May: Museums, Markets and Men in Black 3

Because I just love me some alliteration. And because, well, it's true. I've spent this month doing a project for my Text, Art, and Performance in London class (I'm actually quite proud of it!) that was due on the 18th, "studying" (or not) for a final exam on the 25th, and doing London-y things. Slowly but surely, everyone is finishing up the semester, and we're getting out and exploring the city. This wonderful, wonderful city.


Columbia Road Flower Market. Amanda, Erin and I headed out early one Sunday to walk around Bethnal Green and see some pretty flowers. It was fairly small and super crowded -- coincidentally, we happened to go on the American Mother's Day, though that obviously didn't contribute to the crowds -- but the flowers were gorgeous!

The whole market was only a block or so long, so after we squeezed our way through, we took a spin around the neighborhood. There were some thrift-y outdoor shops, and then we stumbled across a little tearoom hidden in the back of a vintage store. It was absolutely precious and everything I've ever wanted in a tearoom, complete with mismatched china, reasonable prices, and delicious scones.

Borough Market. Ah, a foodie's paradise. I don't pretend to be a connoisseur, but I just really like food. All food, really. And Borough Market is literally nothing but food. From fresh fish to fresh fruit (and that alliteration was by accident!), Turkish delights to handmade Italian pasta, paella, fudge, goat's milk frozen yogurt, jam... hang on, gotta wipe the drool from my chin. Basically, it was fantastic. Luckily we went in the morning, before some stands were open, because it was seriously a problem. We (Amanda, Carly, Jen and I) got lunch there, and I don't even remember what mine was called, but it was cheese melted over potatoes served with baby pickles. HEAVEN.

I also got orange, carrot, and lemon juice, which was fabulously refreshing. And, a word to the wise? It's definitely smart to walk around Borough Market on a full stomach. Much less tempted to buy everything!

Camden Market. Definitely one of my favorites! Camden is a very dangerous place, simply because everything is wonderful and I don't have nearly enough money to satisfy my impulses. I came so close to buying a gorgeous silk scarf. And a gorgeous lacy dress. And a London 2012 shirt. And far too much jewelry to even begin to remember. I did get a bracelet, though, and a Union Jack pin to add to my collection. Oh, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

I'd love to go back to Camden. It's really a collection of a bunch of markets, and Amanda had stage combat the afternoon we went so we had limited wandering time. Actually, that's probably for the best, otherwise who knows how much I would've spent! But the area is just so quirky and fun, and I really enjoyed just window shopping.

Covent Garden markets. It was a pretty quick run-through with Amanda, but Covent Garden is just so prettyyyy. Interestingly, I have fairly vivid memories from when I was there during my trip in 2004. I bought my mom her scarf there back in the day. Fun fact. She still wears it, so there's that. I think I need to go back again to get Nolan a souvenir. I saw something that was perfect, but I hesitated like an idiot. Alas!


Science Museum. If the MythBusters could create a museum, this would definitely be it. On the day we went, Amanda and I were working on completing the Museum Challenge (Science, V&A, and Natural History museums in one day), so we only had two hours to browse, and I could've easily stayed double that. There was so much interactive stuff! Personality games and touch screens and information walls... it was great.

My favorite part, though, was a giant globe they have that displays photos of the earth taken by satellites. So, so cool!

V&A Museum. Everyone that's been here had been raving about this place, so my expectations were really high. I wasn't that blown away, though. I mean, it was a really good museum, but I felt no need to flail about it. There was some art, and some historical stuff, but what I enjoyed most was the exhibit on how clothes and fashion evolved through the centuries. And the giant theatre exhibit was really cool, too!

Natural History Museum. Amanda hadn't been yet, and I wanted to go back... but it was the end of our massively long day, so our stop was a quick one. We visited the area I'd missed on my first walk-through (the Earth Zone, which reminded me endlessly of AP Environmental!), and of course the giant animatronic T-Rex. That was all, but it was enjoyable and enough.

The Museum of London. I went to this one alone because I wanted to see the Olympics exhibit, but it turned out to not be open yet. Oops. I decided to stay anyway, and I'm really glad I did, because this is definitely one of the best museum I've been to! It traced the history of London from the time of the first settlers, which was super interesting. In my mind, London just sprang into existence. But obviously, there were native peoples that lived in huts and dealt with the flooding Thames. There was a walk-in recreation of one of these huts, and a mock-up of a street from Victorian times, and lots of videos you could sit and watch. Interactivity and opportunities to sit while still culturing yourself are my favorite qualities in a museum, and this one had both! It also doesn't hurt that my love for London knows no bounds.

Tate Britain. I wasn't sure what I was expecting from the Tate, but it surprised me. It was a lot more modern art than I thought it would be -- I mean, isn't that what the Tate Modern is for?? Some of it was really cool, but I just don't get modern art. And there really wasn't much of the museum. I think a lot of it was under construction or being renovated. So, I'm glad I can say I went and could cross it off my list, but I was a bit underwhelmed.

The rest of that day, however, was glorious. Amanda and I went to the museum and then meandered through the city to Hyde Park, where we had a picnic and bought ice cream, which we ate as we walked through the park and sat in a flower garden.

From there, we went to...

Harrod's. Oh come on, it's basically a museum! It's full of pretty things to look at that you have no hope of ever owning. Still, it's fun being a tourist, and the staff was friendly and didn't treat us like garbage because we were wearing sandals and jean shorts and looked vaguely sweaty. We each bought a washcloth for £4, both to get the Harrod's bag, and because they're embroidered with the Diamond Jubilee logo and the Harrod's logo. We walked around for a while, naturally spending most of our time with the Harry Potter toys and the real live puppies.


Amanda and I went to yet another premiere, my fifth. :) It was actually quite a lovely experience, aside from the creepy guy behind me feeling me up repeatedly. We made some nice friends in the queue, got decent barrier spots, and there was even a DJ to entertain the crowd as the stars' arrival time got close. I only got one autograph, but Josh Brolin and Will Smith (!!!) were literally right in front of me. I was bummed that Emma Thompson didn't come over, but I wasn't too broken up about missing Nicole Scherzinger. :P

Also, I collected another poster, so that was a win. I'm 5/5! It's becoming a thing.


Writing in Britain exhibit. Held, appropriately, at the British Library, this is basically an exhibit full of important British texts -- original manuscripts, authors' letters, etc. Really, Amanda, Carly and I only went because of the original manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I can now proudly say I have read the first page of The Journey from Platform 9 3/4 in JK Rowling's own handwriting, complete with cross-outs and edits. :)

All things East End. Okay, so not ALL things, but I've finally explored Mile End Park, and walked around in the graveyard that we've got on campus. Hah. Really, I had to.

My room attracts ladybugs. True story! Earlier this week I helped two back outside, one right after the other, and last night I helped one outside onto the windowsill and promptly noticed two more on my ceiling. I'll take this as a very, very good sign.

I have friends! Natasha just arrived in London for her summer internship, and we're gonna hang out tomorrow. Then Ali and Christina are both coming to visit and staying in my room at the same time. Because why not?! Let's see if my tiny room can hold three people.

I met an Olympian! But that, my friends, is a story for its own post. ;)

1 comment :

  1. Your descriptions make me feel as if I am there beside you. It all sounds wonderful!!!