Out & About

These past few days I’ve been out & about, hitting the places I haven’t seen yet. Yesterday I went to the Tate Britain and the British Museum, neither of which I had a great interest in, but felt that I should see before I leave. The British Museum had nothing British in it! It mostly had exhibits on ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, Native Americans and the Middle East. It had some cool greek statues (but, I’ve had my fair share after the V&A and the Louvre. The coolest things in my opinion were ACTUAL mummies and some totem poles. The Tate Britain houses art by British artists, and after the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and the Louvre (again) … it gets redundant. I did get totally enthralled in one exhibit in the modern art section which was a video by Mark Wallinger entitled “Threshold to the Kingdom”. It’s simply an 11 minute video of the ‘arrivals’ section of the airport, put into extreme slow motion and set to Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere Me Deus (essentially, a gregorian chant). Whether you consider it ‘art’ or not I couldn’t tear myself away. 

Anyway, today I went to the British Library, which boasts about it’s “Treasures”. I took a Rick Steves audio guide with me and wandered around on my own. They have some fantastic artifacts in there! I wasn’t allowed to take photos but some of their ‘treasures’ include THE Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Jane Austen’s original manuscripts, Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, The Gutenberg Bible, Charlotte Brontë’s handwritten Jane Eyre, pages from DaVinci’s notebook, and The Beatle’s handwritten lyrics, which seem pretty lame compared to the age of everything else in the room. One thing that was missing (and was supposed to be there) that I had looked forward to seeing was Lewis Carroll’s Illustrations for Alice in Wonderland; they must have been on loan to another museum. Anyway, I only spent about an hour there but it was a nice little break from the crazy tube/trains/transportation – Everyone here is freaking out about that ash cloud!

Never Washing My Hand

Last night, we sporadically decided to go to the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 premiere, let me just say I’m SO HAPPY we did

Natalie, Lauren & Caleb

We got there and realized we were unprepared; Lauren joked “Johnny will you sign my passport!?" 

right by the barrier

The Security Guard "Big Man”. We were nice to him so that he could be nice back. It worked out, he stationed another security guard right behind us so that people wouldn’t be too pushy. He also gave us one of the posters that were on the barriers. 

Sam Claflin

Jerry Bruckheimer

I screamed “GEOFFREY” when I saw Geoffrey Rush, he turned and looked RIGHT AT US and waved!!!

First glimpse of Penelope Cruz. She just had a baby. Just saying.

HERE’S JOHNNY

he came over and started signing autographs but I decided to shake his hand instead.

Caleb got a really good video of the whole thing

Poster curtesy of Big Man. Caleb looks like Steve Urkel

Posing with a cow.

after everyone mingled out, we went and looked at the set downstairs – where they do all the interviews you see on tv

We talked to a security guard after and she was saying that she grabbed a poster too and that someone had offered her £200 for it!! I think Caleb is putting it on ebay. 

We were SO GIDDY for the rest of the night, it was hysterical. 

Dublin

After Berlin, I went back to school to take an exam, then I got right back on a plane to meet Lauren in Dublin! As you can see from my scarf, it was a lot colder than Amsterdam and Berlin!

DAY 1 we took a New Europe tour around Dublin, then I went and did some shopping while Lauren had to sort out some moving stuff with her mom. 

Dublin Castle

Christchurch, founded by the Viking King Sitric Silkenbeard. (I know, funniest name ever. I wonder if he has descendants)

In Temple Bar, founded by William Temple. I thought he looked like Gaston though, so I changed the lyrics a little: “noooooo ONNEEEEE drinks like Gaston!”

Only in Ireland

The main street in Dublin, O’Connell Street, with the Millenium Spire to the left background, a statue of Daniel O’Connell in front of that. He was the main guy involved in the liberation of the Republic of Ireland. To the right further down is a building that played a big part in their revolution, the General Post Office, the headquarters of the Easter Rising’s leaders. 

Trinity College

Irish, a gaelic language, is an official language and is on all the signs

House of the Oireachtas – basically the Irish Senate. It’s building design is based on the White House

This was in a souvenir shop and way too expensive for me to purchase. I couldn’t find Cuskelly but there was a Dunleavy one – I couldn’t get a picture because the employees saw me take this one

DAY 2 We took a tour that was recommended to us by a few people – the Wild Wicklow Tour – it’s basically a charter bus that drives all through the mountains right outside Dublin

Dun Laoghaire

ha ha, eyes closed. Annamoe

 

Lough Tay – it was really windy

then they gave out free shots of Jameson

Next stop was a 6th century Monastic settlement, Glendalough

St. Kevin’s Cross. Apparently the oldest Celtic Cross.

