I can’t believe my 5 days in London are almost up and I’ll be boarding a 12 hour flight to Jo’burg tomorrow night!
On Sunday I went to church service at Westminster Abbey! It was just as grand and beautiful as last time. The church service was fairly traditional with a lot of standing and prayer reciting. But it was also really nice 🙂
After that I walked along the Thames past the parliament buildings, Big Ben, the London Eye, etc. I was headed to the Lyceum Theatre to see the Lion King and as is habit now, got spectacularly lost. I finally found it and bought the last single seat they had. It was a little more than I was hoping to spend but I was in the front row! So close I could see beads of sweat and could’ve (but didn’t!) touch the actors as they went through the aisles. I’ve seen The Lion King in Toronto a couple of times when I was much younger but it was really nice to be able to experience it again. I could really appreciate how breathtaking the costumes and set are.
Monday was absolutely beautiful here in London! I got a bit of a late start to my day and headed out to Kensington Palace around 12. Kensington Palace is the rumoured location for Will and Kate once the baby arrives and renovations are complete. I felt it was my duty to scope out their new digs. The Palace is beautiful, as expected, and home to some gorgeous gardens/fountains. It’s also surrounded by Kensington Park which I got to spend the afternoon walking around.
In the evening I headed to the National Portrait Gallery. I wanted to see if Kate’s portrait was as disappointing in person. She definitely still looks aged, but I could at least appreciate the beauty of the painting, despite it adding 10 years to poor Kate. I was impressed that the Gallery also had portraits of modern famous Brits like Ed Sheeran, Amy Winehouse, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith!
I headed back to the Prince of Wales Theatre for the 5:00pm lottery for The Book of Mormon. Everyone gets to put their name in and at 5:30 they do a lottery for 21 tickets, great seats, for only 20 pounds each! I was expecting maybe 50 or so people but by the time 5:30 rolled around the streets were packed! There was easily 150-200 people there. Sadly, the odds were not in my favour and I didn’t win the lottery. It was still pretty fun taking part in it though and I was second in line for return tickets!
I met some cool people waiting for returns. A girl from Toronto who is now working in Edinburgh and 2 guys who were major Broadway groupies. They were talking about people in the cast like they were all friends and had both seen the show at least once before. The return line moved very slowly and by 7:15 (15 mins to show time), it wasn’t looking very good. Finally, at 7:25pm, a man came out and said he had a single return ticket! I teared up a little and followed him inside, waved good luck to my friends in line and rushed to my seat.
HOLY CRAP THE BOOK OF MORMON IS SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was absolutely incredible! I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for a few months but the live performance blew me away. It was way racier than I thought, way funnier and way more impressive! I couldn’t believe how fast it went by. I’m seriously debating trying to see the matinee tomorrow before my flight…
Today London decided to revert to its dreary rainy weather. Unfortunately, I decided to head out sans umbrella and in fuzzy Toms. The worst feeling in the world is having to put on cold, wet, fuzzy Toms.
I planned to watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace this morning (me and every other tourist in London), but when I got there I read a sign saying the ceremony had been cancelled. Next, I tubed over to St. Paul’s to check out the famous Cathedral. It was way bigger than I expected, so worth the viewing.
Then I walked along the longest, windiest, coldest bridge over the Thames to reach Tate Modern. This modern art museum is famous for its collection but most importantly to me it was indoors and free! I attempted to spend most of the afternoon at Tate Modern but unfortunately I don’t get most modern art. One piece was literally a mirror. I think the artist went to Ikea, bought a $12 mirror and sold it to the Gallery for a few thousand. I did get to see Monet’s Water Lilies which was impressive.
Weather still miserable, I walked and then took transit to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Unfortunately, every other water-logged tourist had the same idea! When I arrived the wait was 3 hours long! I shook my head and jumped back on the tube.
I walked around trying to think of another less-crowded place to go but I was getting more soaked and more unhappy. Eventually, I found myself outside a theatre and decided The Hangover III would buy me a couple rainless hours. It was enjoyable but not a must-see.
Finally, it was time for my musical of the day! I had gotten a ticket to Once from a discount retailer: centre floor seat for only 25 pounds (regular 65)! Once won all of the Tonys this year so I had to see what all the fuss was about.
And I’d say it’s worth the fuss! It has a community-theatre feel to it. The stage actually has an operational bar and before the show/during intermission you can go up on stage and enjoy a drink! About 15 mins before the show started, the cast came out and started playing some songs. Everyone in the cast plays an instrument so there’s not an accompanying band for the show; some serious talent! The music was beautiful and the story was very romantic but I think I felt a little let down. It’s just a bit slower paced than most musicals so I probably would’ve liked it better had I seen it before Book of Mormon.
And then tomorrow I leave! I can’t believe I’m going to Africa tomorrow! Based on my explosion of a suitcase here in my London room, it doesn’t feel real yet.