"The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results" - Albert Einstein

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"There's a Moral in There Somewhere" - Pleasure's Progress

So, I've been getting a lot of questions from random blog followers (my immediate family and closest friends who've I've threatened to hurt if they don't read this), which is so nice. But everyone wants to know if I'm enjoying myself. Apparently I haven't been verbose enough in describing my actual emotions for being over here. So I'll go ahead and answer for everyone.

Q: Jaclyn, Oh My God how is London do you love it?
A: It's amazing. I love it so much I'm never coming home.

I can't decide if I'm kidding yet. I suppose only time will tell.

Now then, back to the more exciting escapades around the city.

On Thursday our class took an excursion to see Sir John Soane's Museum, the Hunterian Museum, and Middle Temple Hall. Sir John Soane's was really really cool. The whole museum is a personal collection he had in his own home, filled with books, architectural columns, statues, and busts, paintings by Hogarth and even a sarcophagus among TONS of other things. It is absolutely an incredible house to behold. The trickiness of it is the house is two wide in front but three wide in back, so you think you've finished waling through it, but there is always another twist or turn.
Sir John Soane's Museum from the Front

The Hunterian museum is based out of the Royal Surgeons Academy and is full of preserved severed limbs of animals and humans. It the kind of thing that Dexter fans would die over. Admittedly is was a little bit gross for my taste, but it was still interesting. And the coolest thing by far was the Middle Temple Hall where "Twelfth Night" was staged for the first time in 1601. My inner (actually very outward) Shakespeare Nerd went a little ballistic. I touched the building. Just saying.

On Friday I went with some friends to South Bank for breakfast. We found this adorable little cafe next to the river where we got English tea and crepes. Crepes are so yummy. And just for the record, English Tea here is amazing. To put this in perspective for my American readers, I haven't had any coffee since I've gotten here, and the Tea is better anyway. I never thought I'd go a whole week without coffee, but I'm for sure gonna go the full six as long as I can keep drinking Tea all day long.

From breakfast we went to the Tower London, which was also amazing. We took lots of great pictures, saw the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and the Crown Jewels. I think I'm going to ask my parents for the giant jeweled Orb that every English Monarch holds on their coronation day as a birthday present. It seems like the quintessential London souvenir. If not that then I'll settle for Queen Victoria's small diamond Tiara or crown of Queen Elizabeth I. They seemed pretty useful as well.

Following the visit to the jewels we went into the white tower and saw an exhibit full of armor used by various British Monarchs, including a set by Henry VIII which was really cool. However, if I had to choose a favorite set of armor though, it would be that of King Edward VI. Good for all the armor needs of a nine year old.

On Saturday I went to the British Museum with my friend Allison, which is gigantic and unbelievable. We saw the Rosetta Stone, A Statue of Ramses II, Alaskan Totem poles, Asian drawings and silk paintings, Egyptian sarcophagi, an Easter Island statue and so much more. The building is filled with so many objects that are just unreal to look at in person. Every single object has its own unique history and everything is SO OLD!

An Ancient Egyptian Scarab. Like from Aladdin, only much bigger. Probably would make for one hell of a cave. I'm sure that Genie would rule.

From there we had a tradition English Afternoon Tea at this marvelous little shop called the Tea and Tattle. I highly recommend you go there immediately. It was so good. By far my favorite scones to date. I'm gonna gain at least 10 pounds on scones this trip. If I can help it. With clotted cream and raspberry jam. And tea and cakes and sandwiches too.

The Royal Opera House put on a free show in Covent Garden of "Pleasure's Progress" by William Hogarth, which was absolutely FABULOUS! It is "A Tale of Sex, Wigs, Wags and Bawds." Absolutely hilarious. Full of wonderful anecdotes of country women turned to prostitution and the always relevant message for youngsters: "When your job is to shag, then a shag is a drag."

This morning I went to Greenwich Market, which is full of booths and street vendors and was delightful fun. As much as I have loved the city of London, I have to say that being in Greenwich has been my favorite part thus far. the city is so quaint and everyone has been so nice to me. And it is very manageable and obviously it is gorgeous. There is no other city in the world where you can just wake up, grab authentic tea and a scone and read Oscar Wilde next to the River Thames. A more picturesque moment probably doesn't even exist in the imaginations of the world. I suppose if I could do that every morning for the rest of my life, I would.

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