Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two days done

So yesterday I went back to St. Paul's Cathedral (well the first time for this trip, I went there two years ago), then walked down Fleet Street to The Temple Church and then to the Houses of Parliament. St. Paul's is great, but the audio guide last time I was there was much better, so I took the guided tour, which turned out to be a lot of fun. We were able to go into the South Bell tower, where people usually can't go unless they are on the tour. The guide explained things that were not well explained in the audio guide and which had confused me a bit last time. I wanted to stay longer but I wanted to get to the Houses of Parliament before it was too late.

I walked down Ludgate Street, which turns into Fleet Street to The Temple Church (I am fully aware that these names mean nothing to most of you, but I just love saying that I walked down the same streets that I have been hearing references to for years). This is a small church designed after the churches the Crusaders saw in the Holy Land. It has a round section in the south and a more common rectangular sanctuary attached to it.

I decided to go to the Houses of Parliament this time; last time the price seemed too high, given my then current credit card bill. The guide seemed very pro House of Lords, from the way she spoke about the qualifications of the Lords. In case you don't know, Parliament is divided among elected Members of Parliament in the House of Commons and the appointed Lords of the House of Lords. It is interesting to see that where MPs sit is determined by their political affiliation; if they are in the parties that form the government they sit on one side of the room, if they are the opposition they sit on the other, and if they are on neither then they sit on benches in the middle. At one point the guide pointed out a picture of King George III, and said "For all you Americans, there is a picture of the King that generously decided to grant you independence." When the two other Americans and I laughed, she said "What? That's how I learned it in school."

I also went and bought a ticket to The Mousetrap for last night. It was good, but I had a hard time really getting into it. I think that since I have seen it close to 20 times after having designed it, all the mystery is taken away. In case you don't know, this production of the Mousetrap is the longest running production of a show in history. It is in it's 58th straight year and I saw the 24,103rd performance. The seats were awful though, I think the seat are a reason I would not go back to it.

And that brings me to today. I took the train to Canterbury late this morning and got back about 9.30 tonight. I got to the city and went to St. Martins Church, the oldest parish church in Britain at about 1400 years old. At the end of the 6th century the pope sent St. Augustine to England to convert Ethelbert, King of Kent and highest king of the kingdoms south of the Humber river, to Christianity. Ethelbert's wife, Betha, was a Christian and so Ethelbert gave her a church outside the city wall to worship in and from where Augustine and his monks could work. It is a tiny church, but still has sections of the old roman walls from the original building.

I then went to Canterbury Cathedral. Um, how can I put this........WOW!!!!!!! It is probably one of the best churches I have ever been in. I took a guided tour that lasted about 2 hours, but I wished it would have lasted all day (remember, I am a HUGE history geek). This is the Cathedral where St. Thomas Beckett, then Archbishop, was murdered (we had the top of his head chopped off and then his brains removed and smeared across the ground. The cathedral is massive, I could have spent all day there, and I think I might go back and do just that (I am even geeky enough to take a few more tours from different guides, just to get different stories).

Well now I am back in London at my friends' place. I leave tomorrow for Statford-Upon-Avon. I have an orientation on Sunday and classes begin Monday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In London

I got to London early this afternoon. I learned something very important about Icelandair: when they say there is a weight and dimension restriction on carry-on items, they are lying! I spent maybe an extra hour repacking bags last on Sunday night once I read that there was a 13lb. weight limit on carry ons. It turns out they don't care as long as it fits under the seat or int he bin. Well poop.
I am staying with the friend of a friend who lives in Southwark, just south of Tower Bridge. I misread the directions to his place and ended up walking around the round-about twice, carrying all three bags plus my carry-on (it might help you to pity me if you know that the round-abouts here, which were originally called gyroscopic circuses, are about 8 to 10 times the size of those we have in UP). by the time I found his flat I was covered in sweat and smelly. I took a shower and then he and I went over things I should do tomorrow.
I am really tired right now, drinking tea trying to get a pick me up so I can have the energy to be able to go for a walk to Tower Bridge and The Tower (as in 'Of London'). I am really looking forward to my first pint of Strongbow and Chips and Curry Sauce, it is delicious!
I plan on going to The Temple Church, St. Paul's Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and then possibly out to see a show tomorrow night; I am thinking either 'The Mousetrap" the new musical version of "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert".
Well good night.

Monday, September 27, 2010

At the Airport

I just got to my gate at Seatac. I board the plane pretty soon, but I am borred so I decided to write something. Once again my procrastination has made packing a stressful headache, but it is done now and I have no more reason to worry about it.
I have a lay over in Reykjavik, Iceland tomorrow morning before going to London. I will be staying with a friend of a friend in London for a few days before taking the train to Stratford-Upon-Avon on Friday. That's all that there really is to tell for now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Three Weeks To Go

I leave for England three weeks from today. I had a small good bye party last night at the Parkway Tavern. My first drama teacher gave me her St. Genesius medal (He is the patron saint of theatre people. The tradition is that when someone is close to retiring they give their medal to the person they see as being the best to carry on the traditions of theatre.) Halpin, my High School drama teacher gave me a God Light (inside joke that is too hard to explain).

So I have my Visa, FAFSA is taken care of, I have plans for a few day with my friend who lives in Norwich. I have not, however, finished any of the reading list I started. Lucky for me it is just a suggested reading list to familiarize people with the course content. I am hoping that since I have a degree in Theatre and Shakespeare Studies already I am ok for.

I found out I will be having classes only on Tuesday to Thursday. My first thought was 'YAY! A lot of free time', but I soon realized it just meant a lot of out of class work.