Showing posts with label Shakespeare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shakespeare. Show all posts

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Best Day Ever

Before I get to the spectacular day that was my Wednesday, I have to play some catch-up. Tuesday morning we got up early in order to see the torch run by Kingston University. I honestly thought it was a little anti-climactic. Don't get me wrong, it was still extremely cool to see the torch, but I thought there would be a bigger parade or something that went with it. So I guess I'd say it didn't match my expectations. But it was still something that I probably won't get to do again, so it was still pretty cool. After that, I went back to finish my final paper for my Shakespeare class before heading out to see Richard III. Thankfully it wasn't raining for this performance! It actually hasn't rained at all this week, which is pretty spectacular. The play itself was really good, all of the actors did an amazing job. Roger Lloyd-Pack who played Barty Crouch Sr. in Harry Potter played Buckingham, and Mark Rylance played Richard, who was the first Art Director at the Globe. Pretty cool, and they both did a fantastic job. After the play, we walked around London a little, to take in the view of London at night, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Now we're to Wednesday, one of the best days, if not the best day, I've had since I came to London! It all started off with leaving bright and early in order to make it to Middlesex University to see Rupert Grint carry the torch. Of course, it was the hottest day London has seen all year, which made standing on the side of the street a little difficult, but it was worth it! Diana Gould, the oldest person to carry the torch, took it into the University for lunch, and Rupert was the one to carry it out. So cool! And all the while they had music playing, people handing out things, and people taking pictures. The atmosphere was so energetic, despite it being really hot. It's definitely something I'm going to remember forever.

After seeing Rupert carry the torch, I made my way to Leavesden Studios, for the Making of Harry Potter tour! I had to take a train and a bus to get there, but it was so amazing! I couldn't stop smiling on the way to the Studios, and once we got there, I was just in awe. This is where so much of Harry Potter was filmed! It definitely was the highlight of my trip. I got there a little early, so I grabbed a bite to eat, then looked around the shop, where I could have spent sooooooo much money. There were so many things I wanted, but they were all so expensive! Anyway, I got in early, and the amazement began! I had goosebumps when we were sitting and waiting to be let into the actual studios. I was kind of amazed at how many younger kids were there, and I have to say, I felt a little sorry for them because they will never experience the true excitement of Harry Potter. They won't have grown up with it, like so much of our generation has. They won't feel the excitement in the air at a midnight book or movie release, won't grow up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I'm glad that our generation got to experience this, that we got to grow up with Harry. It's something that will probably make an impression on us for the rest of our lives.

Anyway, seeing all the props and stuff made me realize how much time and effort went into making this amazing book series come to life. I mean, I knew there were a lot of people that worked on it, but seeing it all in person is just amazing! There's so much detail put into every little prop, and I love it. It shows how dedicated they were to making JK Rowling's books come to life. I could definitely go back there again and again.

Now we've come to Thursday, the last day of class. I can't believe this experience is almost over already! It seems like I just got there. But in a little less than 2 days, I will be saying goodbye to London and hello to Holland. But for now, I will enjoy it while I'm here. The next time you hear from me, I'll probably be back in the good old state of Michigan. Until then, happy reading! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Final Weekend

Alas, it's hard to believe that this is my last weekend in London! I feel like the time has just flown by! It has been a gorgeous weekend, though, it didn't rain at all yesterday or today. This is saying something, since it's rained almost every single day we've been here. Anyway, this weekend has pretty much been about relaxing, having seen most of the things that I wanted to see while I was here (minus Leavesden Studios, but I'm doing that on Wednesday). It was really quite nice, not having to rush around to places, feeling like you have to cram everything in before you leave. I was glad to have the weekend to relax in Surbiton.

On Thursday, we went to Stratford-upon-Avon, which is where Shakespeare was born. It was an adorable little town, and honestly, I think if I had to live anywhere in England, I would probably live here. There were a lot of cute little shops (more on that in a minute) and I liked that it was kind of a smaller town, and you could take a two hour train and be in London, if you wanted. Anyway, we went there to see The Tempest, but we had a little time to kill before the show we were seeing. So we walked around Stratford and found Shakespeare's birthplace. We walked down the street a little ways, and what did we find? A little shop called The Creaky Cauldron, a store dedicated to Harry Potter things. We might have freaked out a little! It was such a cool little store, and we grabbed some butterbeer before continuing our way through Stratford. Then it was time to see The Tempest, which was a pretty good performance, though it was a little slow at parts. Then we stopped in a used bookstore before grabbing the train back to London. Overall, it was quite a successful day.

