First, my sincere apologies for putting 2 days into one post. I just recently found out that I am an overnight blog sensation in the eyes of my immediate family, and I can't afford to deal with the repercussions of any more late postings or my sister might kill me.
Yesterday and today I got my first tour of central London. Our group went on a duck tour which was hilariously awesome. Our first boat had mechanical troubles so we had to wait for a second, but that was nothing compared to what I am used to. As a tid-bit fact, all of the boats on the duck tour are converted military vehicles used during WWII on D-Day to go seamlessly from land to sea, and they are all renamed after Shakespearean heroines. The first boat we were supposed to get on was the "Mistress Quickly" (10 bonus points if you can guess the play), but some young couple rented out the entire boat for a private tour just before we got there. Then the "Cleopatra" had mechanical difficulties (Where is Marc Antony when you need him?) and then we finally ended up on the "Titania" which is beschert anyway because she is one of my favorite characters. And guess what we saw while cruising on the River Thames?
Why yes, that is Big Ben and the House of Parliament. It is so unreal in person. The intricacies of the architecture and the detail on the clock are so outstanding, pictures can't do them justice, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
While walking around later I thought it might be a good idea to take an arsty photograph as well. Different Angle.
Seeing things like Big Ben while walking around in London is like living in a fairy tale, or more accurately, like walking through a dream sequence of every work of British literature set in London I've ever read. This place is so fascinating because on one hand, everyone knows what Big Ben looks like and everyone has their own particular image of what London is, but on the other it is so different to be here in person, it is incomparable to reading Peter Pan and thinking you know what London is. We've been talking in class this week about our mythical London versus the one we've encountered in real life, and Big Ben really represents that mythical London for me, so it was really cool to see it in real life. Admittedly, my imaginary London also perpetually foggy and there are Dickensian wayfaring orphans on every street, so imagination isn't everything.
We stopped by a book market while exploring a bit and found a real treasure. British edition of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And yes, I am aware there is a very creepy man in the right of this picture.
Other exciting places we visited today include the exterior of the Charles Dickens Coffee Shop, and the Blue circle plaque indicates that he lived in the apartment above the shop while he was writing in London. Which is kind of sweet. We saw where Rudyard Kipling lived for a bit in London as well, which ruled.
The most amazing thing to me about London so far is the architecture. Every building has its own very special design and each one must have been so painstakingly designed and built. The exterior surfaces are just breathtaking to behold. All you have to do is look up wherever you are and there is some amazing building or terrace or bridge at a different eye level. I could never get enough of just walking around the streets and staring at buildings.
Just so I don't get yelled at anymore, I wouldn't expect a post every day from now on. I am quite a busy student and I absolutely insist on quality over quantity in my blog posts. But don't worry, because I'll still be posting at least 3 per week for my assignments, so I promise my (very few) loyal readers that you will get all the juicy details of my experience and I won't leave anything out unless it is absolutely too obscene to print on the internet. Or I just don't want anyone to read it.