Posts tagged ‘London’

May 5, 2011

April 29th, 2011


I’ll keep my stories a little brief because a) you already know about the big event b) I have way more exciting pictures and videos to show you and c) I’m sure when I see you in person I will not stop talking about this…so I’m giving you a break now.

We heard on the news that people had been camping out for the Royal Wedding since Tuesday at lunchtime. We arrived back in London Thursday evening, checked into our hotel (only one block away from Madison House!) ate dinner and then went to see these ambitious campers. (Just a side note, it felt so good to come back to London! I will definitely miss it.) We walked through Trafalgar Square, decided that it was our place of choice for the big event, got our flags, walked up and down the Mall, saw the press set-ups, went to Westminster Abbey, got on the BBC and by the time we were walking home it was after midnight. We had to be up in 4 hours!!

Day of the wedding:

We woke up at 4:40am and were in Trafalgar Square by 5am. Picture of when we got there and when William & Kate were wed:

An absolutely incredible and fun day! I would’ve been so mad at myself for the rest of my life if we did not stay an extra week to stay for this. We watched as the Olympic countdown went from 488 days and over 14 hours to 488 days and under 6 hours. We watched as the Queen arrived at Westminster and the entire Trafalgar Square was singing God Save the Queen. We watched ourselves on the big screen. We watched news reporters everywhere interviewing as many people as they could. We watched the Royal Wedding on the big screen surrounded by thousands of people. It was fun 🙂

Videos and pictures:

After the wedding was over there were still thousands of people in the streets of London celebrating, and we made our way back to our hotel, grabbed lunch at Bill’s and crashed for the rest of the night. Saturday we had lunch at Borough Market (so. delicious.) and went to Regent’s Park to complete all 5 Royal Parks. Turns out Regent’s is my favorite. Saturday we completed the circle by going to The Perseverance for dinner. 500 points if you remember that that is the pub from the intern’s very first dinner out together. Sunday we were up at 5:30am and out on our way to Heathrow. We all landed back in the States safe and sound and our only obstacle now is getting over jetlag. It was such an incredible semester and I’ll look back on it forever. A very big thank you to my parents and family for making it happen 🙂

Cheers!

April 22, 2011

Goodbye round deux


I hope that Italy has some Internet so I can spend part of my upcoming week updating about everything that has happened to me in the past 2 weeks!! PREVIEW: Today was spent riding bikes (CYCLE HIRE as they call it here) through the Royal Parks and on the streets of London (yes, now we can survive anything) and going out to dinner overlooking the Thames with Kelly’s family and our flat!! Up in the A.M to finish cleaning the flat and get our stuff out of here, wish us luck! There are some that will have to be dragged out of this house. Madhouse love 2011! ❤

April 22, 2011

So long, farewell…


So, here I am, the day before I get kicked out of Madison House. The level of emotions I’m feeling is absurd. I’m so stressed because despite sending two suitcases home with my parents, I STILL cannot seem to be able to pack up my room. I’m so excited to go back home, to see my friends & family and be in America. I’m so relieved that finals are done and over with, that the weight is lifted over our shoulders. I’m so in shock that it’s already summer, and that I’m now a senior in college. I start real life in one year. I’m so SAD to leave London and Europe. I just spent the past three and a half months living the life. Let’s face it. I’ve been looking forward to studying abroad since college tours in high school. And now it’s over. How did that happen? Bittersweet is the correct word, but there’s so much more to it. What will be the most weird will be next weekend when a few of us are back in London for the Royal wedding (yes :)) but will not be coming home to Madhouse. Or that half of our group, our family, will be home tomorrow. Yes, home in America, back in that time zone 5 hours behind us. We gave back our locks for our safes, our mobile phones and our FSU ID cards today. Things that were such a routine part of my day are now back in the office downstairs, waiting for the next group to waltz in. IT’S SO SAD!

Moving on.

Last night we had our final banquet/dinner. It was at a church over by St. Paul’s, in the crypt of the church. The dinner was amazing. I got a cheese/vegetable souffle for appetizer, chicken with mashed potatoes and greens for main course and chocolate cake and ginger ice cream for dessert. Add in wine and everyone from Madhouse and it was a great night. People gave toasts, we gave gifts to Joan & Charlotte, and took a ton of pictures. Afterwards we went (where else?) to O’Neills to say our farewell to what became our favorite go-to bar this semester.

