Monday, June 29, 2009

The REAL Day 1

I woke up this morning when the BEAUTIFUL sun beamed through my windows… at 4:30 AM. Yikes -- totally wasn’t ready for that. I tried going back to sleep, but it was very difficult. My room is really hot (even with the window open). Thankfully, I bought a cool littl
e fan to solve the heat issue. I figured since the sun is up so early here, and since class is so late (10:45), I’m going to start getting into a morning shopping/breakfast routine with some friends. There are lots of cute little breakfast shops that are very close to our dorm – I’ll be sure to snap photos of the ones I eat at.

In other news, I went to my first class this morning! It was… well, because I love Professor Clum, I love anything he has to say. I won’t elaborate on what I do in class on this blog, because I actually am running the group blog for the summer. THAT blog will have in-depth info on classes and such. Link:

Our fearless leader:

After class, most of us went out to run some errands and get some lunch. We found this neat little pizzeria that served LEGIT Italian ‘za. We ordered 4 pizzas for the table (11”), and a few orders of garlic bread. Yummmmmm. See for yourselves:

After lunch, the day REALLY kicked off. We met up with Professor Clum at 3, who proceeded to show us some neat parts of London. Also awesome news: I got to ride the classic, red double-decker bus.

Me and Clum on the bus:

View of a London street from the top of the bus:

This here is the ROYAL Opera House of London. AKA, way too rich for our blood. The best opera (and ballet) in the world is performed inside this building.

And here we have an old vegetable market. Still pretty cool, though.
Here we have the National Art Gallery. We went inside (briefly) and saw some reallllly neat art.

Saint Martin's Church:

London skyline and the Thames River:

OY! Big Ben!

The London EYE -- I really hope I can go on this at some point. It's fairly expensive, but it is a 45 minute ride and you get 10 miles of visibility at the top. This thing is TALL!
Group shot!

After our tours, we went to a really neat (and fancy) restaurant called "The Forge". This place was SERIOUS. The waiters all hovered over our tables, making sure we had everything we needed at all times. We ate an incredible dinner, which would have totaled about $800 back home. Thanks, Duke. ;)

I had the RAREST steak I have ever had in my life. It was DELICIOUS. Also included: a side of salmon cakes, chips, salad, and the most heavenly lemon tart I have ever had. Oh, and also 5 glasses of wine. Need I remind readers that the drinking age here is 16? Awesome. But seriously, Clum bought us 2 bottles, and they kept refilling my glass!

After the delicious dinner, we went to see our first show: A Little Night Music. The show was in the Garrick theater down on the West End. If the show was so spectacular, I would have been pissed -- no A.C in the theater, and London is going through a heat wave right now.

But the show... WOW. Now I know why this place is the cultural center of the world, and even more so the theater center of the world. The show was a whopping 2 hours and 50 minutes long, but it flew by. A Little Night Music is a Sondheim musical. Sondheim, to the Brits, is basically considered God. The music was unbelievable, and the actors all did a tremendous job. More details will go up with the group post.

The program cost 3 pounds, but here is a free flyer:

I'm SO TIRED. Bed time. Hopefully more to come tomorrow!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Arrival at London

The moment I got off the plane, everything felt different. Even just the smell of the air... it didn't feel anything close to what I was used to. But that's a good thing -- I'm very excited to be here!

Today was an interesting day. I was nervous about getting to the dorm by myself and without a phone, but everything worked out okay. I rode the train, the tube, and a cab to get to the dorm, all for about 15 pounds total. Huzzah! Travel success. I was, however, the last kid to arrive... oh well.

The rooms are pretty straightforward, although quite small. The bedding is nice at least. And I get my own sink! Two restrooms are also right down the hall. I live next to 5 other kids in the program, and the rest are on floor 1.

We had a brief orientation meeting to cover the basic rules, and then we were left to our own devices for the night. So, Becca, Geoff, (they both live in my hall) and I all went exploring!

I consider this my first time REALLY exploring London, considering traveling alone is usually too stressful to pay attention to anything else but the destination. I apologize for not taking many pictures... The travel + jet lag + not knowing where anything is combination really takes a toll. I had to get one of this cool car though:

Funny moment: I saw a car driving by, with the a young kid in the left side of the car, and his dad on the right. For a split second, I was REALLY confused as to why the kid was driving the car. But then I realized everything is backwards here... I felt like such an American!

Plenty more I could say, but I'd like to give a good blog post tomorrow with lots of good pictures.
I'll leave you all with a picture of Becca and I eating sushi at a really cool place where the food comes around on a conveyor belt -- delicious, and pretty cheap by London standards!Quote of the day
Jerry (a middle aged British man we met in a pub) : Well, now that I've knocked on your sports, I feel like a total wanker! (After discussing baseball and American football)

Day 0

Welcome to the blog! On this jolly ol’ page you can follow my exciting adventures throughout the jolly ol’ UK.
Today consisted of… travel! As I am typing this, I am at the Minneapolis airport, getting ready to board (in 1 hr) an 8-and-a-half hour flight. The flight from KC to MN was great, although I sat in the very back corner of the plane.
I’m hoping that since I just endured a 24-hour road trip to Ohio, this flight should be painless. Things I am excited about:
• Free on-flight dinner
• Free on-flight movies
• Plenty of time to sleep =)
No matter how many times I think about it, I’m still baffled that I will basically skip through the night and the morning, and arrive in London at noon. Gotta love flying the opposite direction the sun is going… Huzzah for jet lag and losing 6 hours!
Boring post, but I felt that it would be awkward for me to just launch into my experiences in the UK without a little bit of an introduction.

Interesting experience of the day:
As I casually walked through the metal detector at KCI (no beeps!), the guard looked at me straight in the face and said “Good, no blades this time”.
Umm… what? How do you even respond to that? Well, me being me, I gave a sheepish laugh and got the hell away from that guy… KCI is a weird airport anyway. Now I feel like I look like a serial killer or something. JOKE FAIL. *face palm*