Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lost in London

Today I went to the 2008 Temple Festival, celebrating 400 years - Because of the special anniversary, we were able to go inside The Temple Church (which is supposedly a rare opportunity). It's one of the most historic temples in London. The Church was built by the Knights Templar, the order of crusading monks founded to protect pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem in the 12th Century. It was a neat experience. I sat in the temple and sketched for an hour on assignment for one of my art classes. At 12 o'clock the Master of The Temple gave an hour history of the temple. A lot of the filming of The Da Vinci Code takes place right in this temple and in a few surrounding areas. It was an amazing temple to visit.
Welcome to The Temple Open Weekend 2008 - 400 year anniversary!This is a Knight's Effigy which is located in the circle part of the temple.Sarajane, Me, and Kristen about to learn why the temple we are in is so special.

When we left, we decided it would be fun to walk back instead of taking the tube. What we thought would only take around five minutes, ended up being an hour long journey, going in several different directions. Eventually we gave up and found a tube station, and went home. Maybe next time!

Tonight we had our first London pub experience! We went to a pub nearby our place called the Phoenix. I can already tell that it's going to be a favorite. We were there quite early so it wasn't too crowded. The food was great, and we had a good table for watching the football game (soccer). I'm pretty sure the yellow team won! No worries, it was a non smoking pub, and we just got water to drink.

Just outside the Pheonix.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hakuna Matata (It means no worries)

Today was another great day! This morning Kristen and I went on a jog all through Hyde Park in the pouring rain. It was a fun because we didn't really know where we were going, but we just kept running. We ran ourselves right to the box office of The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre. We were the first ones there at 10AM and decided to purchase tickets for tonights show. I would definitely say it was one of the better decisions I have made so far. We got back to our place around lunch time. Hobnobs, and a Zone bar... doesn't get much better.

A little later, we made our way to King's Cross. What's at King's Cross? Platform 9 and 3/4. Yes, it really exists! It took around 30 minutes to get there, but we made it worth it. For some reason I thought it was going to be this magical, perfect little platform (like it is in the movie), but it's not. It's your average train station. We decided not to spend any more of our time seeking out other sites where Harry Potter was filmed, because we'd probably be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this was still fun!The platform itself. They've put that cart there, but it's only half a cart, so it looks as if the other half has already gone through the wall (the way they do in the movie).Trying to get to Hogwarts!

There is nothing like the West End on a weekend night in London. We got off the tube at Covent Gardens, and before the play just hung around there. Ben's Cookies was delightful. There was a band playing right in the center of the CG, and they were actually pretty good so we stayed and watched them for a little bit.

Lion King was amazing!! I absolutely loved it. My favorite part was the costumes. They are simply incredible. It started at 7:30 and got out right around 10:45...pretty long. Kristen, Sarajane and I had a blast. Getting back home on the tube was absolutely packed, which made that fun as well. We had so much fun tonight. Hakuna Matata!Just outside the Theatre, close by Covent Gardens.Just inside the Lyceum Theatre.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

I had art class all day today. I'm starting to wonder if this was a good class to pick for my schedule. It's art class or Shakespeare....I think I'll go with art. This morning we met for our drawing class at the V&A Museum, where I had to do two 15 minute sketches, and one 30 minute sketch of some Medieval Casts. Maybe I'm confused, but I didn't know that drawing straight for that long without being able to lift your pencil, or look at your paper (I could only look at my subject), was art - but it is. Although a little frustrating, this class is going to be fun. Next week class is held in the Tate Modern, that should be awesome.

In between lunch I went on a hunt for drawing pens. I stumbled upon a store called Muji's where I found all my art supplies. I made it back just in time for my conceptual drawing class - which will be hard. My first assignment is to create some sort of art piece in a natural setting somewhere in London, using only the supplies in that particular environment. Good luck to me!!!
Because I didn't go anywhere too exciting today outside of class, I just thought to post a picture of all these delicious pastries I see daily. Every single one of them is soo good. Okay, I haven't had them all yet... But I will.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Canterbury, Rye, and Beachy Head

The Canterbury Cathedral

Fieldtrip!!! Today was so much fun! We left the Centre really early, and loaded our coach en route to Canterbury. What's at Canterbury? Glad you asked. It's an ancient city, more than 2000 years old. The Canterbury Cathedral, contains a thousand year record of English culture and achievement. Canterbury has been the fountainhead of English Christianity and also the murder of Thomas Becket. Ever heard of the Canterbury tales? Those are the tales the Pilgrims made on their pilgrimage to Canterbury. In the Cathedral is a spot marked where Thomas Becket fell.

