Posts tagged ‘Embankment’

April 10, 2011

A Weekend with Mom & Dad (IN THE UK!)

It was so great to see my parents this weekend! Thursday evening I was on my way home from class and I turn the corner to my street and who do I see strolling down past my house? You can probably guess. We said our hellos and I asked them to come up to see my flat and their response (this actually shouldn’t have surprised me) was, “Oh, well, we’ve already been up!” Naturally. They came up anyways, saw my room (again) and I changed quickly before heading with them to their hotel. They stayed right around the corner at Hotel Russell, which was so convenient and nice! After seeing their room we bought them tube tickets and went over near Neal’s Yard for dinner. We went to Cafe Mode and got pizzas and pesto bread to share, and after dinner they were pooped from not sleeping the night before, so they went back to their hotel. Thursday night a bunch of girls went to The Roadhouse in Covent Garden, and it was really fun; they had a live band. As soon as the band finished, our entire flat went home…we were pooped. Friday morning I woke up and met my parents in the lobby of their hotel and we went to Paddington station to catch a train to Windsor Castle. The weather this weekend was absolutely amazing! Bright, sunny, warm, and happy. We had to switch trains at Plough, but the total travel time was not very long. As soon as we got to Windsor we hopped on the double decker sightseeing bus and it took us all around. The ride was about 45 minutes and it was so beautiful! The tour had 11 stops:

1. Castle Hill – Outside Windsor Castle
2. High Street – Parish Church
3. Sheet Street – Victoria Barracks
4. Kings Road – Frogmore Mausoleum
5. Datchet Green – Village & Railway Station
6. Slough Road – Outside Eton College
7. The Brocas – Eton Court
8. Eton High Street
9. Slough Road – Eton College
10. Datchet Road – Riverside Station
11. Thames Street – French Brothers River Cruises

After the bus ride we went inside the castle, but we didn’t get to see the State Apartments because the Queen was there (YES!) running an awards/honors ceremony. We got to see the people leaving from the ceremony though, and they were all dressed up in their dresses and wild hats. After exploring the castle and the chapel we got lunch at a pub right across the street. We took the train back to Paddington and then found Little Venice. Who knew that existed in London? It’s such a quiet, pretty, quaint little area of the canal, and we took a canal cruise from Little Venice to Camden Lock. I think my parents might’ve started cringing as soon as they saw the masses of teenagers outside the bars and shops everywhere, and needless to say we didn’t stay very long. Mom loves the buses in London and hates the tube. So, we rode the bus as often as we could. I’m not going to complain because I FINALLY got to learn and understand how the confusing bus system works (and it’s actually not confusing, at all) and it’s nice to see the city as you’re traveling through it! I went home, showered and changed and then went up to their room to relax a little before we went out for dinner. Mom got a bottle of wine, some croissants, grapes and cheese so we just hung out in their room for a little bit watching London’s version of America’s Funniest Home Videos before heading out. We took the bus over to Waterloo, and then walked back towards the direction of Russell Square to find a restaurant. We ate at an Italian restaurant right in between Embankment and Charing Cross. After dinner we caught another bus home and went to bed. Saturday morning I met them in their lobby at 8 and our adventure was to Dover. We went to Victoria station, caught the 8:52 to Dover, which was close to a 2 hour ride. When we got there we got breakfast at a diner-type restaurant before starting our day. I got an ice cream cone even though it was a tad bit chilly outside. 🙂 We went into the Dover Museum, and saw the history of the town as well as the oldest boat in the world, the bronze age boat! We saw a film on how it was found and restored and saw the actual boat and the reconstruction and then left the museum. I had to buy a pair of leggings from one of the market stands because it was NOT as warm as the day before. Then we headed off to the castle. We browsed around and saw the castle before our tour of the underground hospital. The tour was really quick but really cool and we got to experience what it would’ve been like to be in the hospital during an attack. There was also a little tram that rode around the castle you could hop on and off after your feet got tired. The castle was huge but so pretty and had great views of The White Cliffs and Shakespeare’s cliff. On a clear day, you can see France from the castle, but we could only barely make it out. After spending the day in the castle we went back to town and grabbed some sandwiches and snacks for the train home. We thought we almost left Mom in Dover (because the train left 10 minutes early!) but luckily she was in the bathroom and not outside the train. When we got back to London, I came back to my flat, showered & changed, and then we went to dinner at a restaurant named Bill’s. Bill’s was a restaurant that you could simultaneously grocery shop at by checking (or, “ticking” as they called it) items off a list and handing it to your waitress. It was definitely a different atmosphere. The food was delicious, and afterwards we went back to Russell Square for the night. Today we woke up and went to Greenwich! We went around the Old Royal Navy College, showed them the Painted Hall & the Chapel, we went into the Maritime Museum for a little bit and then went up to the prime meridian. I realized today why JMU has us go to Greenwich so early in the semester, because it costs 10 pounds to go to it after March 1! We found a fence that had the line continuing on the wall so we snuck a picture and then headed into town. We browsed the Greenwich Markets for approximately one minute before making it out through the crowd and onto the bus. We got off the bus at Tower Bridge, ate Sunday roast at a pub right on the street, and then went in the Tower Bridge exhibition. Dad & I accidentally ate some free food that we didn’t order but got placed on our table (whoops). We saw the engine rooms for how they used to light the bridge, got to go up the towers and walk across the top walkway, and then came back down the other tower. We took a very complicated tube ride home (this was one of my first weekends in London since January! Who knew there were so many tube line and station closings?) and then it was time to split ways. Dad lounged/napped in the lobby while Mom came back to my flat with me, I changed and then we walked back to Russell Square tube station and said goodbye. As I write this, they are just taking off (unless they’re delayed again, knock on wood!!) It was such a fun, busy, beautiful weekend and I’m so happy that it’s only three weeks until I see them again!! Last full week of classes and internship this week, where did the time go?


