25 February 2010

London Surprise

Wow. We did such a good job of keeping it a secret that I nearly forgot to mention it here. We went to London!

Fish and Chips and - most importantly - Mushy Peas

So now that the cat's out of the bag, I can tell you: our friends Ken and Lindsay are living there this semester and Ken was having a milestone birthday. Lindsay thought it would be a fun idea for Sergio and me to surprise him with a visit. We agreed completely, snatched up some plane tickets, kept it a secret for many weeks, and finally - despite three (!) flight cancellations due to the blizzard in the northeast - landed in London.

Lindsay, Ken, Sergio, me, and Big Ben

After pulling off our transatlantic surprise, we went on to have a fantastic time with Ken and Lindsay - 1 very historic pub crawl (led by an American expat with a PhD in Dickens), 2 thousand-year old churches (Westminster Abbey and Temple Church) several highly memorable encounters with cheese, delicious Indian food, a comedy show, a hilarious Beefeater tour of the Tower of London (also a comedy show), a visit to Abbey Road (Sergio's request - in homage to Pink Floyd, not those other guys) ...

"Raclette" at Borough Market - cheese, recently melted under these little broilers, and scraped off onto boiled new potatoes, served with gherkins and onions. Unbelievably good.

Borough Market on Valentine's Day

Our Beefeater - so hilariously sarcastic. The name purportedly comes from the fact that long ago, because they were the queen's guards, these "Yeomen Warders" would have had rare access to beef. I think they keep up the name because it's funny.

Did you know that London was founded by Romans and originally called Londinium!? Me neither? Not until our pub crawl with the expat. Lindsay, a historian, further elaborated on some of London's history and I found myself completely aghast - I figured everything was around 1,000 years old, you know, just since 1066, right? But the whole city itself is more like 2,000 years old. I come from a town that's only 150 years old, so needless to say, I found these facts to be phenomenal.

Statue believed to be of the Roman Emperor Trajan, AD 98-117 - 'Imperator Caesar Nerva Trajanus Augustus'

As if London's own antiquity we're enough, we went to the British Museum to see even more really, really old things. Like the Rosetta Stone! Which is nearly impossible to get to through the throngs of people clamoring for a glimpse. We also saw the Elgin Marbles which amount to a lot of marbles, and I think I can understand why Greece is so upset.

behind the Rosetta Stone with swarms of people in front

Elgin Marbles, South Metope XXXI

AND, what's more? Besides five days of quality time under the "gray cloud" and "white cloud" of London with Ken and Lindsay, we also got to meet up with another set of friends who happened to be in England at the same time as us. What a treat!

me and Lauren after an afternoon at the Courtauld Gallery



Anonymous said...
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amber said...

How Fun!!!! Stephen and I are going next year with friends. I can't wait.

Jenni said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I would love to do that! I want to visit England so badly! It's one of my top 10 places to visit. :) Thanks for the photos!!!

Seana said...

Jake and I went to London for a short 3 days years ago while we were dating, we always talk about going back for a longer period of time, it's a GREAT city! Looks like you had a fantastic time, we're jealous! :)

Lindsay Moore said...

What a lovely post, Emily, full of fantastic pics!

Emily said...

Thanks for the comments, folks! Indeed London is a fantastic place. It's not hard to have a good time there, and to learn something, too!