Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Full Circle- Lindsay's London "Must" List

Thought I'd head off this blog by stopping where I started. That is with the previous third year ladies telling us unexperienced second years what there is to see in London. What their top experiences were. I'd like to make my London "Must" list.

To the pre-Londoners to come:

Every Day Musts:
1. Boots is your CVS/Walgreens- learn it, love it.
2. Sainsbury's is your most local grocer, dig?
3. Get your London phone at Carphone Warehouse.
4. Tube pass at the Tottenham station.
5. Money at Barclays (try to use ATMs inside the buildings)
6. Shipping or mailing postcards at the Mail Boxes, etc. right on Great Russell.

Must Attend Theatres:
1. See what you want to see, do some exploring, even if it means making a mistake or two. Sometimes you'll be glad you did!
2. Old Vic. Kevin Spacey's theatre. Best play I saw in London played there.
3. The other best play was at the Almeida.
4. If 39 Steps is still playing (which it may be), I highly recommend it for a fun, physical comedy romp!
5. Shakespeare's Globe in London on the South Bank. I felt closer to Shakespeare and his work here than even at the RSC in Stratford upon Avon. Great plays, great atmosphere. If you have the option, PAY TO SIT and RENT A CUSHION. Standing tickets are 5Quid, but do you really want to stand for 3 hours???
6. Barbican. There are so many different kinds of art happening in this building, its a great place to chill and explore.
7. The Unicorn is one of London's best children's theatres, but they do a great job with Shakespeare and do a great job of telling the story.

1. British- I'd say its cool to see the Egyptian stuff.
2. V & A - had some neat stuff!
3. For the film fan, the London Film Museum was a great time.

-Regarding day trips planned: attend as many of them as possible, they are a great way to send home pictures to your parents! Tons of photo ops.
-If you're interested, I say fill out your London trip with more than just shows. See if your favorite band is playing, go see a dance concept show, go on a Jack the Ripper walk, they're great fun and help you see a different side of London.

Okay, we all know Oxford Street is fantastic, but if you're looking for something a little more obscure and a little less touristy:
CAMDEN CAMDEN CAMDEN- take the tube on the Northern Line to Camden Town, take a right and walk over the little canal bridge, to your left will be the Camden Lock market...and it is glorious.

Mainstream Shopping Musts: Harrod's, Selfridges, Marks and Spender, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Liberty, Carnaby Street, TopShop. At least once. But please do not spend all your time and money there.

1. Waggamama (close, cheap- I recommend the curry)
2. Pizza Express (about 10Pounds for a meal, but delicious and close)
3. Uh...chipotle?! Down Tottenham Court (where it turns into Charing Cross. Wonderfully, its right across from a Foyles which is their Barnes n Noble).
4. Ultimate Burger is just that. ULTIMATE.
5. Bar Italia in SOHO. Legit Italian. (Take out option)
6. Soho Pizzeria near Carnaby St.
7. The Old Dutch- crepes that will BLOW YOUR MIND.
8. Maison Bertaux on Greek St. A lovely tradition passed on from past Asolo students.

I think traveling is great. I went to Paris for a weekend, but just going away a weekend was enough for me. Keep in mind if you go away every weekend, you miss out on the weekend scene in London and may be exhausted for classes the next week. That can catch up with you. I've seen it happen.

1. Don't go to the Camden People's Theatre. It is a waste of time. Period.
2. Get too excited for Stratford upon Avon. To me it seemed over-commercialized and a bit of a let down. It's a cool town, but the RSC did disappoint.
3. (I know I said this before) Don't spend all your money on Oxford Street. Look around! Portabello, Greenwich, Spittalfields, Camden, Carnaby are all amazing places to shop and get little goodies and HELLO, you can haggle there!
4. Don't wear yourself out to the point of being ill. You're in LONDON, but it doesn't mean you can't spend a nice quiet evening in with your classmates having some 2 Liters of Cider and Beer from Sainsbury's.
5. Don't overpack. Seriously. You can buy ANYTHING in London. Also, DO bring a couple different sizes of suitcase, in case you go away for a weekend. Have a "weekend" bag.

1. Go to HIGH TEA. Yes, it costs like 40 Pounds, but oh my lord is it worth it.
2. See a musical. I know for some that may not be a problem, but I think you should at least see one. I saw Les Mis and it was GREAT!! Ps- I'm pretty sure the understudies go on during the weekly matinees, and they are so fresh its fantastic!
3. Go to the Travel meeting (its usually in the first few days, they'll let you know). That's how I got to go to Paris for 3 days all expenses paid (save food) for $300! Yes, dollars. Actually, it did include breakfast, so woohoo! Also, a boat cruise on the Seine. Delightful.
4. Take advantage of lastminute.co.uk and check and see if they're still doing "anightlessordinary.co.uk". Great deals for tickets. This way you don't have to walk all the way down there.
5. Bring 2 adapters with you. You'll probably need 2 (mostly for the women).

