I’m still in London, and I bet everyone is waiting on tenterhooks to read my next post (I really like that expression, because it is kind of scary). Speaking of that, I had a very scary experience today where I got stuck in an elevator that wouldn’t open its doors, and kept going up and down and down and up. Especially scary since every time it got to the floor I wanted to be on, it would lurch down. I thought I was going to die, and I was ringing that little bell madly when the doors finally opened. I did not die, don’t worry.
So.. this is a bit to chat about my first 2 days in London! (That’d be Tues-Wed).
Tuesday started with the “free walking tour” of the hostel, which I thought would be a little tour of our area, but it turned out to be a 3.5 hour tour with NEW LONDON (their name is all capitals.), of the “Old City of London” (AKA the part that was once Roman Londinium, and so on). It was actually a neat tour, and I learned a few interesting tidbits (my favourite parts were about the 1660’s: plague and fire and war, and about the Blitzkrieg. Still some shrapnel damage preserved here and there).
After, despite the fact that I was exhausted, I went to lunch with a nice Brazilian guy named Luis who I met on the tour (in Covent Garden, which is apparently a market).
Still, I soldiered on and went to not one, but TWO museums. (Am I crazy? Maybe).
1) British Library – very neat, especially if you know of my love of all things old and papery. The Far East stuff didn’t excite me as much, but the biblical stuff (eg. the oldest copy of the “3rd letter to the Hebrews” – from the 3rd century! & an original Gutenberg bible…) and the literature stuff (eg. the original, handwritten copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion! Just the one I was reading!!, & some 17th C Shakespeare compendiums…. ).
2) National Portrait Gallery – I went here especially to see all the portraits of the Kings & Queens & other assorted royalty. And I was not disappointed. I did skip the “contemporary” floor though. Didn’t need to see pop stars and such.
Then it was people watching in Trafalgar Square, delicious “macaroni cheese” at a pub, and enjoying a hostel activity (movie night! We watched Blood Diamond, which is one of my favourites, and makes me remember again that I would only want diamonds that are conflict free. You know, just in case anybody was thinking of getting me one.)
Wednesday dawned early (well early-ish) with me getting lost on the Tube for the first time (in my defence, the transfer station I needed was closed for “engineering” which apparently means construction), on my way to the Tower of London tour with The Original London Walks tour company. I made it at the very last minute (took me nearly an hour for a 15 minute commute….).
But it ended up as awesome. I did the 2 hour tour which let me know even more about the Tower (and you may happen to know that the Tower of London is another of my obsessions…), and let me put each tower of the Tower into perspective in my head. I spent nearly 5 hours on the grounds, ate lunch, and did my own personal tour of the Towers that were open to public. Saw the ravens (& heard them too), saw some Beefeaters. You know, the whole bit.
Afternoon I headed to the Tate Modern gallery, and most things were pretty cool… except that the room I wanted to visit “Poetry and Dreams” (they’re arranged by weird themes, but this one has the surrealism, which is my favourite type of art) – was closed! Apparently they were… moving the paintings around or something? Bizarre.
And then the afternoon/evening I met my Aussie roommates… then my Kiwi, American, & French roommates… and then a whole bunch of other people from my hostel as we had some drinks and the £4 all-you-can-eat BBQ on the rooftop patio, followed by a night of karaoke (yay!) at the bar downstairs. I sang Me & Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. You know, just in case anyone was wondering.
Stay tuned Saturday or Sunday for the continuation of London. Same bat time (er.. similar), same Bat channel.