The next day, we got up early in order to get to Westminster Abbey before it got too busy. This is an absolutely gorgeous building, both inside and out! It kind of amazes me that people actually go to church there, because it is such a beautiful building. A lot of famous people are buried there, from kings to famous authors to famous scientists. It's pretty neat to see. After the Abbey, we made our way down the bank, specifically looking for the Southbank Book Market, which we found! It was lovely to see all of the books placed on table, I probably could have spent the whole day there, browsing through the books. There was also a little food market there, where we stopped for lunch. We had some delicious brushetta from a little stall in the market. Then we made our way to the Imperial War Rooms, a museum dedicated to all sorts of war things. It was interesting to see a different side of the wars, especially since they all happened over here. We're used to hearing the US side of things, and to see the British side of things was neat. They also had a Holocaust exhibit that was really interesting, and really depressing. We all decided that we needed something happy after that, and what's happier than chocolate? So we went into a chocolate store, and did some shopping before heading back to Surbiton for the night.

Saturday we spent the day in Kingston, doing various shopping things and walking around the mall. We did go to this little cupcake place called Sweet Revenge, which had the most delicious cupcakes. I had a red velvet one, and took home a peanut butter one for later. So good. The rest of the night was spent relaxing, and beginning to work on my paper. Sunday was a day of complete relaxation. Since it was so beautiful outside, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and headed into Surbiton, grabbing a panini and a milkshake, and sought out a park to read in. It was glorious. I read all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and I can't say that I regret it one bit. When I came back, I had to work on my paper (which I probably should have been doing all day), but I'd have to say the afternoon was definitely worth it. Today I ventured into London with a few friends to go to Camden Market, which is a huge market! There were so many different things being sold there, and that's one of the things that I love about London. There are so many of these market places all around, and that's definitely something that you don't see as much of in the United States. I kind of wish you did, because most of the time, the markets have really good deals on things. If I lived here, I would try to do most of my shopping here! Anyway, the rest of the week should be full of adventures, as I might possibly get to see the torch 3 different times, and I'm going to tour Leavesden Studios! It will be a whirlwind, then I will be home. So bittersweet. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Museums and More Museums

I kept meaning to write a post the past few days, but I had a paper due today that was a little more pressing. But that's out of the way now, so I have time to catch up on what I've been doing. Tuesday wasn't a very exciting day, since I just had two lectures, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We did have a BBQ here at Clayhill, the place I'm staying for the month. We got to talk to some British students, which was interesting, being able to hear about what school was like for them and their perspectives on America. After that, I pretty much worked on my paper until bed. It's so hard to motivate myself to do schoolwork here. It just seems strange!

Anyway, Wednesday we ventured into London and visited the British Museum. So many artifacts! It would probably take you forever to look at every single thing in that museum. The things of note that we saw were the Rosetta Stone, a statue from Easter Island, and a lot of Greek and Roman statues. By the end, everything kind of started to look the same. As we left the museum, we ended up stopping at a little restaurant by the museum that served afternoon tea. It was kind of like eating lunch! We had tea (obviously) and it came with four finger sandwiches (a tuna, a cheese, a salmon, and an egg salad one), a scone with cream (which was kind of like a light butter) and jam, and a piece of cake (we had chocolate chip cheesecake). It was absolutely delicious! We then made our way back to Surbiton, stopping at the store for food and such. I then did some laundry, before going to attend the film night that was happening on campus. It was comedy night, so we watched Life of Brian which was...interesting. British humor is interesting.

Thursday was another long day. For class, we had a Globe Tour at noon, so we went into London for that. It was interesting, and the exhibition there had a lot of information about what theater was like at the time Shakespeare lived there. Then we had the whole afternoon to ourselves, since we didn't have to be back at the Globe until 7:30 to see Henry V. So we walked over to St. Paul's, grabbing a delicious snack. Then we took the tube over to St. Pancras in order to visit the official London 2012 shop there. Everything was so expensive in the store! But I got a few things, then we headed back to Borough Market, where we stumbled upon a stand with Turkish delight. It is delicious! It's kind of hard to explain exactly what Turkish delight is, but I did enjoy it. After that, we grabbed some coffee at the Globe, waiting to be let into the theater. Of course, it started raining as we were waiting in line, and didn't stop the whole time we watched the play. The performance was really, really good, but being wet the whole time wasn't all that fun. I was soaked and exhausted by the time I got back, but the play was definitely worth it.

