive man in your life."
"Ohh nooo... you don't need to do that!" (A Positive man?? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN??) "Alright, well you have a good one, ok?." (I make a break for it... pretty quickly!)

C'mon! What is that? It was very sweet, until he mentioned that he followed me home, on  bicycle... and the Tube is like a 7 or 8 min walk from where he stopped me! I'm sure he's a well-meaning man, but if you say those words to a stranger, much less a woman stranger, that is bad form!

On a better note, Wednesday, a few of us got 5 pound groundling (standing tickets next to the stage) tickets to Much Ado About Nothing, a Shakespeare comedy at the Globe. I gotta be honest, I'm not a huge Shakespeare fan, but this show (and the actors and actresses) were just so good, and funny, and interacted splendidly with the audience. The wit of it was great, and Shakespeare's dialogue was just perfectly clever and done just so well by the actors/tresses.
you can see the goundlings (people leaning on the stage)... and this was
what we did, except we were in the front of the stage, so very cool. This
photo is not from the play we actually saw... but it lets you see what
our view looked like a bit!
photo here
Benedict and Beatrice (the best actors/tresses!). They were just
Photo by Pete Jones
Eve Best, who played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, was also in
the movie The King's Speech! She played Edward VIII's (King George's
brother, Granny correct me if I'm wrong :) love interest, who distracted
him from being a good King (not that she was the only reason mind you).
photo by Laurie Sparham via Mail Online website

Friday, June 3, 2011

A nice smattering

Had just a lovely day. Went to the British Library first... a more modern building than most of what we've seen so far!
The British Library and its courtyard
But it was beautiful walking out of the station (St. Pancras/ King's Cross) as we passed by the Pancras Hotel which was eye candy for sure.
The hotel is the big un there, it has King's Cross train station somewhere
around there too, so I THINK that's why its so big in the back there,
but that is just speculation since the Tube stop is called St. Pancras
SLASH King's Cross. But the hotel is a beauty, I read somewhere
that it is like 250 pound a night!
photo via The History Blog
Another view of the hotel from street level.
London, you build beautiful stuff, thats for certain.
The library was great as it housed some really special documents. Like a handwritten New Testament in Greek, commissioned and I believe written, by Constantine in 995. A gold leaf Qur'an, produced in Cairo, from 1304. A Gutenberg printed bible. 2 copies of the Magna Carta (I did already see a Magna Carta in Lincoln, but to distribute the document of course they had wrote several copies, and somehow the British Library got their hands on two-- seems kinda greedy if you ask me :). The Library also housed the original handwritten sheet music from Handel's Messiah and the lyrics of Beatles songs as they were being produced, the song words written on the back of scrap paper or their son's birthday card (that was Ringo when he wrote "A Hard Day's Night"). Interesting that Beatles songs and the Gutenberg Bible are housed in the same exhibition!

Wimbledon the city was beautiful (and very warm!). Wimbledon, for tennis, was cool too to see the grounds and the places where all the tennis pros walk (and will walk come June 20th for the Wimbledon Open). One of the girls in the group, Tara, her dad was a profesh tennis player and played there quite a few years ago... so that was quite fun for her, and we just tagged along and loved it.
Obviously an aerial shot I didn't take! Thank you google images. But
the main stadium you see is the Centre Court, which is the most
prestigious to play at!
Needless to say, the strawberries and cream that Wimbledon is know for (for whatever reason!) definitely delivered. The strawberries were perfectly ripe and the cream (not whipped cream mind you, just like a thick milk type cream) was buttery and smooth.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Care for a Jellied Eel?

We went down to Brighton Beach today. This weekend was our "Free Travel" Weekend where we had free reign to travel outside the country if we liked. Many people went to France or Rome, but about 7 or so of us decided to stay in Londy town and hit up the places we haven't been yet. So, we took a 9 pound (round trip) train to Brighton Beach today. It was just surprisingly fabulous. Beautiful beach (rocky and not sandy) and comfy and chic lounge chairs, the Brighton Pier amusement park with the beautiful beach backdrop, and the sunny and low 70's weather that made my heart melt a little bit.
These are the chairs we lounged in! They did cost 2 pounds
for the day... but hey, what can you do.
Photo thanks to Ethel Davies