Sam and I took the 8:40am train into London with hopes of getting some sightseeing in before tea time but that wasn’t in the cards. A journey that should’ve taken 2.5 hours took closer to 3.5 for no apparent reason other than the conductor not being very good with English (it was very funny listening to him explain the situation though!). When we finally reached London we hurried to drop our bags at the hotel before heading out on a marathon sight seeing expedition!
For two people who aren’t terribly fond of museums we managed to see quite a few! We started out wandering around London just to get a feel for it and ended up by the Victoria and Albert Museum. An impressive collection of art combined with free admission made it a crowded place. We ran into a group of school children who were split into teams to explore the museum (dressed as Superman or Sherlock Holmes). The students seemed to have a much better time than the two of us and we quickly left to investigate the outdoors.
Luckily, the beginning of November appears to be the unofficial time to put up Christmas decorations and we were greeted by many holiday displays over the weekend. The ice rink near the Natural History Museum had just opened when we arrived on Friday but we decided not to go as it was warm and rainy. After making plans to skate next time we were in town, we sought shelter from the drizzling within the Natural History Museum.
Looking through the dinosaur exhibit I realized how inadequate my education on the topic has been! I had no idea that so many fossils and bones came from the United States. Maybe if they had mentioned the archaeological digs occuring nearby I actually would have paid attention in middle school science!
Friday night the whole Kenyon group went to see a performance of Macbeth. I had been brimming with anticipation of this play ever since I heard we were going to see it. Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play and after the amazing rendition of Hamlet we saw in London last time I had very high hopes. This performance was terrible. The director took Macbeth to a whole other place adding samurai sword fights and Latin chants, characters playing dual roles and odd musical accompanyments. My friends and I dubbed the play “The Passion of the Samurai” because it was a weird cross between ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and ‘The Last Samurai’ but that is an insult to both films.
On Saturday morning we set off on more adventures after eating at the hotel’s massive breakfast spread. First we set out for Camden Road market and arrived only to find that we had arrived before any of the merchants! Since nothing else in London was open at that hour we walked along the river. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and we were fascinated by the snippets of British life that we encountered. There were many joggers down by the river, all of them seeming to be out running for the fun of it rather than for the fitness. There were also couples out for a leisurely Saturday morning stroll. I think that has been the hardest thing to adjust to over here: leisure time. At restaurants they give you tons of time just to sit and talk. I find myself getting frustrated often with their inefficiency until I remind myself that it is a different way of life.
After wandering for perhaps an hour we ended up in Regent’s Park. Despite not being a park person, or even a nature person for that matter, I loved the experience. There were little kids playing football and parents pushing their babies in strollers–the perfect morning!
(This beautiful fountain was at the center of the park and was donated by some obscure society. Just like everything else in England, whatever this was a monument to had quite a following! We found the Anaesthesia Museum later that day.)
This post is getting a little long, so I’ll add the rest later!