March 27, 2011

The week Danielle & Jess visited London

Monday morning for politics we went to the Science Museum. We went to the World Wide Web exhibit, and we watched this big make-up of small screens that stream live feed from public chat rooms. It changed information like usernames, conversations and key words and we were just watching a constant streaming of people’s conversations. It was a little creepy; the Internet in general is creepy. Monday night for theatre we didn’t see a show for class, because we had King Lear planned for Thursday night in Stratford. Instead, we had a group outing to the Royal Opera House to see Swan Lake. The ballet was so fun. Granted, we missed a lot of the story line because we were so high up (For example, we thought the main characters lived, because we never saw them jump off a ledge on the left of the stage to commit suicide). Regardless, it was amazing just watching how talented all of the ballerinas are. They literally spend the entire time on the very point of their toes. Everyone was extremely talented and it was a little excruciating to watch. Tuesday for Media & Society we went to the Saatchi Gallery, and we had a quick tour by an American intern from Wisconsin. The gallery is a collection of art that Saatchi owns, and honestly, it’s all a little weird. But it was interesting seeing the different styles and interests people have in all kinds of artwork.

Tuesday was a special day, because my best friend Danielle Fraser and her roommate from URI, Jess, arrived in London! I work Tuesday afternoons, so I met up with them in Covent Garden when I got out, and then showed them around that area, Trafalgar Square, and the area over by Embankment. We ended up having dinner on one of those restaurant-boats and it was lovely. The two of them brought gorgeous weather to London all week. After dinner we went back to my flat and then went out to Cornwallis with a group of Madhouse people. We stayed there until it closed and then headed over to the Rocket, which wasn’t open much later. Since the tube was still open, Danielle & Jess just took that back to their hostel, and prepared for their very busy next day. I work my long days on Wednesdays, and they spent their day doing the NewEurope free tour, rode the London Eye, did a Grim Reaper tour, and then met me at Holborn Wednesday night. In terms of my day, the annual budget announcement was on Wedneday, and I was a little surprised to see that it is treated with importance equivalent to our State of the Union. During our lunch hour the TV was turned on, and everyone had earphones plugged in watching live streaming. I’m not exaggerating when I say this week was the best weather we have seen in London so far, so I walked home from work to soak in as much sun as possible. We had our weekly meeting, got our calendars and itineraries for the weekend, and then I had time to organize myself and relax before meeting up with Danielle and Jess. Will wanted to go to a bar called Moonlighting for his birthday, but through a series of unfortunate events Danielle, Jess and I had bad luck getting into bars this particular night. We ended up at O’Neils, which is perfectly fine by me because they got to see our favorite bar! We were the last people to leave O’Neils, and since the tube had closed I was determined to send them home on a bus because they had an oyster card, which buses accept. Unfortunately, I’ve been living here for 2 months and have no idea how the buses work or which ones go to the area their hostel was in. After failing to figure it out, we all just grabbed cabs and headed home. Thursday morning was quite an adventure, as I woke up and went to their hostel to meet Danielle & Jess, but they were at King’s Cross station. Then we had to go back to West Brompton tube stop, but they missed their Easybus to Gatwick, so we headed to Victoria so they could catch the Gatwick Express to the airport. If it sounds confusing & chaotic, that’s because it was. It was actually really funny though and everything worked out in the end. It was so nice having visitors and I’m glad they had such a lovely time in London. J I headed home, showered, ate & packed for the upcoming weekend to Stratford upon Avon, Oxford, Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge.