Weekend #2

30 08 2008

Well, so starts my second weekend in London – although officially it’s my first whole weekend.

This morning I woke up bright and early at about 7am ready to cram as much into the day as possible. I hit snooze and woke up again at about 9am.

After a quick breakfast and making myself a packed lunch (aren’t I the savvy traveler?!) I headed down into Arsenal, to have a look at the local shops – I know theres a funky street nearby, but I don’t think I found it, so ended up heading into town instead. I was determined to get to the Tate to have a look around, and decided that Oxford Street was sort of mid-townish and probably wouldn’t be too far, so headed there. Turns out that Oxford Street is not really near the Tate at all, and is really just one of the main shopping strips – so I went in and did some shopping – well, looking. Top Shop is pretty crazy – awesome top hats, and OTT headbands and gloves and everything that someone with an inner drag-queen like me could want – unfortunately it was very expensive and I couldn’t justify it (yet…) – I made do with a purchase from ‘next’ instead – a five-pack of socks. Trendy. I also had to buy myself a new pair of black trainers, I’ve worn right through two pairs of socks and a pair of Dunlop Volleys in the weeks worth of walking that I’ve done so far! Like Forrest Gump would say ” If I was going somewhere – I WAS WAL-KING-ah!” (ok, he’d say “RUN-NING-ah” but he doesn’t have to deal with the limitations of sports bra’s…)

Actually – the necessity of shoe-shopping brings me to a point. I got my shoes at Lilly Whites, right at Piccadilly Circus… you want to see it?
Picadilly Circus
Worst. Circus. Ever.

Where’s the bear in the little car, where’s the Lycra clad French-Canadians, where’s the bearded lady?! (Actually, I did see a bearded lady, but I don’t think she was part of the circus cos she got angry when I tried to take her photo)

Anyhoo – I eventually made my way to where the Tate Modern is – I was on the wrong side of the Thames though, and so thought I might as well check out St Paul’s Cathedral while I’m there. I went to go into the Cathedral and it turns out you have to pay. To go to church. Are you kidding me? Forget that, as if the bloody church hasn’t got enough money – they can get their filthy pious mits out of my pockets and back onto altar boys. I decided to just go to some other old church at a later date and just think “wow, St Paul’s would be like a slightly larger version of this…” thats enough for me. I did have a look around the grounds though and came across this statue:St Beavis the Clumsy

There was no sign on it, so I had to determine what it was myself. I believe it is a statue of St Beavis the Clumsy, patron Saint of the un-co – it depicts his matyrdom as he was leaving the Emperor’s chambers after declaring “I shall not obey you, I obey only my Lord” and stood on his cape and tripped backwards up the stair knocking him unconscious, allowing the Emperor’s guards to seize him, castrate and impale him in the middle of the City Square for all the city folk to see.

Good story.

I crossed over the Millennium Bridge (which didn’t even sway! Go Team!!!) and made my way to the Tate – this is probably one of the things I’m most excited about seeing while I’m here – so I was raring to go. I walked through a little three room warm-up exhibit and had entered the first of the main halls of the Tate collection. I was thinking about grabbing my camera, but alarm bells started to ring. Not metaphorically – literally. The whole gallery was evacuated. Forget that. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get to have my look – but I wasn’t going to wait around for the all clear for a few hours and then go back in with the original set of people plus the new ones who had gathered. I walked along the Thames towards Greenwich instead. On my travels I encountered Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (and got a ticket for Monday night’s performance for £5!!), a fresh produce market under a rail bridge in Southwark that had the stinkiest cheeses you ever smelt, this really random steampunk styled boat fountain:

Weird Steampunk Fountain

Also – side note, for some reason my camera makes the sky pink – weird – possibly the reason it was $50 on eBay.

I found some other fountain that didn’t have a name – I decided this one was a tribute to St Sven, Patron Saint of Hot-Tubs:

St Sven's

I came across the Design Museum – but was out of cashola by then, and running out of time – so I’ve earmarked it for when I come back to see the Tate. I’m pretty excited, because based on the cool stuff I found in their giftshop, it looks like a pretty awesome place.

