misspotter: miss potter at school (Default)
[personal profile] misspotter
I'm now in Austria, and about a week behind posting because none of our hotels have had free wifi til this one. Sorry!

Firstly, the women are gorgeous...Perhaps it's to do with the smart winter coats/hats/gloves everyone is wearing, or maybe people have less of a tendency to be morbidly obese than in America, but nearly all the girls I've laid eyes on look so elegant and well-groomed. Even the goths, like the girl with rainbow dreads, clip-on horns and lip piercings I saw on the underground yesterday, seem classier. Perhaps, again, that's the accent talking.

Secondly, VS was right, the bratty little children with posh accents are hilarious. Even when they're chucking tantrums about wanting sweets they're adorable. Just recall, "Daddy, I want another pony" from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. My mum is a morning person, so we usually breakfast before 8am, which means on our walk to breakfast we usually encounter children on their way to school. Since it's winter, they're all wearing giant puffy coats over their school uniforms which make them look as wide as they are tall. Which, when you're only a metre high, is cute overload.

There was a school excursion to Westminster Abbey the other day and the teacher told them not to lean on glass cases in the museum, then asked them why. The reasons they gave, ranging from "you might leave a mark!" to "you might fall through!" were delivered so solemnly in posh accents that I wanted to laugh.


Day 4
After getting my fangirling out of the way, we were free to explore London itself like normal tourists. We began with the London Eye, in the hope that it'd give us a good general overview of the place. The Eye is a giant ferris wheel that runs slowly and continuously. You ride for about 30 minutes and get a fantastic view of Big Ben, parliament, Westminster, the bridges and more...and they give you a map, which was much appreciated by yours truly, who struggles with directions. The ride ticket also came with a ticket to a "4D experience" where they not only showed you a film in 3D, they also pumped smells of flowers, candy and curry to accompany the picture.

We then visited the Inner Temple, a hub for lawyers where my maternal grandfather once studied and practised, to have lunch with the archivist. My first impression was that it was a magnet for all the biggest snobs in London and felt hugely underdressed even in my clinical outfit. But it was beautiful, with all the old buildings and magnificent gardens. I especially liked the Fountain which had a quote from Charles Dickens and a sign with "don't feed the fish", but unfortunately there were no fish visible (I suspect they had been removed and placed in a tank somewhere since temperatures at night are close to freezing now). And then we went shopping! And man, Oxford St is truly amazing. Like Orchard Rd in Singapore. But I must admit it's annoying when there is more than one of each store on the same street and you can't decide which one to go to. I particularly enjoyed Uniqlo, which is a Japanese stand famous for its trendy thermals. I think my mother and I spent 200 pounds each there :P luckily we will get lots of tax back!

Everyone raves about Topshop. But to be honest, I found it a tad overrated, overpriced and oversized. What I really liked was Topman! I liked how there were preppy clothes, affordable, quality bags (got a satchel) and even "happy socks"! I also went down to Tottenham Court Rd, paying homage to the area Apparated to by the Trio in Book 7, and stopped at a Starbucks for an eggnog latte.

I followed it up with a lovely dinner with DO, from med school, who was en route to Birmingham for a debating competition. He made fun of me for my choice of a salad (an antioxidant salad). I pointed out that it was probably the least healthy of the group, since the anti-aging and purifying salads had about half the calories of mine. D then ran off to see Les Mis, while I wandered around. I found a lot of theatres, Chinatown, and several strip clubs. But my mother and brother were quite anxious for me to return, so despite wanting to stay out and watch The Hobbit before all my Australian friends, I hurried back to the hotel at about 9pm.

Day 5
We were joined by my dad. But he would only arrive at about midday, so to fill in the time we visited the Trafalgar square, then the National Gallery. Highlights included the Fighting Temeraire (the one in Skyfall in the Q scene!), the Leonardo cartoon, the giant altarpieces, the paintings of royalty and "The Ugly Duchess" which featured Paget's disease!

We bought takeaway Japanese for lunch and headed back to the hotel to wait for dad. When he arrived, we headed back out to Trafalgar Square and did a walk down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen was not staying (according to the union flag flying that night). We had Chinese for dinner (dad having his favourite Singapore noodles) and dashed off to see Spamalot.

