Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope that this will be an excellent way for me to keep all of my friends and family up to date on my semester abroad in Rome. Please feel free to post any comments you would like, or shoot me an e-mail and I will try to respond as soon as possible. Also, if you click on each of the photographs below, it will display them at their full size.

Friday, February 23, 2007

London: Day 2

We woke up early today and set right out to try to get as much in today as we possibly could. We decided to follow a schedule that was planned out in Let's Go called the "Millennium Mile." The tour was supposed to start at the Tower of London but we made a stop off at one of the half-price ticket booths to try to get tickets for a show later this evening. We were hoping to find a good price on tickets for Wicked but there weren't any that fit our budget so we ended up getting tickets for We Will Rock You instead, which is a musical based on Queen's greatest hits. After getting the tickets we hopped back on the Underground and headed to the London Tower to start out the day.

Walking down one of the tunnels to get on our first train.

Monica on one of the escalators taking us deep underground.

I don't know about Beth or Monica, but I was really expecting the London Tower to be a really tall tower...and I guess it was. But the fortress that was built up around it kind of takes the whole "tower" effect away from it.

This is a view of the tower from the opposite side. We decided not to go in because the crowds were already really big and I think tickets were a little expensive.

After walking around the Tower, we visited a church nearby called All Hallows by the Tower. The church was first established in the year 675 and just barely survived the great fire of London in 1666. It was really interesting to see the different style compared to all of the churches I have seen in Rome up to this point.

The main entrance into All Hallows by the Tower.

This is tomb inside All Hallows by the Tower.

This is one of the outside walls of All Hallows. The stained glass was pretty cool and it might be hard to tell in the picture but you can really see the church's age if you look at the walls.

This was a sign inside All Hallows that led down to a small crypt.

This is a view from the first room in the crypt.

This is Beth in the back room of the crypt. I don't know if some of the crypt was blocked off, but I think there was supposed to be more to see down here.

When we finished at All Hallows, we went back to the river and continued our walk. Our next destination was the Tower Bridge. Many confuse this bridge with the London Bridge (which is much smaller and less impressive). We just walked across it and took a few pictures along the way.

This is the Tower Bridge in London (not the London Bridge, however it is a London bridge).

Beth and I in front of the Tower Bridge.

The bridge is so massive that it is hard to believe it is a draw-bridge, but indeed, when you get to the middle of the bridge you can look down and see the water through a small gap between each side of the bridge. Those are my feet.

After walking across the Tower bridge we started walking towards what we thought had to be the design museum...

Can you blame us. we saw this from the opposite side of the river thinking it had to be the design museum, but then realized once we arrived in front of it that it was actually the city hall building.
Either way, it was amazing to look at (even if I did take us a half an hour out of our way).

We eventually turned back around and started heading the right direction down the river. We eventually came up on the design museum and were very excited to have finally found it. The unfortunate thing was that 2/3 of the museum was under construction and only the top floor had items on display. Monica and Beth weren't too hot on the idea but I made them go in with me seeing as how I turned what should have been a simple trek into an hour and fifteen minute ordeal.

This was on display outside the design museum. It was an advertisement for the chair exhibit inside.

This was my favorite of the 60 or so chairs on display inside the design museum. The exhibit was showcasing the work of an artist who decided to construct one chair each day for 100 days.

This is Beth relaxing after the long walk to the museum in the "PlayStation" chair (there were also a lot of other interesting chairs on display around the museum that were separate from the main exhibit.)

After the design museum, Monica and Beth were kind of mad at me for wasting their time with the design museum (even though I thought the chair exhibit was pretty cool) so we went in search of a quick lunch on the way to the Tate Modern Museum. As we were walking along the river, we saw this fountain and stopped to check it out. It kind of looked like a fish, boat, and human head all rolled into one. It was pretty cool how it was, but I can only imagine how sweet it would have been to see it with the water running. Here are a few of the many pictures I took of it.

After taking a ton of pictures of the fountain, Monica finally pulled me away and we continued towards the Tate Modern and kept looking for a place to eat. We eventually stumbled upon this outdoor market, I think it is called the Borough Market, with all kinds of food at different stands. The place was absolutely packed and it looked like most of the people were business men and women on their lunch breaks. Monica and Beth got in line at to get a pita wrap at the Greek food stand and I was about to join them before I looked at the table across the isle and saw a guy piling huge slices of beef onto a couple pieces of bread. I quickly joined the line for this table.

I just held my camera up quickly and snapped this shot as I was waiting in line for my glorious sandwich. The whole place was packed.

