Today mostly consisted of walking. Lots and lots of walking. We met up with the class at around 10, and then proceeded to get our Oyster Cards (a convenient pass to get on the trains). I love the Underground here. The map seems confusing and intimidating, but once you do a couple of transfers it’s really easy to get the hang of. While we used the trains quite a bit, we still walked a lot more. Our professor really wanted to get us situated with where the major sites and places were in London.
A lot of it looked familiar, but I didn’t quite remember where it was all situated. I still don’t, to be honest. It’s one thing to look at a map and know where to find everything, it’s another to walk around and figure it out. Especially when you use the underground transportation; that really messes with your sense of direction.
So we walked basically from the Holland Park area up to Buckingham Palace, through St. James’s Park, and over to Trafalger Square for lunch. The Palace and Park were strange to walk through because the last time I was here they were decorated for the Olympics. Flags and Rings everywhere… St. James’s is where we’d seen the volleyball matches, but now the stands are gone.
Along this route we passed through Covent Gardens, where the famous flower market from My Fair Lady used to be.
We stopped to watch a street act called “Man with Big Balls.” He had several audience members come up to toss him soccer balls, which he juggled while balancing on top of a big circus-like ball. One girl from our class, Tavia, was picked to hold the circus ball while he jumped on it. He made lots of jokes, most of them innuendos, and it was hilarious.
We stopped a lot for photo ops, so we ended up being a couple hours off schedule. It was around 3 that we got to the main class project for the day: the Museum of London. This was one of the only museums I’d gone to last time, so I guess it worked out that we rushed through. Faith and I had plans to go to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour at 6, but we needed to leave by 4:30. So we quickly toured the section we were assigned to write a class blog posting about and then headed off.
To get out to the tour, we had to transfer a few times on the underground to Euston station. From there, we then had to buy separate tickets to Watford Junction, since it stop outside of London and our Oyster cards wouldn’t cover that far. After queueing at two ticket stations and being told to go somewhere else for what we wanted, we finally got on the right train. Online it’d said the average journey was 20 min… ours, of course, took more like 40. We then had to take a shuttle to the actual venue, another 15 min, and basically we got there with only 3 minutes to spare. What a crazy mess!
The tour was so worth it though. Once we no longer needed to stress out, we could finally get excited and nerdy about the Harry Potter movies. All of the sets, props, and costumes there were the exact onces they used to make the films. You could walk through the Great Hall, go inside the Hogwarts Express, and interact with a few other things too. My phone tells me I took about 300 pictures, so once I get those sorted out I’ll put them in a separate gallery for you to look at and experience vicariously.
Getting back to our flat didn’t take as long, but it was still late when we arrived. We picked up dinner (at 10 PM!) from a place called Chicken Shack because we were desperate and that’s all that was open. I’ll also be creating a food gallery for all the meals I have here so you can check that out, too.
Now we sit here tired and sore, wondering what the rest of these three weeks are going to be like. London is a crazy amazing city, with so many layers of history down every street. I can’t wait to experience the rest of it!