Saying bye to Mariah 😦 our house dog!!

 Before watching the photo slideshow Paul made for the group

 So London. ^^ Sarah, the spice girl.

Group taking over the street, walking to Holborn

Church we ate in…St. Mary’s

Table arrangements 🙂

Name tag and chocolate! Happy early Easter!

Scan & the Union flag napkins

First toast of the evening…Annalina

My chicken!! yummm

Joan & Charlotte opening gifts

Flat D roommates with Charlotte, our house mom 🙂

Hugs all around

Band at O’Neills

I’ll go ahead and update stuff from these past weeks in a different post so I get to break it all up 🙂

Cheers!!

April 17, 2011

London Marathon!


Today, the world’s largest fundraising event is happening in London: THE LONDON MARATHON! I’m about to go volunteer for Scan’s internship, Kids. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to a marathon…don’t think I could last 26.2 miles but will gladly cheer for those that can =)

April 10, 2011

Imperial War Museum, War Horse, Notting Hill, Olympics


Sunday night we got home from Paris and there was a giant puddle on our kitchen floor. We thought someone left the door open the whole weekend. Turns out, our fridge was broken. Our temporary mini fridge didn’t arrive until Wednesday so we ate out a lot until then. Monday for politics we discussed media & war during class, and then had an outing to the Imperial War Museum. It was a really cool museum with a TON going on. If you’re into war, history and have a few hours to kill in London, this would be my suggestion. Monday night for theatre we saw our last show :(, Warhorse. It’s based off a children’s book and the mechanisms used to display the horses are incredible. Sheila warned us to bring our tissue boxes…I wouldn’t say I needed a box, but I definitely teared up. Tuesday morning for Media & Society we talked some more about film and then we went to Notting Hill! We had a guided tour, and saw Portobello Market, where parts of the movie were filmed, and a bunchh of other spots in the area. The interns had to leave a little early to get back to the city in time, and then Tuesday afternoon just worked as usual. Wednesday I was at Wriglesworth all day and then we had our last intern meeting with Charlotte after our weekly group meeting. We answered questionnaires all about London to see how much we learned (a LOT!) about the city, and then we came back to Madhouse to celebrate Kaitlyn’s birthday. Thursday morning I woke up to get MOM & DAD from the airport, but luckily I checked my email before I left and it turned out their flight had been delayed FOUR hours. 😦 I was already awake, so I worked on my papers for finals week, went to the Y and then came back and got ready for class. Right before class I had my time slot to register for classes next fall (senior year, yikes!!) and when I got to class we were watching a movie about the Olympics. Our outing was to the Olympic sites out by Stratford tube stop, and then we had to take the DLR one stop to see the actual sites. Most of it was under construction…actually, almost all of it was under construction, but it was really cool to see the models and the plans for next summer. The area is going to be insanely nice after all of this work is done. After class I raced home because Mom & Dad had arrived in the UK!

 

An entire entry will be dedicated to them 🙂 Coming up!

 

Cheers 🙂

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.

 

Cheers!

March 16, 2011

Midterms


Midterms this semester was a little different than my other midterms at JMU. For example, I successfully left the week with spending 0, yup, zero, hours in the library. I can hear the moans of hatred from JMU students now. It’s not like we didn’t have anything to do, though. The week involved papers and presentations before our outings. It’s work we sort of enjoy doing, unable to stop soaking in all the information around us…rather than being glued to a textbook, cramming & trying to force information into our heads.

Our theatre Monday night after Amsterdam was Clybourne Park. My favorite show thus far. Since the next week was spring break and we wouldn’t have class time to discuss with the show fresh in our minds, we met at MadHouse after the show and snacked on digestives while discussing the show we all adored. It was based in the 50s and modern time (2 acts split in time periods) and was all about racism in America. Maybe it hit home because it was about our country, maybe it was just really good. Probably both. Either way, I loved it, and if you ever come to London and want to see a show, go see it!!

