Abroad & Below: Taking On The Tourists

August 7th, 2011

Okay, big day…bear with me.

Today was our first Shakespeare play! We had a matinee showing of “As You Like It” at The Globe Theater, giving us the most perfect introduction into performances. Our tickets were half sitting and have “groundling,” which also gave us the most intimate experiences with Shakespeare’s theater that we will probably have. The production was outstanding, hitting every humorous and emotional cue while even involving the audience who was exposed to London rain during both intervals. I could go into the play details but I will probably just do a big post on them all at the end of the month. And honestly, that’s what my class is for, not my blog :)

After the play we made our way to Big Ben along Queen Mary’s Way. I could spend hours on this street. Parallel among the Thames and depicted as the Venice Beach of London, the vendors, performers, and sights were impossible to fully absorb in our 20-minute walk. Sand carvings, giant grass chairs, miniature house exhibits, break dancers, singers, human statues, and a graffiti skate park took my attention until Big Ben and Parliament came into view across the river. With mostly clouds on the horizon, it wasn’t until we actually reached the foot of the clock that the face began to shine in the break of the sun. It was intricate and beautiful, better than any picture Google could direct you to.

Then just off to the side was Westminster Abbey, under a little construction, but still beckoning. We made our way to the front doors and in that moment my 3am alarm clock from the morning of the Royal Wedding was forgiven. I have to say one of my favorite feelings is being somewhere where you have always seen or imagined a magnificent occasion and then all of the sudden you are standing there and everything seems completely distanced from reality. Can I get married here too please? We couldn’t get inside for the last tour of the day, but we will definitely return to pay homage to all the great and respectable graves that lay inside. Not to mention a quick run of the imagination by the alter… :)

Next we kept the tourist attractions coming with a walk to Buckingham Palace. We arrived just in time for a quick changing of the guard. Though not as ceremonious as the one I saw at Drottingholm Palace in Sweden, it was still exciting. We gazed at the gates and guards for a bit and then made our way back to the hotel by tube.

So it was a successful day of tourist accomplishment. Of course I will have to go back and drool over THE McQueen dress of the year, but otherwise my bucket list has definitely been shortened today.

Oh and I also adopted the nickname “Der” after dinner once I spilled that my name would have been Shroader had I been a boy. Now a constant reminder to keep these embarrassing facts in check while making new friends.