I walked and walked and walked along the Thames, and eventually ended up in some neighborhood and not too sure that I was still on a legitimate walking trail. I already had my doubts about the area, but when I saw some guy go up to another and do a drug deal in front of me I decided I might jump on the bus back into town instead. I got into town and took a train the Greenwich.

Greenwich had a smaller village feel to it, although it’s still very much part of London. Down the street from the station I encountered two village markets which we’re fun to look through, and then got to Greenwich park. I walked through the park and towards The Royal Observatory. For those that don’t know, one of the drawcards for Greenwich is that the Prime Meridian runs through it (0° Longitude), it’s also the reference point for time, Greenwich Mean Time or GMT (or for my fellow Melbournians- GMT+10 might be more familiar (depending on daylight saving status of course))

Prime Meridian

To get to the observatory you have to climb this bigass hill – I got tired halfway up, but didn’t wan’t to give away my level of unfitness, so luckily the lovely view of the National Maritime Museum came to my rescue and I pretended I needed to stop to take advantage of a photo opportunity. Upon arrival, I went through the various exhibits in the observatory, but none were anything special – I made my way up to the meridian line and encountered a big line of people lining up to have their photos taken in front of some goofy sculpture – this one (the silver line below it is the meridian line):

Prime Meridian Thing

After my meridian experience, I was well satisfied, and three train transfers later I was home again. I was seriously considering sleeping in the kitchen instead of tackling the two flights of stairs up to my room, but I made it up so I could write my post, and go to bed so my tired feet and legs can rest up good for whatever tomorrow brings.

Good night!

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9 responses

31 08 2008
Megan

Hey dude,
Sounds like you are having a great time!!!!! Reading your blog has made me crack up sooooo much, just lost in in the circus part…. would have been ok excepty i laughed out loud in the middle of theatre…. so now half the OR staff have read it too, look forward to more… go to cockfosters… just because its a funny name!!!!
Travel Safe

Megan

31 08 2008
cheryl davis - Mum

Lauren you make me laugh!!
reading your excerpts is like watching Bazza McKenzie visits London!
You really do have a quirky way of viewing the world. I like the pink sky -it adds to the Alice in Wonerland quality of the Lauren in London story.
Have a great weekend
Love
Mum XXX

31 08 2008
cheryl davis - Mum

Lauren you make me laugh!! you have such a quirky way of seeing the world. Your excerpts are like a Bazza McKenzie diary only a little more high brow.
I like the pink sky in your photos it gives a ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality to the ‘Lauren in London’ story
Susan – I already know Lauren will enjoy her world travels but I also know washing is not a priority and I dont want to be handed the laundry basket when I get there!!

31 08 2008
James

> worst. circus. ever.

I almost lol’d coffee through my nose.

31 08 2008
Dad

Picadilly may well be the worst circus ever, but I reckon the biggest gyp of all is when you walk all around London, and you eventually manage to get safely past Mayfair and Park Lane .. (and avoid being sent to jail) .. and then …. nothing … no-one gives you $200… you just look silly holding an old shoe and a pair of dice.

31 08 2008
Cheryl Davis

Lauren you make me laugh, you have such a quirky view of life but after reading your Dad’s comments I can guess where you get it from!
I really like the pink sky it gives an ‘Alice in Wonderland ‘ quality to the ‘Lauren in London’ story.
As for Susan – I know Lauren will have an absolutely wonderful adventure in her world travels, but I also know Laundry is not a priority and I dont want to be presented with a basket load of her floordrobe when I arrive for my big adventure. Therefore finding a washing machilne will be an important move towards independence
Love Mum XX

31 08 2008
Dad

I think Cheryl’s had a few senior moments today. She forgets that she has commented and repeats herself … still, we’re all getting older!

I think Cheryl’s had a few senior moments today. She forgets that she has commented and repeats herself … … … … …

I think Cheryl’s … … … …

31 08 2008
lozlick

Dad, I think it’s more to do with my Spam filters…

Megan – Cockfosters is at the end of my tube line – so I hear it at every station every night I go home from work “This is a Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters”. I still laugh at it – Im not sure when it’ll stop being funny – probably around the same time I stop singing “Holiday Road ” from National Lampoon’s Vacation movies every time the train pulls into Holloway Road…

1 09 2008
Gabs

Ahhh a fantastic Monday morning giggle from you all. I look forward to seeing what happened on Sunday!

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