Ah... a weekend in London with my parents... what to say first! I suppose I should start with Münster where my parents arrived on Thursday night. It was so nice to see them again! even though I often go all of spring semester without seeing my family, I always miss them. Friday I got to show them around my little town and the little life I've made here, I feel so grown up! We had coffe at Frau Hensels with Elena and she took us on an Auto tour (should have been with bikes, but it was rainging... of course) to a little town nearby with a small chapel with a statue of the Piete that is a ´pilgrimage spot for Catholics. Then we all went out to dinner together. Saturday I drove with my parents to Köln where we saw the cathedral and went to the chocolate museum... which that much chocolate its bound to be a good trip, and we certainly stocked up in the gift shop. Then we flew to Gatwick airport in London where I managed to navigate us by train and underground to out hotel despite my mothers qualms about public transportation. London is very very BIG. And more spread out as far as sites go than the other cities I've been in. We stayed in a really fancy hotel where my mom was part of a Project Management conference. At first they put us in this super fancy sweet... and then realized that the girl at the desk has misread our name, but we still got to stay in it for one night and we definitely ate the entire complementary fruit basket and bottle of wine :)
Our first day in london we headed first to the National Gallery where we saw some of the big name older art work, Michealangelo, DeVinci, Rembrandt, Renior, Van Gohg, etc. We didn't even make it around the whole place, its quite big. Then we saw Buckingham Palace... Fancy Stuff! we just saw it from outside and took pictures of the guards and stuff. We walked through a bit of Hyde park too and then went to the London Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. Which might not exactly be traditional english fare but they gave me a huge diet coke with ice and free refills, just like home! so I was pretty happy. and I got a shirt :) Then we walked a bit more and saw Big Ben and parliment and Westminster Abby and we crossed the river and went on this big cool 'London Eye' observation wheel. It looked like a big ferris wheel but each car is a whole room for like ten people and it goes super high and moves really slow so you get a great view of the city. It was nifty.
On Monday Mom went to some of her conference stuff in the morning so it was Dad and my job to go to the half price theater tickets counter in the morning. Which we did and got tickets to a play called Oleanna, which I mostly wanted to see because it was with Julia Styles! But more about that later. First, we went to the Orangery at Kensington palace for lunch and tea where we had fancy food and fancier desserts. Then we walked to the ever fancy Harrods department store. I must say, its not a terribly pleasant place to shop. It's HUGE and PACKED with tourists. The food halls were pretty cool and they haves tons of overpriced designer clothes and what not. My mom and I did manage to find some jewelry for ourselves though :) Then we headed over to China Town near the theater where we had a big huge Chinese meal before the play. Dad and I had decided in the morning to go to a place with ducks hanging in the window, which we did and the duck was indeed tasty. Then... the play. It was quite short and just had two actors, Julia Styles and.... I forget the guys name but he was in Possesion with Gwenyth Paltrow and was the love interest motercycle guy in Erin Brockovitch, and I'm sure that Alexis can tell you who it is ;) It was set on a college campus, in a preffessor's office. The girl goes in to ask him to help her pass his class and ends up filing a complaint against him for being sexist and eliteist. He askes her back twice more and each time she has more grounds for complaint. Its supposed to say something about political correctess on campus. It did make you think, she seemed to be way exaggerating, and yet she was somehow still right, it just didn't feel logical. Anyway, I liked it, I'm not sure that my parents were impressed, it certainly was the big London Musical type piece.
Tuesday... Dad and I slept late while mom was busy being the important person that she is and then we all walked to 'Ye Old Cheshire Cheese' for an English pub lunch. Apparently it was one of Dicken's favorite pubs. Then we went to the Tower of London where we took a fun tour with one of the 'Beefeaters' as the guards are called and leanded about all the beheadings and murders and what not. And we saw the crown jewels and lots and lots of weapons. From there we walked to the Tate Modern Gallery to take in some modern art. My mother was unipressed, but Dad seemed interested and I always enjoy looking at a bit of the bazaar and questionable things called art. True, a plain blue canvas doesn't exacly move me, but niether do fifty painting of the same bible scene, and there was some good and interesting stuff in the Tate gallery too. Pollock, Rothko, Picasso, Warhol, Cezane, etc. At any rate, the moderness of the art gallery was certainly made up for by the play we saw that evening... A Midsumer Nights Dream (hence the blog title). We saw it in an outdoor theater in Regency park which was really cool. It was a really nice venue and its the perfect play to stage outside in a forest setting, it was very very well done.
So, that was the London trip. That with lots of walking and figuring out the Underground and such in between. London felt more to me like the US than the rest of Europe, big and bustling and lots of people workign and living there, not just tourists. And of course the english speaking helps, also there is still always the feeling that they will know you are forigne as soon as you open your mouth. It was a very fun trip and even nicer to do it with my parents to to have them come over here and share some European adventures with me. A bit of me wished I could fly back with them to the US instead of back here... but I think that was mostly the bit of me that doesn't want to write papers! I know I have things to finish up here and there's more fun to be had. No more big trips planned unless I make it to Munich and the town my grandma grew up in. We'll see, right now I have to try to get into academic gear again and delve into this Kafka paper like never before... woo hoo!
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.