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Laura v. London
Sunday, 1 May 2005
Back in London
Good Lord

I need a vacation from my vacation. For the first day since I arrived in London...I'm not going into central London. Too tired. And my feet hurt. And I still have sunburns.

In other news: I had an amazing time in Spain. Valencia was a great city to visit, because I got the impression that it is working hard towards becoming a tourist town, but it hasn't really got the tourists yet. So all the benefits of being a tourist without actually having to deal with tourists. Pretty ideal for me, since as I mentioned before I speak absoluetely no spanish.

I really felt as if I was getting to see first hand how people in Spain live. Particularly when everything shut down from 2-5. And I mean everything. You couldn't get a coke. And lets not get started on sundays. And one of my favorite places, the Central Mercado. It blows Pike Place out of the water. Pike Place times 10. Meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables, small bars, bakeries, little kiosks of assorted goods, wine galore! All right there. And the food looked delicious! With the possible exception of this and that. But some things were just funny. On our last night, Allen and I bought pasta, pasta sauce, mushrooms, olives, and mussels for under 5 euros and made an awesome dinner. ah, Spain. such cheap food. Wine for 45 cents. A dozen eggs for 75. Nutella for 2 dollars! I will miss you. *shakes first at London for being so damn expensive*

Also saw an amazing mediveal Cathedral. I particularly liked it because my photos turned out great.
Whilst there my second time around with Allen, we saw small children going through First Communion.

One thing inside the Cathedral I didn't understand, however, was this withered arm.. Ideas anyone?

In between walking randomly over half the city, I would take the time occasionaly for a siesta. It seemed to be in the Spanish spirit. One of my favorite places to rest was in this one park that streched almost all the way down to the beach. I guess what happened is a river dried up, and they just turned it into a giant park. So, so pleasant. It appears that Allen enjoyed it as well. And in the middle of it, there is a giant Gulliver playground. Look at the difference in size between the trees and cars and the sword. It was monstrous. And oh so cool. It made our walk to the beach take a little longer.

Ah, the beach!! Shiat. I was on the Mediterranean! Allen and I laid on the beach, read, chilled, and just let the time slip away. Finished off that day by having Paella with a view of the beach.

Most nights in Valencia, I eventually learned, are pretty dead. But Friday and Saturday people party hardy. In the streets, in the bars. Wherever they can find space. My favorite bit though, is that people will just sell beer on the street.

Oh, and Dad (if youre reading this) sangria does taste better in Spain. But perhaps that has something to do with being in spain too.

Love,
Laura

PS: Beware the gecko

Posted by lauravlondon at 7:16 PM BST
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Thursday, 28 April 2005
Valencia Update (Still alive)
It is quite beautiful here in Spain. Reminds me of Hawaii....but without the excessive touristy feel. Only problem is I have about 5 words of spanish in my vocabulary.....making getting around much harder than I expected! I thought it would be like major cities in germany where everyone speaks english I guess. Not the case.....

But as long as I can get food and water I'm okay. Gesturing works fairly effeciently for that. And hand signals. I wonder how long it will be before someone starts swearing at me. (Though I suppose I wouldn't know the difference?)

Anyway, today the plan is to avoid the sun at all costs....and then allen comes at 5! YAY!!

Love,
Laura

Posted by lauravlondon at 8:48 AM BST
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Saturday, 23 April 2005
LAME
Well apparently the pictures don't work

I'll get on fixing that.....when I get back.

Damnit.

Love,
Laura

Posted by lauravlondon at 12:01 AM BST
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Friday, 22 April 2005
Catching up
What else have I been doing????

Er.

Saw A Life in The Theatre with Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson. It involved a lot of dressing and undressing. I was two rows back from the stage. Nuf said.

Went to Ministry of Sound. OH DEAR LORD. Eric, if you read this, book some tickets to London STAT. As long as you get here for a wednesday night that is. That is the most AMAZING club I have ever been to. Great vibe, great layout, great music. And oh the music! Completely different styles in two different rooms (apparently there are usually five rooms open, but his is a slow night due to london student finals) but the best of it! One of the rooms was hip-hop and I liked it. GREAT DJs. REALLY GOOD. So partyed there with allen and his queen mary crew til 3am. Then crashed out at his place at mile end and woke up and took my midterm at 10. Well worth I tell you. And I think I did okay. As long as I can find someone to go with me to the crazy location of elephant and castle next wed. I'm doing it allllll again. Eric: You're my top nomination....come one you have plenty of money and no class right? Jane: You're second. Get yo ass over to this country, because if you missed out on this club the first time you reallllly need to go.

Cambridge was a little boring. Albeit completely beautiful and epic.

St. Albans, however, was much better. Its this cute town a good long ride outside London where one of the profs lives. But he invited us to a party there (free food! That wasn't cooked in the oven for 4 fours! Egad!) and a walking tour. Anna and I ventured on the walking tour, despite having to get up far too for it. And were well rewarded. So pretty. Complete with RomanRuins.

It is also home to an incredible cathedral. It was built using bricks that the Roman used in their buildings....which is a little ironic, considering St. Albans was (supposedly) the first martyr to the Romans. Apparently he was the only who refused to renounce his faith....and then refused their gracious offer to let him escape. The day before his live cremation, he was seen putting his hand in the fireplace to see what it would be like. Crazy? Epic? Stupid? I'll let you be the judge.

