LONDON! It seems like forever since I've been to London, but I can't wait to go back in March. It's basically the coolest city in the world. What's so cool about it? Well, aside from the fact that it's huge, it's also full of free museums and people who dress like they just stepped off the runway. It's a perfect blend of old, historical architecture and ultra-modern style. They cherish and preserve history, yet at the same time they're always moving toward the future. London is also very international; I heard so many different languages spoken just in our hotel lobby, not to mention the rest of the city. In Trafalgar Square, a couple of Korean kids came up and asked me for help with their London crossword puzzle. After making sure they weren't going to pick my pockets, I helped them and received some sort of microchip as an unconventional souvenir of my experience in London.
I ate in a crypt, attended an Evensong service in Westminster Abbey, saw DaVinci's "The Last Supper," navigated the tube, had sea bass and chorizo at a pub, and watched (what was left of) the sunset over the Thames. My friends and I were crazy to think we could "do London" in a couple of days; I honestly think it would take a lifetime. I guess that's why Samuel Johnson said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
So I know what at least two of you are wondering: did I accomplish the tasks in my London letter(s)? Well, not quite, but I got a few of them done, including eating fish and chips, going to the National Gallery, and eating in a pub. I was at Trafalgar Square, but I didn't climb the lions (yet). I haven't found Tocadero, Harrod's, the Apple Store, or the underground magic shop, but not to worry. I'll be in London at least two more times, and I still have a long list of things to see and do.
Anyway, after leaving London, I went to Hampton Court Palace, which has a fascinating history dealing with Henry VIII, his wives, and his Cardinal, Thomas Wolsey. Turns out Wolsey had the place built, and when he had a falling out with the king, he prolonged his life by a few years at least by giving the palace to Henry. Numerous other kings and queens have lived there, and parts of Pirates 4, The Young Victoria, and Sherlock Holmes 2 were filmed there as well.
After that exciting weekend, I returned home(still can't believe I live here!) and the next week was pretty normal...Yeah, right! More like, there were clogging sword dancers, singing in the Bistro downstairs, "My Immortal" story time in the lounge, and a historical tour of the manor (my favorite hallway is allegedly haunted). Oh, and guess what? I go to school here, too. I know it doesn't sound like it (ha ha). But I had a meeting with my Honors term paper adviser, Dr. Bujak, who is delightfully British and obsessed with English country houses. He gave me an idea for my paper that I'm actually pretty excited about: English Country Houses and Film. It's going to be about how country houses (like Harlaxton) are used in so many different genres, and how they work with the settings, moods, and plots of different films.
And speaking of films, I visited Stamford on Wednesday, where they filmed the Meryton scenes in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. But that's far from the only thing this town had going for it. It was so adorable, so old-fashioned and quaint. There were tons of shops, including one that sold books, stationery, and chocolate (perfection!). There was also a cheese shop in a cellar, which was amazing. The lady who ran it really knew her cheese, and everyone left with some of her products. We proclaimed her the cheese goddess of Stamford. Another fun fact: bathrooms cost 20 pence to use, so I had to pay to pee.
After we finished adventuring in Stamford, everyone was waiting for the fun double-decker bus to pick us up, and I encountered a group of fellow WKU students discussing what strategies they would use to survive if they were tributes in the Hunger Games. You can imagine my excitement upon stumbling upon that conversation (59 days until the movie, by the way)!
And then I went back to the manor, and then it was Thursday, and I did my laundry, and the internet ate my blog. So that's that. I had some really exciting weekend adventures, but I guess it would be cheating to go any further. So you'll get the rest this Thursday.
P.S. Today I heard this really great song called "We're Together." It's written and performed by someone really special and talented. I think you all know who I'm talking about. :)