Spamalot was amazing! So funny (ok, I get what MT always says about Spamalot being intelligent humor and Avenue Q being toilet humor, but I loooooove the puppets so much!). I was especially a fan of the fiery-haired Lady of the Lake, who had the most spectacular voice and was really gorgeous (as well as being about a foot and a half shorter than King Arthur!) Sir Lancelot was also even gayer than I could've imagined, and I loved his boyfriend as well (I know girls who couldn't hit those high notes!) Sir Gallahad also made me think of a flamboyant JS, probably just because of the hair and the lankiness. And the cheerleaders were the cutest! My only complaint was that the theatre was so heavily heated that I could barely breathe at times. Then it was back on the tube home (which we were now experts at thanks to a very clear iPhone app).

Day 6
We began with the Monument (to the Fire of London) which contained 310 steps. Next came the Tower of London, where we missed out on seeing Chris Rankin skating in a Gryffindor scarf, got held up by my mother buying bling and silk in the gift shop, and in our rush forgot to see the Tower where the Princes were supposedly killed (I really must get onto reading Shakespeare's Histories). The Jewel tower was probably the highlight - despite not being able to take photos, you were welcome to touch models of some of the crowns.

Lunch was Fish and Chips at a pub (where I also tried out a Pimms). We then headed up to the Tower Bridge, which included a super cheesy film featuring the architect who actually said, "and then I died," and was replied to by another character who actually said, "sorry, old chap". Oh, and Queen Victoria, who is my favourite monarch, with the Elizabeths close behind (everyone, go watch The Young Victoria. It is AMAZING).

At night, we were treated to a Peer Gynt concert at the Barbican Centre. We wrapped up the night with some late-night Chinatown cusine. Which my brother was not happy about because it was next to a gay bar. Which served sugar cane juice, which my father proceeded to order for me despite my protestations that I wanted tea.

Day 7
This was our Windsor day! We took a train to Slough (pronounced to rhyme with "wow") and then a train that only stopped at Windsor and Eton central. Since it's December, Eton was closed. But there were many people heading up to Windsor still. 

The Queen was in! Unfortunately these days, visitors don't tend to get a glimpse of her. Only her smoking chimney. And several of the state rooms which she uses from time to time for banquets, drinks, knighting people etc. There was even a "Crimson Room" which made me think of Jane Eyre's "Red Room". And there was an impressive display of weapons! No photos unfortunately. I also really enjoyed Queen Mary's doll house, the royal china and the painting collection. We also had a guide who knew a lot of random historical facts and began more than half his sentences with "however".

Dinner was a slightly rushed affair with takeaway Japanese again.

At night, we had a Carols by Candlelight concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Apart from the classic songs played, there was also a high novelty factor with the Mozart orchestra being decked out in period gear (including wigs!) and their conductor/harpsichord player being a very funny guy. The sing-alongs were extremely fun, though I wish I could've joined in the Gloria and Messiah too because I still recall most of the alto parts. In fact, I think I'd sung or played 90% of the programme during high school choir or string orchestra!

Day 8
My father and mother, by lining up before 10am, managed to get us rush tickets to the opera. We therefore didn't manage to go to the Zoo like I wanted (so I could wink at a boa constrictor). Instead, we went to Westminster Abbey (which I am very glad I did, due to Poet's corner and the graves of kickass women like Elizabeth I), then St Paul's (where I climbed all 528 steps to the uppermost lookout). Then we crossed the Milennium Bridge to get to the Globe theatre, where we got a tour from a hilarious blonde girl in rockabilly gear. 

Then, once more we boosted the profits of the Wasabi Japanese fast food chain.

La Boheme was phenomenal! The all-boy numbers were fun, the duets were glorious, and I heard a lot of sniffing at the end. We were quite far up so we couldn't fully appreciate the sets or costumes, but our programmes had some gorgeous pictures. It was also fun to observe the other members of the audience, some of whom were dressed up in furs and ballgowns...
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