For Media & Society we had a vocab quiz  based off University Challenge..ie a Jeapordy game. For our outing we did another Soho walk…this time dedicated towards all the musical history in Soho, and then ended in a French pastry shop. Worked per usual at Wriglesworth Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday long day and Thursday morning. Thursday for Pop Culture we had our midterm..my first exam so far, and then went to The British Music Experience in the O2 Arena. So much fun and the perfect introduction into spring break! The BME was totally interactive, our ticket checked us into different hotspots to learn more or hear more about a certain era. The museum was sort of designed as a sun– one central room and a bunch of aisles/rooms breaking off from that. Each extended room was a musical era and you learned about everything going on at the time, mostly in London but in other countries as well. Best part? I learned to play the drums. Not exactly a professional, but I got a tutorial for a few minutes! We did a group singing recording session (and you can check it online using your ticket afterwards) and a group dance session. Thursday night involved packing, printing and clearing out the fridge. Bright and early Friday morning we took off for Barcelona!!

Spring break will have its own post…up next.

Cheers =)

March 16, 2011

Updates Coming!


Amsterdam, midterms, Clybourne Park,  British Music Experience, Wriglesworth, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, Covent Garden, broken computer, Danny Boyle, Frankenstein, The Pheonix, Archipelago…STAY TUNED!!!

February 24, 2011

Successful week


This week was one of the first that I felt completely normal and in my same old routine-mode probably since I got here. With everything that happened with me so far it was absolutely amazing to go to the gym, feel great at work, have great classes and get relatively normal amounts of sleep. Monday for politics we watched the Prime Minister’s questions video. Every Wednesday at noon David Cameron answers questions from Parliament when the House of Commons is sitting. It was actually really entertaining & informative…take a look:

For theatre this week we had an extra long class because the star of Vernon God Little, the play we saw the week before, Joseph Drake, came into our class! He was the main character, Vernon, and he talked to us about the play, about rehearsals leading up to the show, his life, and how he doesn’t read reviews. He was so funny and it was great to get to meet him. I got him to sign my journal 🙂 After class we grabbed dinner right by the theatre before the show, and then we saw Penelope at the Hampstead Theatre. It was about an hour and a half long with no intermission, and it was probably the most odd out of all the shows we’ve seen. Don’t want to spoil it for you in case you ever end up going there, but I’ll just tell you the set was in the bottom of a swimming pool the entire show, and Penelope, the girl the play is named after, did not have one line. Our teacher is trying to broaden our horizons to all types of theatre, and all types of theatre we are seeing.

Tuesday for Media & Society was really fun. We talked about the history of radio and TV broadcasting, and then we went out to East Finchley tube stop (a little out of the city) to London Greek Radio. LGR used to be a pirating station back before commercialized channels still hadn’t expanded. We got a tour of the studio and got to ask Vasilis Panayis, the big cheese at the station, who’s been in broadcast for 25 years. I also got him to sign my journal 🙂 Work at Wriglesworth this week was great, I was constantly busy, well-rested and learned a lot. I helped with some press releases, surveyed people over the phone and did a lot of desk research. Wednesday after work we had a group outing to the British Library concerning their exhibition on the Evolution of English. Three professors came in to talk about the different dialects among all regions in the UK. After the British Library we went to O’Neils for Liz’s 21st birthday. Liz’s mom and godmother came to visit her for this long weekend, so we’ve seen them a lot and it is so much fun having moms/parents around! They’re staying at a hotel/apartment literally two doors down, which is so convenient. We got the tour of their flat and it’s a hundred times nicer than ours, but what are ya gonna do. We got the live band to give Liz a shout out at O’Neils and call her up to the stage! So far, birthdays in London are a major success.

Today I worked in the morning, I love when I come in for mornings because Wriglesworth provides cereal for all the staff 🙂 Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. I didn’t even need a jacket, and the sky was blue. We must be extremely lucky people because we’ve seriously only had about 2 rainy days, and they weren’t even that bad. Crossing my fingers that this luck doesn’t change when spring officially comes! For Pop Culture today we talked about a book named Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, which is a directory of prostitutes in the Victorian Era, and then we played a game where we had to act as members of parliament and pass/veto rules to regulate prostitution in order to control it. After class we went to the Museum of London where we saw the history of London from when it was just land to Roman times to modern day.

Tonight is yet another Thursday night before a weekend of travels. We’re headed off to Amsterdam this weekend, waking up at 3:30am to make our 6:55 flight. Thank you Ryanair.

Have a great weekend and I’ll give stories about Amsterdam Sunday/Monday!

Cheers 🙂

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.

Cheers!