I met a french kid in one of my classes who said that he hated Americans because they were fat and loud and ate too much McDonalds. He was wearing a black & white striped shirt, black pants, and a beret. Enough Said.
Today, instead of having a lecture, my class took a trip to the Museum of London. We were all supposed to meet in front of the main entrance at 2pm. I woke up around 10:30 and started to get ready, intending to leave at 1:30. I ended up being ready to go earlier so I decided I’d go early and grab a coffee somewhere nearby while I waited for 2 o clock.
I took the bus to the Putney tube station and from there went to Paddington Station, where I switched trains to get to Barbican. This all went very smoothly, and I never had to wait for more than 3 minutes when I switched (so I thought I was making impressive time!), but surprisingly it took an hour! I ended up being 10 minutes late to meet my class, but thankfully they were still waiting in the lobby for people [like me] who were running late.
The museum was beautifully put together. All of the exhibits were precise and they had a clever way of displaying all the items; instead of everything behind glass on the wall, it was more interactive and creatively designed. For example, they had a round room called “victorian gardens” where the entire 360 wall was a movie screen, where people ‘walked’ alongside you and interacted with each other across the room. There were also interactive touch screen maps, games, and a section where you could smell imported goods (tobacco, coal, cloves, etc).
Because my class is studying the 19th century, we only went through the second floor which housed items from mid 1700s to 1940s. I saw some more blue willow china & actually a lot of china patterns that I would love to have today! (some designs actually reminded me of anthropologie/urban.) There was a dress with a huuuuuge skirt (like the one in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette – with the flat & wide skirt) along with many other clothes. There was also a GIGANTIC and ornate dollhouse, Lord Nelson’s sword- with an enamel painting, diamonds, and gold in the hilt, and a beautiful grandfather clock. There was also the COOLEST hat, it had an 18th century french ship on the top of it. – This was in a painting of marie antoinette after the french defeated the british in a maritime battle. It was then recreated by Phillip Treacy for the Museum. (Phillip Treacy also designed many hats for Alexander McQueen’s shows… whom I mention later)
After this section, we moved onto the later 19th century – 1900s era. They had this exhibit set up as though you were walking through a victorian street, with storefronts to peek into (think disney’s main street usa), complete with bread carts and street organs. You could peek into different “shops” including the bank, a pawn shop, the pub, a tailor, a hat maker, public restroom (it was fancy!), grocer, apothecary, pharmacist, printer, engraver, etc etc etc. This then led onto a hallway filled with a timeline full of random historical facts. Did you know, for example, the christmas tree became a tradition when Victoria & Albert put one in the castle in 1860?
We then walked into the 1920s onward section, complete with talkies, amazing flapper dresses, a display of can-can -esque brightly colored feathers, and an interactive water pump where you could ‘see’ bacteria and cholera swimming in it. (this was all based on touch screen computers, not real germy water). Also somewhere in this section is an original lift (elevator) from Selfridge’s.
This led into what I found to be the most interesting ( although we were well out of the class’s time frame -1800s – by now) , a section on WWII. There were numerous photos of people living in tube stations during the blitz, along with gas masks, luggage, and the sort. There was even a bomb that had apparently landed on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral that never went off (of course, it is defused now) … maybe that was a direct sign from God haha. After that display the trail led into a little movie theatre with people describing their memories of the blitz. We watched this for about 20 minutes, and I think I found this the most interesting, probably because it’s in a completely different point of view. It never got to American soil, but here, London was basically destroyed and bombings became a daily thing (according to the video).
Speaking of wwii, that famous sailor kissing photo from V-J day in Times Square has been colorized … interesting. here’s the link.
Anyway, after that section, we could walk through the more recent eras, 1960s-today… most of it was stereotypical, vespas, go-go boots, cat eye glasses, cd roms, doc martins, the sex pistols, hippies, apple computers, weird 90s clothing, members only jackets, blah blah blah. One cool thing in this section though, was an Alexander McQueen "God Save McQueen" pashmina.
After that, we left the museum and our lecturer took us to the “Jamaica Wine House” which is the first coffee house in London, with historic links to the sugar trade and slave plantations. Apparently back in the day, many important business decisions were made here. It has since been turned into a pub and refurbished. They did however, leave the front step as it was: worn down into a halfpipe like shape from the amount of visitors.
