Here is the promised post about said London trip. We headed out fairly early, taking the Oxford tube to London. It was only about a 90 minute ride. We were then taken to a few famous sights of London by Dr. Simon Lancaster, our jovial Australian tour guide...places like Grovesnor square and the Buckingham palace and such. Well, Natalie and I left the group at around 1 to try to make it to the 2 pm showing of The Merry Wives of Windsor at the globe. With some directions from Simon, we went to brave the London metro system alone. As some most close to me know, public transportation/getting lost on it was one of the things that caused me anxiety coming over, but I am determined to get over this, so off we went. We got all day tube passes (which proved to be very wise) and climbed aboard. We got off at Mansion House station, which is one of the closest to the Globe, but we still needed to find our way across the Thames.
Unfortunately we got a bit lost, and it took much longer to get there than anticipated, and we missed the beginning of the play by ten minutes. However, by the time we would have gotten there, they would have sold out of tickets anyway. So, we browsed the gift shop, and then decided that though we had missed Merry Wives, we would get tickets for the 7:30 pm showing of Henry IV part one. We paid our five pounds for groundlings tickets and then decided to explore the area. While we were there, there was a Thames River Festival going on, so we went around there, visited the Tate Modern Art Museum (which I took two illegal photos on accident...I didn't see the sign until later. however, the pictures were for a very good reason! visit my facebook album to see why). Then at 4: 30 we went over the Bridge past the Salvation Army HQ to St. Paul's Cathedral to join with the rest of the group for Evensong there. St. Paul's, as those of you who have been there know, is absolutely gorgeous, with glittering mosaics on the ceilings of echoing Roman domes and chandeliers and just so much space that the eye just keeps going up. Now imagine that whole space completely filled with the sound of a men and boys choir, up to their chins in white robes. The sopranos went somewhere to the top and nestled in the corners, and the deep notes in the organ made the bench under us quiver a little. It was one of the best experiences I've had, and though I'm not really very familiar with the liturgical way of doing things, I absolutely loved it. If you ever have a chance to go to Evensong there, do it!
After that, we all went back across the Thames to the festival to get dinner. From a little stand, I bought something that called itself Les Pommes de terre d'Or, but that was a little pretentious because it was really just herbed potatoes and carrots. Very delicious though! Natalie and I then got in line at the globe, managing to be in the first 70 or so in line. This meant then when we finally walked into the Globe, we were right up near the stage, and also by some stairs that the actors frequently used. So cool! The play was three hours long with an intermission, which was rather tough on the feet, but it was so incredible. There is nothing like Shakespeare performed well...I know a lot of people don't care for him, but until you've seen a play done live and done well, I don't feel like you're allowed to completely write him off as boring or tough to understand. Natalie and I were a little nervous that Henry IV part 1 might be a little dull being a history play, but that couldn't haven further from the truth. It was hilarious, and also serious at parts and just FANTASTIC. The costumes and music were amazing, and I just wish I could go there every weekend! I wasn't able to take pics of the inside during the performance obviously, but I got pics before the actors came out of the stage and surrounding area.
It ended at 10:30 pm, so then Natalie and I had to get ourselves back to the Oxford bus stop in the dark. I was pretty nervous about this part, but we were able to find it. We had to take the tube to Victoria and then walk by some clubs (scary!) and ask someone at the train information booth, but we found it and got on. The ride back was good too, thought my legs were aching from standing for so long. There were some slightly annoying/funny British drunks sitting behind us. (annoying because they were loud sometimes, but mostly they were funny). One lady was wearing all sorts of Union Jack gear, including I think a small flag on her shoulders, a jester hat and a thong...outside her jeans. She sort of passed out right away and slept. Three others in the back were a little more talkative. Here's a sample:
Drunk woman: "What's churlish mean?"
Drunk man 1: *drunken mumblings* "Eh...well..it means being rude...for the sake of it."
Drunk woman: "That was a very good definition."
Drunk man 1: "Was it?" *drunken mumblings."
Apparently this group was just interested in definitions and words, because they also had another conversation related to it:
Drunk man 1: "What's the difference between will and shall?"
Drunk man 2: "I dunno..." *drunken mumblings* "Well...Will is...'I will go to bed before 4'...and shall is...'I shall slay the dragon.'
And try to imagine these conversation spoken in a slurred British accent. He he. It was pretty funny. Then we got in at half past 1 and to bed right away!
And now that I'm back from church and have eaten, it is time to work on my paper!