I'm Not In London Anymore

But sometimes I wish I were. If only I had an unlimited supply of vacation days. If only I had an unlimited supply of travel funds, then perhaps I would be in England still. London is such a vibrant, international city where you never run out of things to do. Our third day in London was spent doing tons of things. We started out on the South Bank visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Millenium Bridge, Tate Modern Museum and then The Shakespeare Globe. St. Paul’s Cathedral was beautiful–or at least what we could see of it without paying the admission fee. It was rather breathtaking, actually. The Tate Modern exhibits were rather unique, as they grouped them according to motifs rather than periods or even artists. Therefore, for example you saw Lichtenstein next to Warhol. Or Picasso next to Baldessari. They even had some Flavin flourescent light installations, which made me reminiscent to the MOCA exhibit that featured him back home. Modern art is accessible art, bishes. After The Tate we walked down the Thames to The Shakespeare Globe, or what’s a reconstruction of the original theatre, which burned down 14 years after its construction about 200 feet away in the 1600s. Thatched roof and everything (which is illegal now except The Globe recreation is not actually in London but Westminster or something). We paid for admission and the tour, which was well worth it. It was interesting to sit inside as our guide was really good and to even imagine Hamlet being done in the theatre was quite a thrill. Shakespeare’s plays back in the day competed with dog or even cock fighting and was purely for working class people … the unpredictable element of the 1000-person audience (some even standing on the floor) chiming in or even throwing things on stage along with the open air element was and is for actors with nerves of steel and improvisation. The rates even now are affordable, starting at 5 GBPs. And then we went to SoHo for some non-shopping. They have interesting (affordable) shops here like TopShop and Selfridges. Somewhat affordable but given our weakling dollar … pretty much not. I held out for the Euro exchange rate which is slightly better. Not to mention that London is pretty much the most expensive city in the world. Oxford Street is insanely crowded and filled with tourists, which we took to get to tea and cake at Yauatcha. Later we met Lisa at Covent Garden as she was getting off work and ate at Punjab for Indian food. Absolutely divine. Mmm. Better than any Indian Food I’ve tried in Los Angeles, but then again perhaps I’m going to the wrong places!

On Tuesday, we had our booked tour for Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. It was an exhausting day but well worth it. Windsor Castle’s audio tour was nice and concise and it was really interesting learning about the paintings, weaponry and pieces of furniture throughout the castle. Especially remarkable was how well the restoration went after the fire in 1992. Stonehenge was breathtaking at first, then “a bunch of huge, towering stones” after awhile. Even though the prehistoric site is thousands of years old, it’s crazy how they still don’t know exactly what it was constructed for today. They have ideas (calendar, sacrifices, etc.) but they still don’t definitively know. Bath was like being in Italy. The city itself was good for window shopping and for observing Roman architecture in the middle of England. It’s a beautiful city. The Roman Baths site is pretty phenomenal when you look at the water in there today (absolutely disgusting) and realize that the sulfur springs were suitable and even healing for the English and Romans back in the day. Roycifer and I passed up a chance to drink the water for 50 pence … we took everyone’s word that it also tasted disgusting. ;) Last night, we arrived in Naples. We’re really excited–save for the filth in the streets. I have to say, though, that the Linguini ai Fruitti di Mare last night was the best pasta I’ve ever had. No kidding. Tons of mussels, clams, and still more types of mussels over a flavorful bed of pasta. Mmm. Currently we’re staying right in the Piazza Garibaldi. We’re picking up our rental car today and driving to Sorrento. On the way, we plan on stopping by Mount Vesuvius (an active volcano) and the archaeological sites of Pompeii. I hope we get a VW Polo–we booked that class so hopefully they have one free for us to rent! Hope everyone is having a great week! Love, *e

You can view my flickr photos here if you like! (Just a forewarning–expect to see random photos of European cars ;) )