Posts tagged ‘King’s Cross’

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.



February 22, 2011

Edinburgh (ed-en-burrow)

Before we even left, Charlotte biased us in telling everyone that this was usually the student’s favorite group trip. Long behold, she was right. I’ve been to Edinburgh before with my family back in 2002, but coming back almost 10 years later was a completely different experience.

We took the 5 hour East Coast train ride from King’s Cross in London to Edinburgh and I took the time to catch up in my journal. We also used our time to find out that Taylor Swift is coming to London, so we got tickets. Once we got there we found our hotel, dropped our bags, and went on an hour double decker tour of the city. We were brave for most of it, sitting on the top deck in the cold, but eventually stopped getting feeling in our fingers so we went downstairs inside. After the bus tour we were determined to heat up, so a group of us went to the first pub we found, The Albanach. Little did we know this pub would change our life. (Dramatic, but it changed our night) After some warm soup of the moment and some Edinburgh-made beer, we were about to leave when Kristine found the pub trail brochure. Off we went on a pub hunt for 8 pubs to get our free T shirts. The night was so much fun, we had to find our way through Edinburgh and every pub had a great & friendly atmosphere. Sarah and I decided to go above and beyond and do the World Beer Passport at the same time, so I ended up leaving this weekend with about 5 T shirts and probably a couple extra calories. Since we began this adventure around 5:30 pm and traveled to 7 pubs we were home and ready for bed by 11:30pm. What happened to the 8th? We found out after pub #7 that the other ones were a VERY far walk away and in a sketchy area if you didn’t know where you were going, so we opted to leave it for lunch the next day.

After our 9+ hour slumber, we had breakfast in the hotel (Regent House Hotel) and then headed off to the castle as a group. When we left the hotel it was snowing/raining/sleeting and due to the weather the castle tour guides weren’t operating. We got audio tours instead and were set off to explore however much we wanted. I ended up listening to every single audio track and looking at probably every inch of the castle. By 12:40 I realized I was probably the only JMU member left at the castle, but I decided to stay an extra 20 minutes to watch the one o’clock cannon. After the cannon I had all of Edinburgh to explore and was by myself so I took off down the Royal Mile. I found The People’s Story Museum, which was all about the history of the people in Edinburgh..the classes/occupations/statuses/activities/lifestyles etc. After the museum I was determined to get my free T-shirt, so I trekked over to the other side of town, about a 30 minute walk and found Waterline. I got one of my T-shirts and also found Lisa and Kelly W! Lisa was bummed because she threw her camera off the castle by accident (spoiler alert: IT STILL WORKS!) I was so relieved to see them. After they finished eating we went across the street to Cameo, another pub on the map, and got more Tshirts. We grabbed a cab back to the hotel, where we re-grouped with everyone else. Kelly, Erin, Liz, Annalina, Sarah and I went to Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s first public park. On top of the hill we saw the scenery of the city, the Firth of Forth, the National Monument, Dugald Stewart Monument and other monuments and buildings. We went to get Kelly a sweatshirt and some other quick errands and then went back to the hotel. We had shower/relaxing time and then went out for dinner. We got turned away from a pub because we were American…not kidding. They originally asked for ID, and then asked if we were American and asked us to show our passports. Since we were a) still in the UK, we left them in London and b) even if we had them, we wouldn’t bring them out with us at night. Putting it aside, we found an Italian place close by for dinner and then went out to a bar called Three Sisters. We saw a lot of stag and hen parties…aka bachelor and bachelorette parties. Most of our group who went out that night went to that bar, so we had a lot of fun.

Sunday morning we woke up, had breakfast in the hotel again and then took off to hike Arthur’s Seat. It was easy to go off trail and take a number of options up to the top, and Sarah, Cecelia and I ended up literally on a vertical hill clinging onto rocks to get up. Pictures to come (they take a really long time to upload over here) The strenuous hike was completely worth the view we got the whole way going up and the view from the top.

We took the tourist route down, which was a way more relaxed and easy. For lunch Scan, Annalina, Kelly & I went to a pub called The White Horse and I ordered haggis. I had to. Probably not something I would order again. Annalina, Will & I went on an Underground/Ghost Tour of the vaults underneath The Royal Mile, and then it was basically time to get back to the hotel to pick up our bags. We grabbed our bags, headed to the train and I slept most of the 5 hours back to London. We found platform 9 and 3/4 from Harry Potter so that was an obvious photo op.

The weekend overall was a great success and the entire group had a blast!!

Hope everyone’s weekends went well.