Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tales from London

My first European adventure truly was the trip of a lifetime. I had a great time and it was good to spend time talking with Grace without having to worry about cell phone minutes and battery life. I was worried the trip would be exhausting, but I managed to strike a good balance between experiencing London and relaxing. I saw some great Shakespeare and some interesting Shakespeare. I saw the Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company...they chose to set it in the arctic, so that was...um interesting, but I did get to see Patrick Steward as Prospero so that was cool. We also saw Titus Andronicus at the Globe which was really amazing. Seeing Shakespeare outdoors in the way it was meant to be seen was quite an experience. Also one of the audience members passed out near the end of the first act, so that was an added bonus. Grace had said people were passing out during the show due to the "gore", but as a former theatre major who knows how the "magic" is made, that kind of thing doesn't affect me at all. It was great and the guy was fine, he returned to his seat for the 2nd act. I spent a lot of time on the Riverbank near the National Gallery taking photos, but also did some of the typical tourist things. I took the tours of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Grace and I also happened upon the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace by accident. There was quite a crowd, so we didn't get to see much, but once it thinned out I got some photos. Grace took one of our feet which I thought turned out cool. It ended up being the only photo of the two of us we took the entire trip. We also took a day trip to Oxford which I loved. They have the BEST bookshops, and I loved the architecture. Also I got a dark chocolate covered shortbread square which was quite possibly the best thing I've ever eaten in Oxford, so it may be my favorite place ever. We wandered through a garden/church grounds there as well (I'll have to get the exact name from Grace). I got some of my best photos there I think. I'm still wading through the 400+ I took on this trip and post processing the RAW images, but overall I'm really pleased at the photos I got. Visiting Stratford was also great, though I was disappointed at how "commercial" it was. You wander down a street of lovely historical architecture and right by Shakespeare's birthplace and at the end of the road would be a Pizza Hut or Starbucks. It dampened the experience a bit for me. I also enjoyed visiting the Thistle pub in Stratford where Grace and I had post-theatre drinks a few nights. I'm still a little jet lagged and with the exchange rate I'll probably be paying this trip off for awhile, but it was well worth it. More photos to follow in the coming days! (I promise I'll spare you the pain of all 400 though) :-P

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