Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities, Part 3: Much Ado About Nothing

     Our third day experience was more like, "Much to do About Everything." We certainly tried to do everything.
     Breakfast was a french restaurant entitled Cafe Concerto. It was very open and bright-aptmosphered, which made it feel very welcoming. You don't want to feel uncomfortable in a restaurant, it would make you not enjoy the food. Cafe Concerto was very friendly french.
     I ordered a toasted croissant (can I have a lifetime of these stored in my locker at school?) with ham and cheese. You have tasted no breakfast like that until you eat that croissant. It was buttery and soft, and cloud-like. If I had those every morning, I would be the happiest person in the world on a Monday. Garfield would be the happiest cat if he ate the croissant on a Monday. Then wait until the hot chocolate came. There was a fluffy mountain of whipped cream and sprinkled chocolate swimming in a pool of heavenly chocolate liquid. Can I describe this hot chocolate in any more perfection? It was just so good.
     Just for kicks, Mom and I decided to go on the London Bridge Experience, which was a haunted house with history of the London Bridge. At first I said, "Okay, I can handle this, it's not that scary." And then we got to the really scary part. Everyone had to put their hands on each other's shoulders, and be led through different sets with freaky scenery. When I get scared, my body goes really rigid and my muscles tense up. By the end of the show I could barely breathe, I was so freaked out. It was honestly the scariest haunting experience I'd ever done. Of course, it was very enjoyable, but it took several breathing exercises and singing a couple happy songs to get my heart rate back to normal.
     The next part of our adventure was one of my favorite things: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. We arrived at the museum just in time to catch the next tour, which was led by a really interesting and funny old actor. Well, in his defense, he wasn't that old, but he was really engaging and I swallowed up all the Shakespeare knowledge. One of the funniest tidbits I picked up was that the roof of the theatre (the whole theatre was recreated since the 1500s, of course) is made of thatching. Thatching is not the most fire safe of roof materials, but it's the closest to that used in Shakespeare's time. The problem is that the pigeons--who are the most outgoing, in-your-face little devils in the world--have been snatching pieces of the thatching (pun intended) to make their bird nests. They don't stay in the theatre (there's too much open space with the chance of rain) but they just steal it and fly away.
Personally, I would prefer not to live in a house of thatching made by pigeons, but maybe my New York apartment has spoiled me.
      I was very disappointed that I was unable to see any Shakespearean plays while I was there, and the most ironic part was that the season started just two weeks after our last day! It was upsetting, but I can at least brag about when I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform in New York City. Next time I'm in London, a Shakespeare play is at the top of my To-Do list.
     Ever-concious of our budget, Mom and I tightened our belts and skipped eating at the Globe. However, ever-concious of my love for everything Shakespearean, we spent a lot of time in the gift shop, mostly so that I could quote entire scenes from which the objects were based on. I took a particular liking to the row of skulls--to buy or not to buy--which were less frightening than the haunted house I visited earlier. Instead I got a keychain with a Macbeth quote, "Out damned spot! Out I say!" I proudly wear it attached to my backpack for school; my English teacher is impressed.
     After leaving the Globe Theatre, my mom and I walked alongside the Thames, just chatting and enjoying each other's company. Everything is much more enjoyable when you're traveling with a friend.

     We crossed the London Bridge, and I couldn't resist joking about the long, hopefully well-built bridge falling down. A few blocks away from the Thames and the London Bridge is St. Paul's Cathedral. Since it was Easter Sunday, tourists weren't allowed in, so we just admired how big it was. The old buildings in London are much more grand than those in New York. The architecture is so interesting to look at.
     Surprisingly, a lot of the shops were closed and almost no one was out on the less-busy streets. It was around lunchtime, and our stomaches were yearning for some food. Eventually we found a cafe that was open called Cafe Nero. We ordered the best comfort food we could possibly get, tomato-basil soup and a tomato sandwich. I was able to latch on to some Wi-Fi after a few unsuccessful tries. We ate enjoyably and updated Facebook--or at least I did--and headed off to the Tower of London. This wasn't my favorite of all the sites, but that was partially because it was raining and the line to see the crown jewels was the organized equivalent to Times Square. Not to be outdone with travel, we also hopped back on the Tube to see the National Gallery. I grew up going to art museums with my dad, so this was a fantastic museum for me. It would have been a calm and relaxing experience if there weren't so many stairs! My favorite individual pieces were the Van Gogh and Vermeer paintings.
     Mom and I saw our favorite pieces at the National Gallery, and then we finally called it quits and went back to the hotel. But our stomaches had a different idea than our feet. As a comfortable compromise, we ate at the hotel's restaurant, called Citrus. We couldn't figure out why it was entitled so, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the food.
     By the time we went up to our hotel room, we were too tired to move, so we ordered sticky pudding in our hotel room, which was delicious.
     With my stomach full and feet satisfied from another day of travel, our third day of our trip was happily complete.

Here's to making it through day three,
     Yours, Kate