Hello again from L-town! (I’m sure the locals utterly hate that…I actually feel like less of a person for that semi-abbreviation but for some reason I can’t bring myself to delete it).
Things have been bopping along splendidly here, I’ve been trying to get out and do as much as possible every day. There is so much to do here and so much that I want to do right now but I suppose I’ll have to be patient as I do have several more months ahead of me that will be dedicated toward conquering London and all of the European Union.
This week was my first try at exploring the hectic, diverse city they call London as a “leader” rather than a follower in a herd of human beings. My first attempt was Monday when I tried to pretend like I knew what I was doing and took my roommate, Caroline and my flatmate, Alex out to Soho. I was like, “Oh yeah, I’ve been here before, I totally know where we are going,” as we got off the Tube stop. I was obviously very wrong because her, Alex and I wondered around for about an hour asking strangers where Soho was. Of course, each time they shook their heads at the idiotic American tourists and said it was ten minutes in the direction we had just come from. Of course. This happened about three or four times so I’m assuming we were in Soho for about half of the time we had been wandering around but we just didn’t know it. Eventually, we decided to give up and plop down in the nearest pub. It turns out, this particular pub was right near the Picadilly Circus tube stop, a.k.a. right in Soho. This sort of mindless wandering is so typical that I was not remotely surprised or frustrated, I was more just happy to sit down and have a pint.
Tuesday was another day of wandering and pub hopping that began with a tour of Parliament. Parliament was beautiful and enormous and our tour guide was the cutest old man and really made the tour an experience to remember. I took about 600 pictures of Parliament and Big Ben (or Big Boy Ben as I endearingly refer to “him” as) from about 400 angles. After Parliament we wandered around to St. James park which is hands down the most beautiful park I’ve been to thus far. There were lush gardens filled with endless amounts of flowers of different sizes, shapes and textures and of course, per the Euro style, there was an exorbitant amount of public displays of affection in and around the park, some of which were borderline pornographic. Needless to say, I felt uncomfortable.
After the park we went to Soho (I had other friends lead the way so we made it in due time) and had fish and chips and Amstel at St. James Tavern. We then we out to this fairly trashy “club” that seemly to be slightly on the sketchy side. To appease our obvious discomfort we decided to start a dance circle in the middle of the club. Within five minutes we had the whole club doing the running man and moon walk. It was truly the perfect end to a perfect day.
Wednesday and Thursday were fairly uneventful and spent strolling around London doing random things. However, on Thursday our class had a field trip to Notting Hill to see the Brand Museum, a small, but meaty museum that has tons of products from the beginning of the 1900’s to present day. After the museum I embarked on my own journey to find some Banksy work on Portobello Road which is very near the Brand Museum. Banksy, a world-famous graffiti artist famous for this creative stenciling and even more provacative political and social messages is said to have done work on Portobello Road. I know this because my drunk, “reputable” British friend who I talked to for all of three minutes told me so. As I wandered down the road for what seemed like a long while I started to grow more and more frustrated. I finally turned around, feeling like somewhat of a failure and literally right as I turned around I saw my first Banksy work. It was a picture of a french-looking artist painting “Banksy” in graffiti. I must have had my Banksy radar on because I found two more random tags from him up the road. I was beyond pleased and I hope to find much more from this fabulous man.