Today we got up and headed back into London, planning on doing a day of museums. We started out at the Science Museum, which was interesting. They had a whole space section that was pretty much just dedicated to NASA. Then we headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is huge! There is so much stuff in there, it would take someone days to see everything in it. We looked around mostly at the stuff from Britain, and ventured into the garden to get some caffeine. In the garden, there were these chairs that were basically like spinning tops, they were so strange to sit in! Rejuvenated from our little break, we finished looking at the British stuff in the museum, then headed on over to the Natural History Museum, which is just as big! There were a lot of fossils and stuff in there, which were interesting to look at. We hit the exhibits we wanted to see, then walked over to the Royal Albert Hall, which is a beautiful building. Brains full from all the information we had absorbed, we made our way back to Surbiton, and made plans to go to a pub later for dinner. This weekend should be fun, with a trip to Brighton tomorrow, then Hampton Court on Sunday. I don't think I'll have a day of relaxation until I get home, but I'm definitely okay with that! There's just so much to do and see here, and there's no way I'll see it all before I leave. Anyway, until next time, happy reading! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lots of Theater!

Yesterday and today were very fun and adventurous days! Yesterday we had a little later start, and began by going to the Box Office to see if we could get tickets for Phantom of the Opera, which was playing that night at Her Majesty's Theatre. We were successful! Then we made our way to Hyde Park. On our way there we passed by a lot of war memorials, mostly for WWII, which was quite interesting to see. There was one that was even opened last week, for the Bomber Command during WWII. It was really cool to see that. After going past all these memorials, then you make your way into Hyde Park, which is really like a mini paradise in the middle of the city. Once you're inside the park, it's not even like you're in the city anymore, you can't hear any of the noises, and there are fewer people walking around. It's really peaceful, and I couldn't help but think that this was a place that I would love to come and just sit and read. Call me a dork, but those are the things that I think about when I got to places like that.

Anyway, the main thing we wanted to see in the park, besides the natural beauty that was there, was the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. It was really pretty! And you could even take off your shoes and walk around in the fountain. The water was cold though! Once our feet were rested from all the walking (the park is pretty big, plus we had to take a detour around the construction they were doing for the Olympics. I'm just going to say now that I'm really excited to watch the Olympics and be able to say that I was in the places where the events are taking place. It'll probably really annoy my family, but I think it's really cool). We grabbed some ice cream (because it sounded really good) and walked to the tube station, to make our way to Abbey Road. There were so many tourists there, trying to re-create the Beatles' picture, while there was traffic on the road! And while it was on what they call a zebra crosswalk, which is where pedestrians always have the right of way, a lot of the people in the cars got really annoyed with the tourists trying to take pictures. It was quite amusing.

After Abbey Road, we went to find some place to eat. We ended up at a pretty nice Indian restaurant, which was exciting for me because I had never had Indian food before. It was delicious! Then it was time to go and see the Phantom of the Opera! This was really exciting because I had never seen the show before, and to see it on the West End in London was pretty sweet! Once we got out of the show, it was dark, and the first time that we had been in London at night. It has such a different atmosphere! There aren't as many people milling about, and everything is all lit up and it looks so beautiful! I almost think I like it better at night.

