I am not in London anymore as I start classes tomorrow at University in Northern England. But, I have a few more London posts to catch up on as my blogging as been a bit sparse the past month or so! Sorry about that!
We visited the Imperial War Museum, which I actually really enjoyed. The museum had extensive sections on both World Wars with many artifacts arranged in an easy to follow layout. This was the first museum that our professor told us we could explore on our own and just leave when we were done as long as we spent a reasonable amount of time there. I figured I would be done after an hour, but I ended up staying for about two and a half hours. The Real to Reel exhibit was the highlight of the trip for me. You had to pay an extra fee to get in, but we had some money to use as an educational fund so I was reimbursed for the exhibit. I spent almost an hour just looking through the movie artifacts from Casablanca, Saving Private Ryan, and more. Walking around felt like I was in the Great Movie Ride a little and they even juxtaposed scenes from the Normandy Beach landing on a television screen with the landing scenes in films. The exhibit was also fairly empty, probably because you had to pay extra and it was a weekday.
The next museum was the Science Museum, which I actually had to do a presentation on after the field trip. I visited this museum with my family last summer and this visit was unfortunately not as enjoyable as I had to rush through to see as many exhibits as possible to highlight in my presentation. You could easily spend a couple of hours here though and the museum is very kid-friendly.
I also took a trip to the Disney Store on Oxford Street this week because I stumbled upon it and had to go in of course. I was looking for a London Tsum Tsum but unfortunately the cast member said that New York and Hawaii have them but not London yet. I was very disappointed. I still ending up buying a souvenir though and so did my two friends because you just can’t walk into a Disney Store and leave empty handed. I found out that this is the largest store in Europe, but it is nowhere near as large as Times Square (but just as packed).
The other field trip of the week was to the Bond Vehicle Exhibit in Covent Garden. I went here on a Saturday with a few friends and the exhibit made me really want to watch all of the Bond movies. I will definitely have to start watching one a weekend of something! We saw cars, motorcycles, and random memorabilia from the movies. I saw Q’s ID from Skyfall which was neat but of course the cars were the best part. And they had the movie scenes playing behind the cars, helping visitors to contextualize when the cars made an appearance.
I have one more week in London to recap and then I’ll almost be caught up to the present! Plus hearing about a boring orientation week isn’t too interesting and classes start tomorrow so I have to draw out my exciting travel posts from London, Spain, and Germany!
Well the title is an alliterative quick summary of the past week here.
Last Wednesday we went to Greenwich (not the preppy Connecticut town, but the one here in England) to the National Maritime Museum. The museum had a variety of exhibits, but I enjoyed seeing Nelson’s coat from the Battle of Trafalgar
the most. It was the one he was wearing when he got hit, and then later died from the wound. They also had his blood stained stockings. It’s a bit crazy how blood stained stockings have been saved for more than two hundred years.
On Thursday, we took a tour of the Beefeater Distillery Tour. We definitely were able
to see more when we toured the apple cider mill in France and I believe we did as well at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. We did see much on this tour other than the ingredients they use to make the gin. They gave us a free gin and tonic but I was not a huge fan.
Sadly for Friday, I couldn’t come up with word beginning with “g” for our Sherlock Holmes walking tour. We saw different sites all around the city and heard about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the short stories in the Strand magazine, which then made the magazine very popular. One of my classmates mentioned “The Great Mouse Detective” on the tour and now I really want to watch the movie again! The voice of Sherlock Holmes in the movie is actually voiced by an actor who went on to play Sherlock Holmes in many different mediums and his name is Basil Rathbone. And we learned about the origins of Holmes’ hat and pipe.
Our second all day field trip was on Saturday and we took the train to Brighton where we saw sea gulls. The day started out sunny and bright when we arrived at the beach town. We had a few minutes to take photos of the beach before we started our sewer tour. Yes, sewer tour. Sewer tours are a thing and supposedly you have to book them way in advance because they are so popular. I was shocked that vacationers actually did this. Our professor had signed us up so we had no choice. We wore hard hats and gloves (because there are rats in the sewers…yay). First, the workers/tour guides gave us a quick introduction about the sewers and we saw a short film. They gave us advice to take a deep sniff to numb our senses as we walked in but it did not really help. We walked through different overflow areas (which had been hosed off before the tour but just use your imagination on how well that worked). After an hour and a half, we were ready to head back into the sunshine so we climbed a staircase and we emerged from a manhole (like Amy Adams does in Disney’s Enchanted). You should’ve seen people’s faces walking by as they asked what we were doing and we said “a sewer tour.” After the tour, we had a pub lunch where I had a good pulled pork sandwich. My friends and I then went shopping around town and stopped for ice cream, but unfortunately the weather had turned and it was now pouring.
I spent Sunday meeting up with family friends and going on a tour around London led by a family friend/connection and that was really fun. I walked 11.68 miles on Sunday! Monday, we went to the Alexander Fleming Museum at St. Mary’s Hospital (where many members of the royal family have been born). This hospital looked very old and different from the hospitals I’ve seen back home. We couldn’t believe that royals had been born here. The museum was up a few flights of windy stairs and not air conditioned. The last week or so has been brutal without air conditioning, especially when you are listening to a tour guide or packed in with lots of Londoners on the tube.
Yesterday, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is my favorite museum in London but unfortunately our tour guide got the time mixed up so we started the tour late and were all hot and exhausted. I am hoping to head back to the museum if I have time this weekend, since I was not able to see much. I met up with two friends from high school who are also studying abroad in London for dinner and we got a great deal at an Italian restaurant with 10 pounds for two courses and wine!
Hope everyone’s week went well!