Not in the Lion King sense, but:
1. Know that classes do take up time. You ARE also there to study (and Mark, Charmean, and Patsy are all delightful people). So try not to come to class wasted. It just makes things unpleasant for all. Not that any of you would.
2. You may end up at the top floor of the building. Be prepared to climb up to 90 stairs (one way) to get to your flat.
3. To share ONE bathroom between 5 women. It can happen. To share a fridge and stove and do dishes and share bathroom space.
4. Buy toilet paper- you can rotate, that's what we did.
5. Laundry could be super far away from you. As could the trash. Be prepared.

BONUS: If you go to Paris!!! Musts:
1. The Louvre- it is exquisite.
2. Montmartre.
3. Notre Dame.
4. Eat crepes and quiche.
5. Boat cruise on Seine at NIGHT (10pm or so).
6. Top of Eiffel. It's just cool, man.
7. Versailles. It's amazing.

Most of all, enjoy.

So, I know this is a lot...and I've probably forgotten some, but hey, it's a start.


Thursday, June 17, 2010


It is now my last night in London.
I am watching Friends and eating pizza. Trying to get myself ready for America, I suppose. I spent today over at the Victoria and Albert Museum with Mr. Danny Jones. Most unfortunately, I forgot my camera. I got to see some GREAT exhibits, though. I really enjoyed the Grace Kelly fashion exhibit and there was a theatrical performance museum. It was lovely.
Since I last wrote, I visited the Tate Modern. I must be some kind of square because on the whole, I wasn't the biggest fan. Glad I went, though! There were a few interesting things and it was wonderful to see some Dali paintings, as always.
Then, I saw the BEST PLAY I've seen while I'm in London. Sam Mendes' Bridge Project production of "As You Like It". It was beautiful and inspiring and unforgettable! I cannot rave enough.
Then, Kim and her lovely English bloke, Alex and I went to High Tea. It was such an event! We dressed to the nines and went over to the Rueben's Hotel by the Palace and had tea. I'm a bit ashamed to say how much I spent, but my lord it was an event. It was beautiful.

What a lovely time I've had here.
I've seen 19 plays.
I've been to 2 concerts.
I've been to Paris and Versailles.
I've been to 7 museums.
I've had countless cups of tea.
And I am so excited to see my husband!

This is Lindsay, signing off!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


So...today was mostly a lazy day.
Did some laundry. Painted my nails.
And then my roommate, Angela, comes home and tells me about, you guessed it, Camden. And asks me if I'd like to go with her.
So, I hum and haw, and say okay.

This is the best place I've ever been. In London.
There's shopping, there's foood, there's...well, what else do you need?!!

Angela and I get a fajita and steak stuffed tortilla where you spoon how much sour cream and salsa you want.

Then, we sick on the back of these bikes and at a big long bar table that overlooks a little canal! Fantastic!

I bought an amazing green leopard skirt. Yeah, I said green leopard.
And a cute little gift for my sister, which I cannot reveal, because she may read this.

Then, I got some nutella, banana, and strawberry crepes that were TO DIE for.

Only got to hang out for about an hour today, so I think I'm gonna have to go back tomorrow!


Friends in Fun Places

I know, I know. It's been a while since I've written. Nearly 2 weeks to be exact. I think a sort of panic set in that my time here was running short, so I've been running around like a maniac. Since I last checked in I've:

Seen Enron, Antony and Cleopatra, Henry IV Part 1, All My Sons, Les Miserables, The Tempest, and Insane in the Brain.

I've visited Stratford Upon Avon (Shakespeare's Birthplace) and started a new class with the all-encompassing Patsy Rodenburg. I am unqualified to attempt to explain her brilliance.

Here's what wikipedia has to say:

"She trained in Voice Studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama and is a published voice and acting coach. She has worked regularly with Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ralph Fiennes, Joseph Fiennes, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Natalie Portman, to name only a few. She was previously in residence with the Royal Shakespeare Company (9 years) and also works with the Royal Court Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Almeida Theatre, London. She has also worked extensively with the Moscow Art Theatre, Complicite, Cheek by Jowl, Comédie-Française, etc. She directed a production of King Lear in Los Angeles in 2008. Patsy Rodenburg teaches in the United States at the Michael Howard Studios in New York City."

Not too shabby. We're currently working on monologues from King Lear. I've chosen a Cordelia:

"Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all."

Short. Sweet. To the point.
As a class we have a 6 hour marathon session with Patsy this upcoming Monday.

Yesterday a most wonderful thing happened. My good friend AJ from HIGH SCHOOL (who happens to be studying abroad in England) came down to London for the day to hang with me! How lucky am I? I've known this lovely bloke since I was 15 (and he was 13).

Picked him up around 1:00pm at Victoria Station. We had some gourmet Pret a Manger in a local park and caught up. Then, we set off to find the Doctor Who Police Box. Something my husband wanted me to find. After much huff and puff, we found it! There it stands outside the Earls Court Tube Stop!