Today I went to class this morning, where we discussed the play that we were going to see in the afternoon. Once again, I thought it was an interesting lecture, though this one was shorter than Tuesday's. Then we had to make our way to London to the Globe, which was where we were going to watch Taming of the Shrew. Being in the Globe and watching a Shakespeare play was really, really cool for me! I was doing what people hundreds of years ago were going, standing at the edge of the stage and watching a play. And the play was really funny! I enjoyed the way the actors interpreted the play, and the way they interacted with the audience. It was amazing! Plus it was nice weather, and since the Globe has an open roof, that was especially nice. After that, I made my way back to my room in order to prepare for my trip to Ireland tomorrow. It should be really cool! But I probably won't be posting again until I get back on Monday. So until then, happy reading! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Day of Class

So today was my first official day of class, and while it doesn't really sound all that exciting, it actually was really interesting! In the morning, we had a lecture about London and the theater in Shakespeare's day, focusing most of the discussion on whether or not Shakespeare was the author of his plays. It was absolutely fascinating, to me anyway, being an English nerd. And being able to be taught by someone in a different country is also a plus of this experience, because usually you only get the points of views of people in the United States, and it's interesting to hear things from a different point of view, especially because while we have extensive historical knowledge of the United States, our knowledge on the history of England is lacking, especially compared to someone who went to school here their whole lives. Now there aren't any British students in our class, but our professor kept explaining historical events because he wasn't sure whether or not we would have knowledge of them. It wasn't something that I really thought about before coming over here and taking a class, and it was really interesting.

After our morning lecture, we took a lunch break, and were all to meet in London to go walk to the Globe and visit the Golden Hinde. Once we finally found our professor at London Bridge Station, we made our way over to the Thames River to see the lovely replica of the Golden Hinde. Since we couldn't go in until 4, we walked around, learning about the various things that used to exist in that area of London, while seeing where we will get to see 3 of Shakespeare's plays later in the month. Then we finally were able to get into the Hinde. First, a little bit of history on the Hinde. The Hinde that's currently in London is a replica of the boat that Sir Francis Drake took when he traveled around the world in 1577. The trip took 3 years and the Golden Hinde was the only boat to make the complete trip. Going into the ship, I can't believe people spent 3 years of their life here! It was so tiny, and the conditions must have been absolutely miserable. But it was still really cool to be able to go onto the ship and see what ships of that time period really looked like. Puts some parts of history into perspective. After touring the ship, we came back and just relaxed for the rest of the night. Soon this relaxation time will probably be turned into homework time, but I am enjoying the free time while it lasts. I guess that's it for now. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

An Adventure to England!

So for the past week, I've been in England! But most people already know that and are probably curious as to what I've been up to. The first day I got here I was really exhausted and ready to sleep, given the 7 and a half hour plane ride I had just been on, but instead I got situated here and went into the town of Surbiton. It's about a 10-15 minute walk from where I'm staying, and is where we usually catch the train into London. That night, we got dinner at a pub, and I had my first fish and chips! It was absolutely delicious, and will probably happen again before I leave. Anyway, after that we made our way back to Clayhill (my current place of residence) and I attempted to stay awake for a few more hours so I would be going to bed at a normal time here.

The next day we had to get up bright and early to go to orientation at Kingston, which is where we got our IDs and travel cards. In the afternoon, we had a photo scavenger hunt around London with our fellow flatmates. We went to the London Eye, walked past Big Ben and the Parliament Building, went down the main shopping district of London, walked through Trafalgar Square and the Covent Garden Market, saw the theater district of London, and ended up at English pub. It was a tiring afternoon, but definitely a good way to learn our way around London.

The next day, we got up bright and early in order to get to St. Paul's Cathedral. This is probably one of my favorite things that I've done so far, because both the building and the view from the top were breathtaking. When you first walk into St. Paul's, the decor on the walls and the dome put you in awe. Then you start to make your way up the 528 stairs to the top of the dome. It's a workout, but definitely worth it. The first part you make it to is the Whispering Gallery. In the Whispering Gallery, if you whisper into the walls it can be heard across the room. Then you make it up to the Stone Gallery, which is the first place where you can view the city. It was windy when we went up there, but since it was a clear day (rare in London), we could see almost everything. It took your breath away. Then you make it up to the very top of the dome, and when we got up there, the sun was shining and you could see all of London. I think that this will definitely be one of the best things about this trip, for sure.

After St. Paul's, we walked around London a little more, specifically Cheapside and the place where Shakespeare's theater used to reside. We walked down streets that Shakespeare used to roam, which for an English nerd like me was really, really cool. We went into the Borough Market, where there were lots of vendors selling lots and lots of different things. We stopped for lunch here, I got a sausage and bubble bap, which was absolutely delicious. It was basically just a sausage, potato, and cabbage sandwich. Then we walked down to the Globe Theater, which I will get to see three plays in throughout the course of this month, and also walked across Millennium Bridge, which Voldemort destroyed in the 5th Harry Potter movie. Then we made our way home, relaxing the rest of the night after a very tiring day.