St. Albans was also alive with hilarity. Including our guide's horse dance.
Er, thats all I have the patience to update.....

I'll have pictures with more color in them when I come back from Valencia :)

Love,
Laura

Posted by lauravlondon at 11:52 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 23 April 2005 12:00 AM BST
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Poddle poddle poddle
Today, Allen and I roamed.

Or as Cynthia put it: poddled. At least I think thats what she said, crazy British accents.

We started out at St. Martins in the Field listening to free music. Today it was a brass quartet. Two tubas, two euphoniums. Four girls. Four brave, strange girls. But they were awesome, and I swear that church makes music sound extra awesome. Provided small children aren't running around. But they quieted down after I ate them. (Note: I didn't actually eat them, but I'm sure they would have been tasty ala some of Swift's recipes) Oh, and the quartet played the diamon commerical music. And I'm serious about that one.

We continued our poddling over toward Leicester Square to procure Allen a kebab and pretty scenery for me to eat my bread and cheese in (the staple of a cheap exchange student). And we got free toothpaste from people curling. No, I'm serious. Though, realistically the least believable part about that is the word 'free' being used in conjunction with 'London'. So if you believe that much, please believe they were also curling.

Poddle
Waterloo Bridge
Poddle
National Theater
Poddle
Second-hand bookstore on South Bank
Poddle
We're bored
Poddle
Lets go to Regents Park, its a nice day, lets walk!
Poddle
*walk walk walk walk walk*
Poddle
Oh look! A Toy Store!
Poddle
Regents Park
*insert chilling here*
"excuse me, it costs 1 pound 50 to sit in these chairs for two hours" "oh...sorry...."
Poddle
And we listend to awesome flamenco music over beers and the roar of the National Theater. ah, London. Free music, but no free sitting. That really does sum it up pretty well.

Along with the pigeons that went CRAZY as I walked from the National Gallery to St. Martins. A gunshot sound went off and they flipped out. All of Trafalgar Square ducked. Very odd.

Tomorrow I leave for Valencia, Spain for a week. Oh yeah.....

Laura

Posted by lauravlondon at 10:46 PM BST
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Friday, 15 April 2005
RSC and Peacocks
Yo.

During the last two days my class and I went on an overnight to Stratford Upon Avon. Now you might wondering, what is there at Stratford Upon Avon besides a bunch of people idolizing Shakespeare as GOD? A: Not a whole lot. Unless you happen to be really interested in Knot Gardens. So we visited Mary Arden's Cottage (which wasn't even the real one due to a mistake. The real one was next door.), Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Shakespeare's birthplace (complete with authentic curtains), and Shakespeare's old school. BORING. The only mildly interesting bit was our visit to TrinityChurch (the site of Shakespeare's grave). Inside, there were all of these wacky wood engravings. And hard evidence that mediveal people were ridiculously short. Or perhaps Lewis is just unusually tall?

That night we saw a production by the Royal Shakespeare Comapny of A Midsummer's Night Dream. It was absolutely INCREDIBLE. I was blown away by the quality of acting and the originality of staging and set design. But espacially the acting. WOW.

Afterwards, Anna and I popped into The Dirty Duck, the bar that, we were told, the actors were supposed to frequent after the performances. We were celebrity hunting (when youre an english major, yes, the Royal Shakespeare Company counts as celebrities), and we were not disappointed. Peter Quince strolled and ordered a drink and I pounced. Got his autograph, and eventually also the autographs of Theseus, Hermia, Helena, Oberon, Puck, and Egeus. I stayed for a while longer, holding out that Bottom (who by far stole the show) might show up. But, sadly, he never did. In the midst of waiting, however, I finally got up the nerve to say more to the actors than just "could you sign my cast list?", and ended up standing right in front of the door of the bar talking to Theseus about the performance. The door kept opening up and hitting me, and eventually Thesues invited me to sit down at their table. SO I SAT WITH A BUNCH OF THE ACTORS FROM THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY. It was AWESOME. I was right between Theseus and Egeus. They were very engaging conversationalists, and I ended up talking to those two for the rest of the night, and they bought me a drink! YAY.

Theseus said he found Americans more articulate than Britians. I told him I was going to quote him on that.

The next day we had a HUGE proper english breakfast at our B&Bs, and proceeded to Warwick Castle. Despite having lived in Germany for six months, this was the first proper castle I had ever been too. It was pretty sweet, even though the organization running the castle have subconscious dreams of turning it into Disneyland, complete with cheesy music and people walking around in mediveal garments. But it was fun. Particularly the walk up into the towers, which resulted in some absolutely AMAZING views. The most entertaining bit, however, were these random peacocks strutting around outside the conservatry. I followed them around for a bit and eventually they started to get their groove on. It was pretty funny.

That's all for now. Someone comment so I can pretend someone is still reading this. Or at least if you found the peacock video mildly entertaining.

Love,
LauraKnot

Posted by lauravlondon at 2:12 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 16 April 2005 9:19 PM BST
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