Friday, November 18, 2011

In Which I Stalk William Shakespeare

Over reading week I visited my friends in London. And I was the ultimate tourist. My trip started on the train. I had the pleasure of spending the second half of my train ride sitting next to a girl who felt the need to talk on her phone the whole entire time. As interesting as her weight problems were (apparently she had just stopped eating "American sized portions") I really wished her phone would run out of battery. When I arrived a Kings Cross Christy was there to pick me up and take me around the city. She even gave me my very own Oyster card. I dropped my stuff off at her place and then we went out to see Driving Miss Daisy. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! It stared Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones. After getting over the fact that I was watching the voice of Mufasa and Darth Vader in person I sat back and enjoyed the play. I will say that I wrote a glowing review of it for class. We went to bed early after that in order to prepare for the next day. It was to be my main day for sight seeing.
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The day started by meeting up with Albert! Yay! Then we began with Westminster Abbey. We took the whole guided audio tour. It was really interesting. I especially liked Poets Corner. And that is where I started stalking Shakespeare. He has quite an impressive memorial there. 
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After that we walked around to see some of the other sights. This included Big Ben...
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The street where the Prime Minister lives...
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The Household Cavalry Museum. The guards don't smile here either.
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Nelson's Column...
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We even ran quickly into The National Gallery.
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Then we met up with Hannah for lunch. It was so exciting to see her! She showed us around the LSE campus. The library there is insane. It's even busier than the library at St. Andrews and that library is full of stressed out students. I miss the calm atmosphere of the Knox library. We made sure to do a Kappas abroad picture and then we had to part ways because Hannah was off to Wales. Such a jetsetter. 
Next Albert and I wandered around Kensington Garden looking for the statue of Peter Pan. Story time! The first time I knew I wanted to visit London was when Emmie and I watched the Mary-Kate and Ashley movie Winning London. One of the twin's love interests took them to that Peter Pan statue and probably said some really poorly written dialogue. That is when I knew I had to go to London. Go ahead, judge away. Anyway, due to my poor sense of direction, we went the complete opposite direction from the statue and couldn't find it. I was so bummed. But don't worry, there is a happy ending to this.
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We ran over to The Globe to continue my stalking of Shakespeare. I fulfilled a childhood dream and bought a poster! All in one trip!
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I ended my day with the ultimate tourist attraction. The Lion King! It was so good! Then I managed to take the tube all by myself. I made sure to put my best "I'm so bored because I do this everyday" face on and headed back to Christy's.
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Wednesday was spent on a day trip to Stratford Upon Avon. That is when my stalking of Shakespeare became serious. We started at his place of birth. I cannot tell you how much I freaked out when I walked in the door. I'm pretty sure I looked at Albert and said "Shakespeare walked on this floor!". I'm kind of embarrassing to be a tourist with.
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Next we went to the excavation of the house where Shakespeare died. We also walked around the pretty garden next door.
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This is where Shakespeare went to school. I don't think we were actually supposed to take pictures because school was in session but I'm sure they are used to Shakespeare enthusiasts.
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Home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
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Inside this church is the place where Shakespeare is buried. We weren't allowed inside because they were filming something and apparently it was too dangerous because of all the wiring. I don't think they understood how sad I was about this.
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Then we just wandered around the town until it was time for our train to leave. Also, the ticket to get into Shakespeare's house and other houses important to his history lasts for a year. Let me know if you want it. I'm not kidding.
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My last day in London began in the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The thing about a Sherlock Holmes museum is that he didn't actually exist (contrary to what my 10 year old self believed. Although I also thought he was the Great Mouse Detective so cut me a little slack). So everything was fake. It was cool to see a replica of his apartment the way it was described in the books but I couldn't get over the fact that nothing there was actually real. 
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TADA! It's the Peter Pan statue! Before getting on my train back to St. Andrews, Albert and I went back to Kensington Garden. This time I let him read the map. It was everything the Mary-Kate and Ashley movie made it out to be. After taking about a bazillion pictures I was ready to go. 
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We had some extra time before my train left so Albert took me over to The British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone, as well as the fragments from the Parthenon. Apparently there's all sorts of controversy about where the fragments belong but I was just happy to get to see them. Then I went over to Kings Cross. Albert and I went on a search for Platform 9 3/4 before I left but apparently they have moved the cart. It was very disappointing. The train ride back was one of the longest train rides of my life. It got delayed about two hours because there was a "fatal accident" ahead of us so we had to wait for that to be cleared up. I don't know what this fatal accident was, but I made it home safe and sound.  
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And that was my trip to London! Thank you tons and tons to my hosts. You made my trip so much fun and so easy. I would still be stuck in the tube right now if it wasn't for you!

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