We then decided to head over to the British Museum, which is only a couple of blocks from where I live and yet I still had not visited it!

The most interesting collection, to me, was the Egyptian stuff. God love the Brits, they went down to Egypt and cleaned out those pyramids. I think they would've taken the pyramids, too, if they could've.

A large part of Egyptian history is the symbols of the Pharaohs. Scarabs, Cats, Ox, Falcons, and Dogs were some of the animals chosen. I think, if I were a Pharaohs, my symbol would definitely be a Falcon. I think they're awesome.

AJ and I then trucked it over the Leicester Square to see the beautiful Charlie Chaplin statue. Something I've wanted to see for so long. After all the hardships he went through toward the end of his life, it was lovely to see him commemorated in such a lovely, populated park.

We spent the rest of our evening eating at Chipotle, seeing Insane in the Brain at the Peacock Theatre, and then having one last pint before he had to catch his coach back to Coventry.

What a lovely day!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ohhh..Champs Elysees

As I last wrote, my next European Escapade would be to the lovely, romantic Paris! Classmate Angela and I signed up for a three day guided tour with the International Friends travel co.

We left Saturday morning at 6:00am.
It took about 2 hours to drive by bus to the port where we were to take our ferry.
We then took the fairy from Dover (white cliffs and castle in the distance) to Calais (another hour and a hald), and continued on bus to Paris (an additional 3 hours). Now, the ferry was so large, cars and buses could drive onto it, so we had the same bus all weekend.

After arriving in Paris, we had a coach tour of the city, which was a whirlwind and then were set free.

I had my first French meal (thankfully I know how to pronounce "quiche" and "lorriane". It also set a prescedent for my meals there as I mostly ate "quiche", "crepes" and "croque monsieur" (which is a fancy grilled cheese and ham sandwich).

Then, the next day we set out for a bunch of sight-seeing!
Sacre Couer (forgive my spelling), Notre Dame (got to see mass inside), Versailles, boat cruise on the Seinne, climbing to the tip top of the Eiffel Tower, to name a few.

Outside Notre Dame:

Me, in the courtyard of the Palace of Versailles:

Eiffel Tower from Boat Cruise:

Also, Art Nouveau is my favorite art movement. It came around in the early twentieth century and is just so graceful and beautiful. It was widely used in architecture in Barcelona, Spain, but Paris evidently has a great deal of it as well!

The final day (Monday), we went to the Louvre museum, which is an amazing collection of art, sculpture, pottery, paintings, and awesome.

I got to see the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and so many others.

My favorite painting was called "Psyche and Cupid". It is so sweet and romantic, I just loved it.

Then, we sailed back to England. And as the white chalk cliffs of dover came into view, I realized I only have 2 weeks left in England, so I'd better make the most of them!


Friday, May 28, 2010

The Half-Way Mark

Hello All,

I realized that this Thursday I've been in London for 3 weeks, which marks half of my time here done! I thought it would be lovely to commemorate the great times I've had here by consolidating everything I've done into a list!

Famous Locations I've Visited:
La Cock
Salisbury Cathedral
Tower of London
Westminster Abbey
London Film Museum
Jack the Ripper Walk
Portabello Road
Greenwich Market

Restaurants I've Tried:
Pizza Express
Cafe LA Rouge
Pret a Manger

Shows/Entertainment I've Seen:
A Fine Frenzy
Ingrid Michaelson
Mrs. Warren's Profession
Peter Pan
39 Steps
Merchant of Venice
Uncle Vanya
War Horse

Stores I've Liked:
Top Shop
H & M
Marks & Spencer

Despite the fact I've only been here 3 weeks, I'm pretty proud of how much I've gotten around and how busy I've kept myself. The next three weeks are sure to be no different!

Ah, London.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Short List

So, it's getting hard to blog often just because of everything, so here's the short list:

1.Saw War Horse- gorgeous production value. Not a piece for the actors, but the puppetry was masterful.
2.Went to the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Fantastic places. See photos!

And we got the quintessential "be in london-get close to a royal guard" photo!

The execution block for those who died within the tower walls:

Angela and I flashing our Abbey Badges.

3.Saw Uncle Vanya at the Camden People's Theatre. As Merchant of Venice was mediocre, this too was mediocre. I will not be returning to that theatre again.
4.Saw Macbeth today at the Globe Theatre. It was fantastic. The best was seeing the actor playing Macbeth truly in the moment. Reacting when his crown fell in a bowl of food by licking the sauce off the crown. Had to stand for all three hours, though...that was tough.
5.Saw Ingrid Michaelson in Concert tonight. She was such a beautiful and witty performer. And when she came out for an encore, I yelled out for her to play my favorite song, and then, she did!! It was glorious! Here's a video:

Future plans:
This weekend: PARIS!! Fantastic!