Today revolved around beautiful sights and a lot of wide-eyed staring.
I got an early start this morning and headed down to the famed Victoria and Albert Museum. My roommate had told me it was an amazing place to spend the day and she was right. Unfortunately, I can only do museums for about 2-3 hours before I have to bolt. I’m nervous that might not go over so well in Paris…
Anyway, I wanted to head to the V+A to see their exhibit: Ballgowns, British Glamour Since 1950. It was pretty amazing! I got to see dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth and the late Princess Diana as well as more modern dresses that appeared on Beyonce and Sandra Bullock. All of the famous British designers were represented: Westwood, McQueen, Erdem, etc. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos. Another negative: the exhibit itself was kind of small and I was expecting more since I had to pay extra to see it. Luckily, the rest of the museum was free!
From there I checked out the regular fashion exhibit, sculptures, painting, photography, etc. The place went on forever and literally represented every part of the world and every era! They even had a theatre/performance section which was cool. It featured costumes, props, sets and the like from actual productions. I loved seeing the concept art for Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour and the costumes from Lion King The Musical. While I was visiting, this wing was kind of empty so I was scared shitless when I turned the corner and came face to face with dozens of theatre masks. Next corner: a life-size rhinoceros. (I couldn’t take a photo cause the rhino kept looking at me funny.)
After the museum, I went to Oxford Street and got a feel for the metropolitan life of London. The street is gorgeous with old-style buildings and flags hanging everywhere. But the best part would have to be the shops that line the streets for blocks. Although we have Forever 21 and H&M at home, I just had to stop in! Everything is just cooler in London!
I went into this amazing department store called Selfridges. Unfortunately, I was running late so could only stay for a few minutes but this store has everything. Literally, EVERYTHING! It puts every Sears, Bay, even Target, to shame! The women’s department is comprised of a bunch of big brands (H&M, American Apparel, FCUK, etc.) and you can find everything from books and electronics to a traditional British tea and round of mini-golf on the roof. I’m dying to go back!
Thanks to the Central Line being closed this weekend, I ran down Oxford St to the London Palladium to see The Wizard of Oz (that’s 4 for 4 if you’re counting my theatre attendance)! My seat wasn’t nearly as good as I’d had for Wicked or Chicago but the Upper Circle wasn’t too busy so I (and everyone else) moved forward.
The Wizard of Oz is….fun. It’s enjoyable. There are a bunch of familiar songs. The best part would have to be the elaborate staging! The entire set moves around, the costumes are fantastic, the lighting is great, the effects are cool and people fly in from the ceiling! Besides that, the actual musical could use work. The songs are kind of boring/repetitive and the talent didn’t really impress. I guess after seeing Wicked I was just kind of let down. Still, it was fun to watch and I’m glad I went.
After the musical, I walked down Oxford St and stopped at John Lewis Department Store, official home of London 2012 gear. Of course I had to load up on some Olympic memorobilia! They had an entire floor full of stuff and I was tempted to stock up on Olympic cutlery, bedding, sweatshirts, etc. until I realised I couldn’t bring it all back. So I settled on magnets and key chains instead.
After that I walked through Hyde Park and into Kensington Gardens. I saw fountains, playgrounds, bridges, and ducks. And I got to see the famous Peter Pan statue! For some reason I thought it would be bigger. There’s a great outdoor cafe in Kensington Gardens where I enjoyed a flatbread pizza and tart. I’m getting a little too used to eating alone.
On my way home I considered stopping off at the cinema to see a movie. But I couldn’t justify paying to watch Rock of Ages and something about seeing a movie alone still gets me. Seeing a musical? Sure! Eating dinner alone? I’ll bring my book! Travelling for 3 weeks in Europe? Sans people, sans problems! But I still can’t get over walking into a movie theatre, buying overpriced candy and seeing a show all by myself. I think I would miss comparing the trailers with someone which is, let’s face it, the real reason I go to the movies!
If you’ve been following my blog – thanks! Leave me a comment so I’m no so lonely in cyberspace! Tomorrow I plan to do some traditional London sightseeing: The Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It will also be my last full day in London (tear). Time to start looking for that under-the-table job!