Day Twenty Six
London Travel Blog› entry 26 of 34 › view all entries
The word of the day is... lame!
I started off my ridiculously busy day at Buckingham Palace to finally see the changing of the guards. We got there a half hour before it started and it was already jam packed. Was able to get my way second in line (just one person between me and the gates outside) but I still couldn't see much. Halfway through I went farther back and was able to see a little more, like the men on horses going through the gate. But, seriously, the thing as a whole was laaaame. So short, so overrated. It wasn't all that special. I guess you can't really go to London and not see the changing of the guards (kinda a requirement) and now that I've done it I can honestly say.
Then after that we headed to Westminster Abbey. It was absolutely stunning inside, definitely not lame. The architecture, stained glass, monuments. I don't know what else I can really say... you just have to see it for yourself. I really wish photography was allowed because of some of the parts of the Abbey were just breath-takingly beautiful. And no words can truly convey how beautiul it all was.
In retrospect I kind of wish I did an audio tour of the Abbey. When I went to Stonehenge and Bath they gave us audio tours which I felt were kinda boring and went into more detail than I really cared about. So I decided against the 3 pound tours. But in the Abbey you were pretty much on your own, which I didn't realize.
Near the end of Abbey there was a garden and a high school band was performing. So I stayed and listened for a while. It was really funny though. When we got out there the first song they performed was God Bless America (later learned that they were an American high school). I thought that was absolutely hilarious. Outside of Westminster Abbey, one of the most quintessentially British places... that's the last place I'd expect to hear a patriotic American song.
After the Abbey I walked over to Big Ben and Parliament again (I had been by there before). Still beautiful, still amazing. This time I actually got pictures of the sights... with me in them. Now you can all see that yes I was there, too! (copyright Dad, Hannukah video circa 1994).
I also walked up Whitehall and peeked outside Downing Street, which, say it with me, was laaaame. There were like three police officers opening and closing the gates when cars would want to come in.
I also saw some building nearby with soldiers and horses outside (I think it has an official name but I'm too lazy/tired to look it up right now). Not too much to say about it. It was pretty, there were horses.
After a busy morning/afternoon I was a little history-ed out, but I couldn't go home because I'm starting to feel the time crunch (I really don't think I'll be able to do everything I want in the time that's left :/). So I decided to cross the Westminster Bridge into Southbank. I went to the Aquarium and, honestly, I was very disappointed. Maybe I'm just used to the Baltimore Aquarium which kicks ass, but this aquarium was pretty boring.
After the aquarium I walked up Whitehall again, through Trafalgar Square. I stopped at a lot of tourist shops on the way there. I've decided I don't particularly like London souvenirs. NYC has awesome ones... cool shirts, magnets, snowglobes, everything.
So after some disappointing tourist shop stops I made it to the West End and got tickets to Little Shop of Horrors. But I had an hour and half or so before showtime so I decided to head over to Chinatown which was nearby. And, going with the word of the day, it was laaaaame. Seriously... it was maybe 2 square blocks. It was smaller than NYC's Little Italy (which I didn't think was possible).
So disappointed and still early for the show, I just walked up and down the streets in the West End. It was nice, I really got the atomosphere of the neighborhood. Lots of tourists, but lots of locals, too hanging out at the bars, clearly on their way home from work. And it was nice to just wander around without any particular destination in mind. And, for the first time, like, ever I actually walked at a slow pace.
So then I saw Little Shop of Horrors which I liked a lot, but I wouldn't say I loved. My assigned seat was in the third row all the way on the right. There's no pit so the front rows were really close to the stage. And the stage was reallllly high up, so at the angle I was it made it really difficult to see. I was a little worried, but then I noticed that literally the rest of the row wasn't filled. So I quickly asked an usher if I could move over, he said sure, and I got a seat closer to the middle and it was great.
In terms of the show... I loved the theatre. It was one of the smallest theatres I've ever been to. Just an orchestra and one balcony, not too many rows back. The stage was small-ish and rotating. It was just a very intimate setting. Actors were actually on stage 10 minutes before the show started. Just street walkers, walking around, freaking out the young girls in the front of the orchestra. I've never been to a show when actors appear on stage in character before the show officially starts.
The show's official beginning was also really unique. The show started without any warning. The lights were on, people were chatting and BOOM the loud music started playing.
And as I said, I did like the show a lot. I liked the characters (especially these three girls who show up in almost every song--their facial expressions alone were absolutely priceless). And the singing was great, too. My only problem was with the songs themselves. I didn't really like them. The melodies weren't that catchy and I couldn't see myself listening to them over and over again as I do with other shows.
After the show it was nice out so I decided to walk home. I didn't realize how close I actually was to my dorm. Because I've been here over three weeks I've become pretty familiar with a lot of the areas in Central London, but only on a neighborhood-by-neighboorhod basis. Like I know West End, I know Covent Garden, but I never realized how close West End was to Covent Garden. So I was pretty surprised that after literally walking five minutes from the theatre there I was, on the route I take to get to class. When I was at the theatre I felt like I was lightyears away because it was a whole different atmosphere with different types of people, but it turned out I was only maybe 25 minutes away total from my dorm. I guess I still have some street learnin' to do.