What do torrential downpours, a bevy of charming accents, and the most confusingly wonderful department store in the world have in common? London. Obvi. It was a very easy question.
Day 1 (Sunday): Skipping the fluff, we arrived in London and headed over to Kensington for a bike tour. Our Australian tour guide was wonderful and we got to ride through the parks of London, seeing Kensington Palace (home of my favorite royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry), Buckingham Palace (Prince Andrew, snooze. The Queen apparently only lives there about 3 nights per month), Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.
Fun fact, “Big Ben” is the name of the bell inside the clock tower.
Not Notre Dame, but Westminster Abbey, home of royal weddings!
Buckingham Palace and bikes!
Less exciting, but more likely to be home of royals you love (Will, Kate, Harry, and formerly Princess Diana)
Then the rain started. Pouring rain, worse than in Rome, torrential downpour for a solid 30 minutes, while we rode back. I was wearing a poncho, but my boots took three days to dry.
We were all supposed to go to the Churchill War Rooms, but people were miserable, so they made it optional. I went, which was a great choice: 1) The war rooms were really cool, and I learned a LOT about the war 2) I ran into my family’s closest family friend in the bathroom. I was thinking “that woman has an UNCANNY resemblance to Kay.” And then I said hi and we both started shrieking.
A happy pic in front of the Blitz made the guy taking the picture cringe.
This was all followed by dinner at an English pub and drinks with our prof (the most awkward man in the world) and seeing 10 Downing Street.
Day 2 (Monday) : Started with a relatively routine site visit at Saxo Bank which is a pretty cool Danish bank, which, as far as I can tell, helps people trade stocks (but not like, professional stock traders) and went out to lunch, where our prof made fun of us when they served mac and cheese and we were all taken aback with shock and delight. Because Danes don’t like the best food? Idk.
In the afternoon we visited the BBC. The tour guide was amazing and from “the Midlands” which to me meant she sounded like the coolest British person (it’s not a “posh” accent). At the BBC they still have radio dramas, like I would imagine were only popular back before TV. But we got to perform one, it was pretty cool. I’m definitely going to try to find some radio drama podcasts.
British Broadcasting Company
Europe’s largest newsroom
Love me some Matt Smith
That night I went to see Billy Elliot the musical by myself because no one in my class was
cool enough interested in seeing it with me. I sat in the very last row, which meant the actors were pretty little, but I was so impressed. The songs were really great and the dancing was truly fantastic, with the cast about a 50/50 split between young girls and middle-aged men (it’s about ballet and a miners’ strike) plus a few young boys. The kid who played Billy was so wonderful (his name is Elliott Hanna), but Playbills are not free in London (in fact they’re about $13) so I went without. I highly recommend the show. There’s this song in it called “Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher” which seemed to make all the British people around me very uncomfortable, but is super catchy.
Day 3 (Tuesday): We went to see PR firm Ketchum, which was international and nice and gave us tea and I ruined my shirt but nothing too special. I had been experiencing a lot of pain in my ear and a swollen and painful lymph node and just feeling really poopy, so this wasn’t my best day. After Ketchum, we had lunch and did some shopping at Spitalfields market (which I immediately recognized from ANTM) and I bought a Christmas present for a friend who I will see before Christmas and after Christmas but not at Christmas. So she might get it at her birthday, who cares if it’s nearly 5 months away…
Then we went to Wimbledon. It’s a tennis tournament I’ve watched before, but it wasn’t like the most exciting thing, going in, but I realized they are incredible at their company and branding and just being a fantastic place to play tennis. In the museum after, I watched clips from two GREAT tennis matches and realized I’d watched both with Harry (mon frere <–brother in French) and Gram (min bedstemor <–Grandma in Danish translates to “best mom” which is perfect). The matches were mens singles: Federer v. Nadal and women’s singles: Williams v. Williams. Some epic matchups right there. The tour guide there was very handsome and had a “posh” accent and so it was lovely.
me and Wimbles
These are the real thing. Even the winners only get to HOLD them
Serena being sassy and classy
They never changed the sign
I got a good seat
Then me and two girls from my class went to dinner in Picadilly Circus where NATALAY (aka Natalie Portman) and Chris Hemsworth were having the British premiere of Thor 2. But the girls I was with thought they were too cool for it, so I missed it, unfortunately. I could hear the screams of rabid fans from a few doors down the block where we were having dinner. Then we went to a mediocre comedy show, thanks to DIS.
Wednesday: Dreams came true and I went to Stonehenge. Pictures ensued as I was baffled.
Stones as tall as giants, in a perfect circle (Children of Eden song reference)
What’s the meaning of Stonehenge? (Ylvis song reference)
Then we went to Bath, which is the home of the Roman baths at a hot spring when England was part of the Roman Empire. I walked around with Mickey and Chris, two cool people who also have not found Strat Comm to be a particularly hospitable community.
A nice cathedral
Me and the bath
Mickey, Chris, et moi
BEANS ON TOAST BEANS ON TOAST (that put me off beans and toast for life)
We went shopping and drank tea and ate pasties (THEY’RE PIES GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER). I bought some mittens.
Day 4 (Thursday): Small group site visit to Three Fish in a Tree, a small and cool graphic design firm. After the visit the group walked over to the London Bridge, and when a woman asked to read my map, the group ditched me. SO then I was free of them and hit up platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station (very different than I expected) and ate another pasty (If you need to be hasty, I recommend a tasty pasty) and went to Harrods, a giant an maze-like department store which I’ve read about before. I bought some more Christmas presents.
Not so real
Then it was time for a traditional afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason (like Harrods but more Christmas-themed). In business casual, I was very underdressed, but the food and atmosphere were magical. I can’t imagine how expensive it was (DIS paid) but I highly recommend it.
I met up with my friends from AU, Kim and Kathleen, and we went shopping for a few minutes at Fortnum & Mason before getting Chinese food and froyo (at a place cheekily named “Snog”) and caught up and it was so happy and nice to see them.
Snog mood lighting
Kathleen, Kim, froyo, and me!
I then went to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” which is a play based on the book of the same name. It was a great play, with talented actors (Mike Noble starred), and innovative staging. It was one of the most captivating plays I’ve ever seen.
The stage/set when I leaned forward in my partial-view seat. A grid blackboard with lights and projectors
Day 5 (Friday): My last day in London (you must be happy, because this post is essay-length). After a visit to the Chelsea Football Club Stadium (a stadium roughly the size of a small college’s in the states and conveniently located 50 feet behind the hotel, I convinced Mickey to hang out with me. I was dead-set on my schedule so I was a little surprised and very happy she was up for joining me. We walked across the Millennium bridge (better known as the dementor bridge from Harry Potter) and visited the Tate Modern (aka one of my lifelong dreams) we spent a total of 2 hours which was about an hour less than I wish I’d spent, and several weeks less than I could have spent, but we had to get back to good ol’ Copenhagen. I got the last S-tog AND the last lokalbanen home from the airport, which if you live in Fredensborg (hi Linea!) you know how wonderful that is.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge as seen from the Tate
Me and the Tate
Art, but I don’t remember whose.
Nefertiti Shades of Grey (Black Version) (a race commentary)
Really cool quilt against Thatcher for the Falklands war
I recently got into Cy Twombly
I’m all about this (not joking). It’s a white paper octagon
Well, that was London. I really liked it, as a British version of New York City. It was fun (cheeky), fast-paced, and obviously a world capital. I definitely will go back, and now I can watch movies set there and be so happy. If only I’d gone to Downton Abbey (next time!) Cheers!