The next day we made our way to Buckingham Palace, which was very elegant and it's pretty amazing that people still live there. It's so big! We walked through an exhibit that had all of the diamonds that the Queen owned, which just showed exactly how rich the Queen actually is. Crazy. After the Palace, we made our way to the Tower of London to explore all of the history that was there. And let me say, there was definitely a lot. So many people were executed at the Tower, and it was a little creepy to be honest. But worth it to go there. Then we made our way back, and were all ready to relax when we realized the final of the Euro 2012 Cup was on, so we figured we better make our way to a pub because football is such a part of the culture here, and we wanted to experience it. I've gotta say, it was definitely an experience, seeing all the Englishmen get so excited over a football (which is soccer in the US, in case you're getting confused) match, like Americans get excited over baseball or American football.

Finally, today my friend Katie and I made our way to the British Library, which was one of the things at the top of my list to do here. And let me tell you, it's a book nerd's heaven, especially with the exhibit that they currently have there at the moment. Among other things, I saw the original manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, I completely nerded out. This is definitely going to be one of the highlights of my trip, for sure. :) Other things I saw were a painting of the Shire by Tolkien, the original copy of Winnie the Pooh, a manuscript for Jane Eyre, Our Mutual Friend, and Alice in Wonderland. After the library, we made our way to Kings Cross Station, and I think most people know why I was so excited to go here. Platform 9 and 3/4! I actually got to see it! Again, another thing to check off my bucket list. After that, we made our way to Waterstone's Picadilly, which is considered the biggest bookstore in Europe. 5 floors of books. This is definitely somewhere I want to live, and makes the Barnes and Noble back home pale in comparison. I also bought the UK editions of Philosopher's Stone, and Chamber of Secrets, just another thing to add to the growing library in my room. Oh well. One can never have too many books :) Tomorrow is my first day of class, which will definitely be an adventure in and on its own. Now that I'm all caught up, I will definitely have to make sure I blog more often so each post isn't so long. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shakespeare and School

So I haven't actually finished To Kill a Mockingbird yet, because I've been so crazy busy with stuff for school. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it, and it really is a fantastic book so far. I'll let you know more about it when I finish it.

I have, however, finished reading Hamlet for my Intro to Literary Analysis class. I haven't actually read Hamlet before, so I was pretty excited to read it. I know, that makes me sound like a dork, but hey, I'm an English major. I get excited about stuff like Shakespeare. Speaking of Shakespeare, there's a study abroad program that I want to do this summer, and one of the classes you can take is a Shakespeare class where you take a field trip to the Globe Theater. How cool would that be? I think it'd be awesome. If everything works out and I end up going to England, I am definitely going to take this class. :)

Anyway, back to Hamlet. While reading this play was enjoyable, I really wish that I could see it on the stage. Plays aren't meant to be read, they're meant to be seen, and I think I'd get so much more out of it if I actually saw it acted out. I wouldn't say that Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play. Romeo and Juliet still has that spot. I don't know why I love that play so much, I just do. Maybe it was the way that my English teacher, Ms. Kilpatrick, taught us about it in class. I don't know. But it still holds the spot as my favorite Shakespeare play. Othello may follow in second, just because I think Shakespeare created a brilliant character in Iago. Entirely evil, but brilliant. And his whole reversal of black and white for good and evil...Shakespeare was a brilliant writer (granted he was the one that wrote everything...but that's a debate for another day).

Hamlet, yes. I keep getting off topic. I have to write about paper about it, and we basically just have to choose an element to analyze. I'm not sure what I'm going to do it on. That's all we talked about in class today, and I feel like if I take one of those ideas, someone else might write about the same thing. I was thinking about analyzing the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet, and whether or not there was love there or not. Could make for an interesting essay. I'm just not sure if I'd be able to find enough to write 4 pages on. Well...I probably could. I'm pretty good at stretching out points that need to be longer.

I can't make any promises as to when I'll be done with To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm kind of hoping for the end of this week, but that all depends on how much work I receive between now and then. Silly school, getting in the way of my leisurely reading. Too much required reading to read what I want to. What a shame.