Week Three: The Ultimate Tourist

Third week in and I still can’t think of a clever title for my posts, but I think keeping it simple is the best I can do anyway because there’s not really a title that can sum up or describe all the things we do in a week. With all of the time I spend in bed, I’m surprised when I realized how much I’ve accomplished when it feels like I haven’t moved in days. This week, for example, I took a lot of time to sit at home and rest and enjoy having leisure time I wouldn’t normally have during the school year, but with the planned outings, there’s never really “time off.” We’re always planning around something or going for dinner or just running back and forth to the “grocery store” (I use quotations because these mini marts that define central London shouldn’t be considered grocery stores). This post may be fairly long so I apologize if you’re not in the interest of reading, you can go ahead and scroll down to the pictures, but I’m trying to make this experience as vivid as possible for those of you who aren’t here with me. 😀
This past Tuesday, we had two events: a Tower of London tour and viewing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Visiting The Tower of London made me feel a way I hadn’t felt yet while I’ve been here; I finally felt like I was walking amongst history in this almost 1000-year old castle (The White Tower was built in 1078). After recently beginning The Tudors on Netflix, certain things finally became real. I think its reputation for death and imprisonment also made the palace that much more interesting–yes, it is technically a palace. While the Tower has housed many kings and queens, including those who’ve tried, and some succeeded, killing each other to acquire the throne, it is probably most famous for being the place where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, the second and fifth wives of Henry VIII, were imprisoned and beheaded. Following this fun fact, the Tower also houses the infamous Crown Jewels. Now, when I tell you guys I almost cried….If you know me, you know my love for all things expensive (whether or not I can have them) so to see something as invaluable and priceless as the Crown Jewels and to know they could never be in my possession though only separated from me by glass, I was having a hard time. And NO, it was strictly prohibited to take pictures so I have to rely on mental snapshots for the rest of my time on Earth and I won’t be able to share those with you guys *cries*. In case you guys don’t know, by the way, the diamond on Queen Elizabeth II’s sceptre is 530 carats. 530. Carats. Just let that sink in. Then try to imagine it staring you in the face. I couldn’t believe it either. That concluded our visit to the Tower of London.
Later that night, we went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (linked above for a description of the show). Apparently this was a popular book as so many of the people in my program have read it, but I was not part of this group. I knew nothing going in and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though I was completely exhausted from the day of having class and doing the tour, I may or may not have fallen asleep during the first half (particularly at the moment when we find out about his mom), BUT I pieced everything together after intermission. I enjoyed the use of the depth and dimension of the stage even though I haven’t read the book to imagine how else it should have been (I heard mixed reviews about this), but I think I enjoyed the main character most. Again, I haven’t read the book, but I enjoyed seeing his interactions with other characters because it was clear that he had something along the lines of autism (it was never clarified in the play), but he wasn’t treated much differently just because of his condition. Though people were more delicate with him due to not understanding how to interact with him, I loved his diligence to accomplish things he set forth for himself. His confidence was inspiring especially considering how much some people sought to hold him back thinking they were protecting him which I think is something we can all relate to on some level. Highly recommend.
On Friday, we took a group trip to Borough Market which is a very popular local market. You can shop here for fresh produce, deli meats, and pre-maid meals or you can enjoy the foods and desserts of London from Indian food to shrimp paellas and cookies the size of your face. Mostly everything is available for taste-testing as well so that’s helpful. It seemed there was an endless abundance of cheeses and breads. The overwhelming amount of food actually caused me to lose my appetite, unfortunately, so I can’t exactly recommend anything just yet, but I hear great things about the grilled cheese. I did have a fresh apple, orange and banana smoothie that was refreshing and delicious. The produce section was actually more enjoyable for me and I may look there to get some fruits and veggies in the future.
Finally, a group of us went to Notting Hill on Saturday to visit the world famous Portobello Road Market. It was a little far out, but thank God for the oyster card. This street was so much longer than I’d expected. I apparently also don’t frequent flea markets often enough to remember that I need cash only so no major purchases were made, unfortunately. I did get a nice leather baseball cap that I’d been searching for (Thanks, Kelsey!) so yay for that! I also had a delicious cupcake from The Hummingbird Bakery which was recommended to me. It was very good which explained the line and definitely a fair price with all kinds of flavors–Sprinkles should take notes. After walking only one half of it, I’ll definitely have to go back on my own time and move at my own pace to truly experience the market and what it has to offer. It was cute though to feel like I was in Notting Hill, the film 🙂

That concludes my week. Thank you for reading and I hope you’re all enjoying these posts. Until next time…<3
Tower of London
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Tower Bridge
Borough Market
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Portobello Road Market
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2 thoughts on “Week Three: The Ultimate Tourist

  1. Pingback: Lex in the City

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