This was the stand where I purchased my sandwich. It was only £3 (which is basically $6) and there was a whole table to the left with different sauces and dressings that you could load on after you got your sandwich.

This was the final result and it was delicious.

Monica and Beth were pretty jealous when they saw my sandwich. Their pitas were pretty good but could not compare to my glorious salted beef sandwich. We finished eating on the way to the Tate Modern and caught our first glimpse of the Millennium Bridge as we neared the museum.

The Millenium Bridge is made of aluminum and steel and and was designed to look like a blade of light (maybe when the sun is shining).

This is the whole outside of the Tate Modern museum. I don't know if any of the pictures really do it justice, because it is huge when you see it in person.

The main tower in the middle of the Tate Modern.

This is the top left corner of the Tate Modern.

Monica and Beth in front of the Tate Modern (they are the two small figures on the left side of the Page).

Inside the Tate modern Unilever is sponsoring a special exhibit in the main area when you walk in. Basically, they had these huge tube slides running from the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th floors. It was really simple but a very cool exhibit.

These are the two slides from the 3rd and 5th floors that go down to the ground floor in the Tate Modern.

Here are all three of the slides from the right side of the Museum.

This was just one side of the main area in the Tate Modern. The museum is housed in what used to be the Bankside Power Station. This area on both sides is known as the Turbine Hall and used to house the electicity generators. It is 7 stories tall and has over 3,400 square meters of floor space. It was huge.

We spent the next 30 minutes walking around on the 4th and 5th floors and then met for a free tour on the 5th floor (that was the coolest thing about London, most of the museums are free and many even have free tours). The tour we went on focused on cubism, futurism and expressionism. We were the only ones there in the beginning, so we pretty much got our own free tour guide for a while, but people started following along with us as we went along. We looked at art by Picasso, Braque, Cezanne, Marinetti, Boccioni, and Duchamp. It was really interesting to look at works by these artists and have someone explain them to you because there is so much to see in each piece.

One of the other exhibits that we checked out was a wing full of different art with neon light bulbs, and we glanced at some of the Gilbert & George art that was on display outside of the exhibition. The Tate was amazing and we didn't have nearly enough time today to see everything.

After we left the Tate Modern, we went to our new hostel to drop off our bags and then immediately left again to grab some dinner before the show. We decided we were going to check out Chinatown for dinner so we got off the Underground near the Dominion Theatre, where our show was, and tried to find our way into Chinatown.

This was just a bar we walked passed on the way to Chinatown. I just thought the lighting was cool on the outside.

Right across the street from Chinatown was the theatre that was showing Les Miserables. This also would have been a cool musical to see.

The streets of Chinatown are just lined with different Chinese restaurants. Our guidebook recommended a restaurant called Wong Kei for a good meal that was rasonably priced so we checked it out.

This is the outside of Wong Kei. It was three stories tall and absolutely packed on the inside. Our book actually described eating in this place as a "unique dining experience" and we didn't really know what was mean by that until we got there. We looked at the menu for a while and then the waiter came over and asked us if we were ready to order, I tried to ask our him how big the portions were for certain things listed on the menu and he just turned around and walked away. We couldn't believe it. But we eventually ordered food and it was delicious (seeing as how I hadn't had Chinese food in over a month).

When we finished with dinner we walked back to the Dominion Theatre and arrived alittle before the show started. Our seats were a little high up but we could see the whole stage. The theatre was really cool on the inside as well.

This is the outside of the Dominion Theatre where we went and saw the Musical We Will Rock You based off of Queen's greatest hits.

Walking in the entrance.

The Lobby.

This is the only shot I was able to sneak on the inside of the theatre.

I took this right after the show was over and the theatre had cleared out. I know it is a little blurry and my knuckles are covering up the left side of the photo. I was attempting to be sneaky.

The show was very interesting and a lot of fun to watch. It is set in the future at a point when globalization is complete and everyone thinks and does the same things. All musical intruments have been destroyed and only Boy Bands and Girl Bands remain producing electronic pop music. Long story short a rebel teenager named Galileo Figaro finds himself in search of the lost guitar of Queen's guitarist Brian May and making Rock and Roll live again. It wasn't the smoothest musical I have ever seen as it had to somehow work in Queen's greatest hits, but it was really entertaining.

After the musical we took Beth to the bus stop so she could catch the Oxford Tube back to Oxford and then we headed back to the hostel.

While we were waiting for the train we actually saw a couple of mice running around on the sidewalk. Monica freaked out a little bit but survived.