Inside the Cathedral

Stained glass window... with the sun actually shining through!

What's in Rye? Just a quaint little town; cobble streets paths, a small community, and a few very old churches. This was such a fun stop. We just walked around the streets and enjoyed the view. There are only about seven streets. Mermaid Street was my favorite.

Up a random alley way- Meg, Betsey, Kristen, Sarajane, Michelle, Amanda, and Liz

Mermaid Street.
A sad attempt at clicking our heels on the cobble streets of Rye.
The edge of Rye, behind me is endless countryside.

The place where the White Cliffs are highest is at Beachy Head. It rises 530 feet above the English Channel, the rock is chalk so it's always crumbling.
Sarajane and Me.
In 2000, a huge chunk of the Cliffs just crumbled into the sea...even if you are not right on the edge, it's still can be very dangerous.

Yes, this is me scaling the White Cliffs of Beachy Head! Impressed?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

School is in session

I had class today from 9-12 - The History Of Britain. I'm glad I'm taking this class because I feel like it's very relevant to everything that I'm seeing here each day. After class, a few of us walked through Hyde Park to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A has an incredible fashion exhibit, with all sorts of clothing from the 1700s-Present. Yes, there was everything from corsets to a Juicy sweatsuit. It's incredible.

A little view of Hyde Park.

WE'RE TWINS! I am surprised at how well I can imitate this cow, and there is more to this cow than you think. Actually it's an ox, carved out of marble and wood, and somehow made its way into the British portion of the V&A dating back to the 17th century.

Running around and around

I enjoyed a nice run Monday morning in Hyde Park, in the rain and wind, with several swans. I learned today that people also run on the other side of the path. I figured that out when I kept running into people and then I realized what my problem was. I'd have to say running here beats running on Holladay Blvd.

Yesterday was the first day I was able to go run errands. I don't have class on Mondays, so it's a good day for me to catch up on things like laundry, piano practicing (eww), any homework, and anything else! This picture is Whiteleys from the inside. This is just a few blocks from where I live. Fun fact: Whiteleys is reputed to have been Adolf Hitler's favorite building in London, and had he been successful in taking London in WWII, it is said he would have made it his headquarters (I bet his office would have been where the H&M is currently located).

Don't mind me... just running my errands. Face wash, a notebook, some pens, a towel, skim milk (everyone here drinks 2% so that's what they buy for the center) and perhaps a giant bar of Cadbury chocolate.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hyde Park Stake, South Kensington Branch, Spanish/Portuguese speaking

Today was quite the adventure. We were all told where we'll be attending church, and I am attending the South Kensington Branch Spanish/Portuguese one with one other girl. Church is from 12:30-3:30, and so we left an hour early to make sure we could find it on time. It's a good thing we did, because we had two changes to make on the tube in order to get there, and two of the major lines were closed for maintenance today. On our second change, we stepped onto the wrong platform which ended up taking us right back to where we had just been (at High Street Kensington Station). We realized when the tube started going in the exact direction we'd just come from once we were on it. That was about a half an hour delay.

We finally got to church, where the Branch President had us come up in sacrament as he introduced us. He was speaking Portuguese (he's from Portugal, which sounds different from Brazilian Portuguese) so I have absolutely no idea what he said. I really enjoyed sacrament. After sacrament, we met with el Presidente, and I got a calling. Right now, they have no one in the branch who can play the piano in Relief Society, but they do now. Carlitos Illuera gave me the calling with two hymn books, one in each language. During Sunday School, I'm going to be in primary. It should be a great experience.

Relief Society was all in Portuguese this week, which means next week it will be in Spanish. I sat next to a sweet lady named Maria. She is from Spain, and is living here working at Sainsbury's. Sainsbury's is like Rite Aid, they're all over here. She works all the time, but her favorite part of the week is church and she travels quite a ways to get there. We planned to sit by each other from now on in Relief Society so we can get to know each other and she will help me with Spanish, although she doesn't know English, which is perfect! The lesson was on Joseph Smith and the first vision - luckily I've heard it enough, it was okay that I didn't understand.

I was really surprised to see how happy everyone was at church and how friendly they were with several nationalities under one roof, in one meeting. Today was a great experience, but I have to admit three hours of not really knowing what's being said, is a long time. Good luck twins!!