OK, I've been really lazy about updating this blog in the last couple of weeks. The last week that I was in England was so busy and then I have no excuse about last week. Just pure laziness. Oh, well.
Last week in England: I'm a little fuzzy on the details (how quickly we forget!) but I'll give it a go. I got back to the dorms on Monday the 30th from the mini break. It was like returning home after a long vacation. Once in London, I knew exactly where I needed to go and how to get there. Everybody trickled in Monday.
On Tuesday the 31st, the class went to the National Art Library which is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. There, we got to see some really fun book art including my favourite book ever, Drawings in a Nutshell. It was a little book of drawings (of nuts) inside of a walnut shell. So very cute!
After the museum, Rachel and I went to get Indian Food near Hyde Park. Yumm, Indian food. That is one of the things I am really missing from England (and I didn't even eat that much there!).
The next day, the class got up early and headed off to Greenwich by boat. We got there early for our appointment to view the Caird Library in the Royal Maritime Museum so people walked into town to get breakfast and caffeine. The library there had some fascinating objects. Here is a picture of the group looking at some things.
We got to see the naval log of Blackbeard's capture, letters from Lord Nelson to his wife and to his mistress (the one to his wife told her the marriage was over), pictures of the rescue of the Titanic survivors and the iceberg that sunk it, a medicine book from the HMS Bounty that was bound in the sail of the Bounty after the mutiny, a book printed in Antarctica, and much more. It was fascinating to be able to hold such historical documents. I loved seeing the type of things a maritime library might hold.
After the library visit, some of us made our way up to the Royal Observatory. Let me tell you, it is on top of a large hill. But we persevered and made it to the top. We even got to see the red ball (shown here) that, everyday at 1, rises and falls to mark time. You know, of course, that Greenwich is the place from which we get Greenwich Mean Time and is also where the Prime Meridian is located.
Speaking of the Prime Meridian, here is me (and knitting) at the Prime Meridian.
The sock had a fun time hanging out on the line, too.
After coming back down the hill, a group of us went to a pub for lunch. Afterwards, I wandered around looking at the town and the shops a little bit and went back to Waterloo by bus. It was interesting to arrive by boat and leave by land. You definitely got to see a different view of everything.
The next day our class visited the Barbican Library, a public library located in the square mile of the City of London.
I'm so glad that we finally had a chance to visit a public library. The librarians who guided us around were so very nice and full of interesting information. They even took us down to the staff area for a tea break. I think tea breaks should be brought back to America. We should also bring the English tea here because it is so much better. OK, tea praising is over now.
After the library tour, Angie and I rushed over to the theatre where Mary Poppins was playing in order to get matinée tickets. We were lucky to get some within the price range we were willing to pay. If you get a chance to see this play, DO IT. The set was AMAZING and magical. The acting was wonderful and the songs were so much fun. They expanded more on the movie. Someone told me that it was more like the book. (I didn't even know there was a book!) The only annoying part of the afternoon were the kids behind us. They kept kicking the back of our seats, talking, and rustling crisp packages. The one hit me in the back of the head a couple of times. At least the play was so good that they didn't detract too much from the experience.
That evening (I think?) Carrie, Haylie, Cortni, Angie, Stephanie, Wes (Stephanie's husband) and I went to the Sherlock Holmes Pub.
The next morning, the class went to the Guildhall Library which in the same area as the Barbican. The Guildhall has an amazing collection about London, books about it, prints, pictures, everything! I was able to find a book about London's fires for Dad.
That afternoon (I think?), Cortni, Angie, Stephanie, Carrie and I went to lunch in a pub. Carrie went back to meet a friend and the rest of us continued on to Covent Garden Market. I found the coolest bag EVER and some other gifts for people. I really love that bag. Love it. I'll post a picture of it in my next entry. We all found some fun stuff in Covent Garden but didn't have nearly enough time to poke through every store and booth there. Lack of time seemed to be a common theme for that last week.
Everyone in the program had to go to a Practicum over at Kings College where we had the Reception the first week. In the Practicum, every professor stood up and said what his or her class had done this month. Then a student got up and told about the final project they were going to be doing.
Thankfully, the Practicum didn't last as long as we thought it would and we had time to take this picture before going out to celebrate the end of the class and Mandy's birthday.
Mandy, Rachel, and Meredith had dinner over at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (can I just say that I love that name of the pub?) and then were going to be going over to the Blackfriars Pub. We went to the Blackfriars in the hope of meeting them there and getting something to eat. Turns out the kitchen at the Blackfriars closes after lunch. We hung out there for a little while hoping to meet up with the others but then decided to go find something to eat. As we left, who should we run into? Mandy, Rachel and Meredith! Everyone decided to head over to Doggetts, a pub along the river where a group of us had eaten the first day because someone remembered that the kitchen stayed open late. Here is a picture on the Blackfriars bridge along the way from the Blackfriars pub to Doggetts.
We got there minutes before the kitchen closed and were lucky enough to get our orders in. We sat outside on the terrace, had dinner, drank, and laughed the night away. Once the terrace closed, we moved inside until the pub closed around midnight.
The library science people were lucky enough not to have an exam the next day and I felt really bad that Haylie and Chris did.
I wandered around London the next morning because it was the last real day that I would be there. I ended up seeing the Changing of the Guard at the Horse Guards Palace.
After the Changing, I went into the Household Cavalry Museum. It just opened on July 9 so I was very happy to be able to visit it. I found it very interesting to learn more about the history of the Horse Guards and the individual soldiers.
That evening, we all went to a final dinner at the Wellington pub. I've gotten to know the Steak and Ale Pies of English pubs very well. I should have taken tasting notes. Anyway, we had a final dinner and pint at the Wellington. It was a bittersweet thing. I hated thinking that it was the last time we would all be together. It is funny but we really got to know each other this past month. I miss everyone horribly.
After dinner, I went to meet Mandy, Rachel and Meredith at the Cheshire Cheese. That place made ME feel tall! I loved it!
It was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. The inside was a little bit like a rabbit warren, full of twists and turns. Definitely a building with personality.
The next morning, I woke up early to see everyone off on the buses (and because everyone was making so much noise in the courtyard!). Stephanie and I were there to say goodbye to everyone. She said it was like what she imagined sending your kid off to the first day of kindergarten must be like.
I had a little (ha!) time until I had to catch the train to Heathrow so I tried to visit a couple more places that I had missed on Saturday. I finally got to take a picture of this statue on Haymarket St. I had seen it on a bus ride earlier in the month but wasn't fast enough to get a picture then.
Then I wandered by Piccadilly Circus and happened to catch this picture of the Eros statue.
Talk about timing :)
I caught the train to Heathrow (note to self: pack lighter!) without much difficulty. Got there in plenty of time. Because I am on the terrorist watch list (no joke), once the screener saw the note on more boarding pass, I got taken straight through the long line to a special screening place. The extra security screening did have an advantage in that I didn't have to wait in the long line. There were plenty of open seats on the plane home and I got an entire row in Business class to myself.
The problem with the flight home occurred once I reached Chicago. Weather delays and cancellations were causing everything to get backed up and there was no way a person flying standby was going to get on a plane. So, coordinating with Mom, I went to a hotel for the night and went back to the airport in the morning. (I had been up for 24 hours by the time I finally got to bed. A very long day.) Again, the extra security whipped me through the security line. I was able to get a flight home to Columbus and was VERY happy to be back home.
Whew, congratulations for making it through this very long post. I'll leave you with another group picture.