(I actually forgot my camera, I stole these pictures off the internet)
After that, I went back to school and went grocery shopping. Exciting. I hope to get back to the museum one day though, because there are two more floors of stuff!! (and because I saw corgi memorabilia in the gift shop)
Exclusive Royal Edition
Yesterday was the Bop again and My flatmates & i decided to go. It was farmer themed, and some people went all out, buying cow costumes, or making sheep costumes. I didn’t feel like spending money on a costume was worthwhile so I wore a gingham shirt and braided my hair.
Me with my flatmate (and Hall Rep) Caleb
Me, my flatmate Matt, and Lauren
Today we went to the Victoria & Albert museum in London. It’s HUGE. We only got through a small portion of it before we got tired & hungry. I’m going to go back one day to see the rest of it. Lauren & I were pretty bummed because the ‘fashion’ exhibit is closed until 2012! We found a lot of other cool things there though.
The building itself is gorgeous, originally built in the Victorian period, but with many many additions. It seems as though there are many different styles and architects/designers in each room of the museum:
We went through a gallery filled with sculptures into the ‘Asia’ section. This included pieces from China, Middle East, Japan, Korea, South Asia, and South East Asia. My dad would have had a heart attack at all the Rugs displayed in this area, and my mom would have died over all the beautiful blue & white ceramics (including a lot of blue willow, which I didn’t take any pictures of).
This rug was GIGANTIC, and enclosed in a glass case. It is only lit for 10 minutes every half hour to preserve its color. I took a picture of the sign so I would remember what it was: it was completed in the year 1539, and was commissioned by the ruler of Iran, Shah Tahmasp. It has 304 knots per square inch.
After that section we ventured into the Medieval & Renaissance & Italy section. These were filled with religious artifacts, from trypdichs to stained glass, and sculptures, like a copy of Michaelangelo’s David. There were also casts of tombs and Trajan’s Column (Rome).
Indiana Jones & the Holy Grail? Chalices & Tabernacles … I tried to make a panoramic photo, but it’s a little off.
These casts reminded me of a painting we have at home.
Raphael’s School of Athens. We learned about this in my art history class sophomore year. It has a bunch of philosophers, mathematicians, and other important people of the day depicted in it including Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Plato, Archimedes, etc etc etc.
We started to get tired & hungry, and we realized there was no way we could finish the entire museum today, so we headed back to the tube station. On the way back, we noticed an exhibit showcasing Chinese Imperial Robes, but it cost money to get in, so we bypassed it.
We then went to Victoria Station & went to this cute sushi place called Wasabi (apparently it has just been bought out by Pret-A-Manger, a company owned by McDonalds). I’ve never seen sushi served this way before, but it was great! You get to pick from a huge assortment of individually wrapped sushi rolls, ranging from about 50p-75p each. It was delicious!
All the sushi selections
Not much happened this week, except Lauren and I booked a flight to Paris next weekend! I’m stoked! I’m meeting Melissa there too, I’m excited to see her!!
Besides that, I was surfing amazon and found a redskins jersey for 15 dollars, that was awesome, I’ve never seen them that cheap before….so I bought it.
I’m going to the Bop again tonight with some flatmates and other Americans, and tomorrow some people from our flat are going to central London for dinner & to walk around, I’m looking forward to that!
by the end of the year I want to go to….
- Montpellier (to visit Ghislaine!)
- Switzerland (to visit Melissa!)
- Vatican City
- Canary Islands
- Windsor Castle
- London Eye
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Tate Modern
- Tate Britain
- Museum of London
- Jack the Ripper Tour
- National Portrait Gallery
- Big Ben & Parliament
- Westminster Abbey
- Westminster Cathedral
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Camden Town
- Madam Taussaud’s
- Picadilly Circus
- Oxford Street Shopping
- Globe Theatre
- King’s Cross
- Tower of London
- Royal Wedding
- Portobello Market
- Colombia Road Flower Market
- Kew Gardens
- Kensington Gardens
- Abbey Road
- National Theatre
- Absolut Ice Bar
I meant to add in the post from Saturday… We were at the bookstore and guess who’s book was on display?
FRIPP ISLAND REPRESENT
I did end up getting a phone, so nice to have. It was an experience, the guy didn’t really know what he was talking about, it made me miss the guy at purcellville at&t. Anyway, his coworker figured everything out eventually. After that I ran into a place called Robert Dyas to buy a sewing kit (a button on my coat fell off). It was so cute! Like a Lowes/Bed Bath & Beyond but in a small city space. Then we went to Wagamama’s, an asian restaurant that we have been told we HAVE to try. It reminded me of Pei Wei.
I bought some cough medicine yesterday, and one side of the box is in braille.