Tuesday 13 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK - Part 2 - London

After Cardiff we were off on a (relatively) short train ride to London!

I think London is one of those cities that tends to be especially romanticized - alongside other big cities like Paris, Tokyo, Venice and Rome.

London, England, UK
View across the Thames, showing the London Eye all lit up.

I know I had great expectations for the city and was looking forward to seeing London more than the others we had planned (I mean come on. It's LONDON), but I think it turned out to be my least favourite in the end. (Not by much, though)

Big Ben - London, England, UK
Big Ben
Don't get me wrong, I loved everything we did (though I think I wore out my boyfriend constantly checking souvenir shops for things to send mendokusai. ^^;), and it was really beautiful, but London has a bit of 'big city syndrome'. Lots of people impatiently rushing, but not really going anywhere - and I'll just say now, I'm really not a fan of being smushed into subway walls or pushed on the street, just so someone can be 2 seconds earlier to wait for their train. :|

Interesting place to visit, couldn't live in the city centre.

Anyway! Our biggest attraction was definitely the British Museum, conveniently located a half block from our hotel, along with all the regular tourist-y things like Big Ben and the Thames.

We spent almost the entire first day wandering the museum before we had to leave for food, and since we weren't able to see everything we wanted, we had to go back again on the last day! XD

It was incredibly fascinating seeing all of the items I've seen in pictures during university classes actually existing (even if they were in plexiglass boxes ^^;).

Royal Standard of Ur, British Museum - London, England, UK
The Royal Standard of Ur

At lulufae's recommendation, we made a stop at Liberty and Co. where I picked up a couple of new fabrics. Most of the designs in the current collection were rather lacklustre, but the two I found are quite nice. I think they'll end up as dresses for Jonas. I almost wish I hadn't gone though, because now I'm completely in love with their fabric. So soft and drape-y.... *mournfulsigh* It's very difficult to find though. I've only seen little squares of it online and never in person before.

We did a tour of the whole store just because the building was so interesting, but homg expensive! o____________o;

They were all lined up on the other side too.

We made (what we thought was going to be) a quick stop at Buckingham Palace the next day to take some photos. That's what you do in London isn't it? But ended up staying a while just because there were SO MANY (hundreds at least!) people we figured something must be going on...

They did a changing of the guard (I think?), which could have explained it... but there was also a huge big parade and band and army guy with dog... so I don't quite know what was up. The internet doesn't tell me anything special happened, but there were just so many people. O.o

If QI has taught me anything, the Queen was in. Maybe she was going out for lunch or something?


We finished off our London adventure with an attempted visit to the Tower of London, but it was just about to close and very expensive so we didn't go in.

Maybe next time.

Tower of London - London, England, UK
Tower of London

We did, however, buy last minute tickets to Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre. I know very little about the story, but everyone had been telling me how wonderful it is, so why not. I quite enjoyed it, though I have a feeling that the book is better. I didn't really like the actress playing Fantine, not sure why, but the music was excellent - I've had a mash of a few of the songs stuck in my head ever since! - and Jean Valjean was simply stunning. Can we say 'Holy vocal range Batman'?!

Definitely a great ending to the trip.

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