This is when we tried to use self-timer on the camera and it fell over

This rock is some sort of wishing rock – i forget the whole story

DAY 3 we went out to Kilmainham Gaol, and the Guinness Factory

The jail was one of the first of its kind to introduce solitary confinement; the way the layout was, no matter what cell you were in, you couldn’t communicate with other prisoners through the doors or though windows. A lot of people involved early in the Revolution were kept here – and killed here, which became a catalyst for the revolution amongst more moderates.

the Victorian wing. it might look familiar – a lot of movies were filmed here, including the original Italian Job

The woman in this cell was a trained artist and this is what you see through the peephole.

onto the Guinness Storehouse

I’m a sucker for anything nautical

fun fact: the Guinness toucan was originally a Pelican

After going through the factory (where you get a free sample), we headed up to the top floor, which boasts that it has the best view of Dublin. They also give out free Pints here too. Conclusion: the Irish like to give out booze

Berlin

Brandenburg Gate. To the left is the American Embassy and to the right is the French Embassy …. and a Kennedy Museum.

This is the Hotel Adlon, the place where the late King of Pop held his baby over the balcony

Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Germany is VERY ashamed of it’s past. Any historical Nazi places are not marked. Right here underneath my feet is Hitler’s Bunker, where he killed himself. There are no signs or markings, it’s just a parking lot 

The Luftwaffe Headquarters. One of the last Nazi buildings in Berlin; also the location of the 1953 Uprising, where the Soviet army opened fire on protestors, killing at least 500 people.

Propaganda showing a happy communist society

Me in front of the wall

my next car! 70’s pea green.

Checkpoint Charlie

Bebelplatz, the site of the 1933 book burning. Interestingly, there is a little memorial nearby with a quote from 19th cent. Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who wrote in his 1821 Play Almansor "where they burn books, they will also burn people". His was among many of the books burned, but I thought it was interesting that he made this quote over 100 years earlier.

Alexanderplatz, it’s so ugly, but the Berliners love it. It’s actually quite a good navigation device. 

Me on Museumsinsel, or literally translated “museum island”. Our tour guide joked that the Germans are great at naming things; the word for ‘gloves’ translates to “hand socks”. Behind me is the Old Museum, which used to contain the bust of Nefertiti, it has since been moved to another museum on the island, the New Museum.  

Berlin Cathedral. 

Dinner! german sausages with saurekraut and mashed potatoes! SO DELICIOUS

Me with the guy outside the restaurant.

My last day we went to the German History Museum, it was pretty cool, it had floorplans to the Berlin Castle (which was destroyed by the soviets), Napoleon’s hat from Waterloo and some cool ancient texts. I liked this map because there’s no America on it!

And this reminded me of something out of Pirates of the Caribbean or Harry Potter.

part of a V2 rocket

a little blurry but a German propaganda poster warning Germans of American Spies

Hamburg to South America in 3 Days!

Gendarmenmarkt, German Cathedral

Gendarmenmarkt, Konzerthaus

Gendarmenmarkt, French Cathedral

Döners for lunch!

Wolksvagon

I want this car too

Amsterdam

RIGHT after the wedding, Lauren and I hopped on a bus to head to Amsterdam for Queen’s Day! The bus was horrible – it reminded me of the stories I hear about the chinatown bus. Everyone was noisy and our driver was crazy. At around 2am, we had to get OFF the bus to get onto the ferry that goes across the channel into France. Then we got back on the bus and had about 8 more hours to go. Torture.

Me on the ferry

Queens Day celebrates the Queen of the Netherlands, from the House of Orange .. that’s why everything is orange.

Enjoying some lunch with Heineken, Amsterdam’s finest.

A Carnival set up in front of the Royal Palace

Cruise Ship!

Slanty Buildings

This is the Medieval Entrance into Amsterdam, also where Rembrandt painted “the Anatomy Lesson”

Pee Deflectors; no matter what angle you pee at it, it will always spray back in your face.

The Original Heineken Brewery

This was inside a little square where a ‘secret’ catholic church exists. Little old ladies/nuns live in all the houses

Skinniest house in Amsterdam

Amsterdam delicacy, fries with sauce!

We went to the Anne Frank house between this, I didn’t take any pictures though. It was really interesting and I couldn’t believe that i was in the actual house. A little creepy too, Lauren had a paranormal experience in it.

Our second day we ventured out to Zaanse Schans, a little village complete with windmills

This windmill was built in 1625

“take a picture of me with this door”

It was so pretty, the owners pulled into the driveway while we were taking the photo, it was awkward.

the LAST piece from the wedding

God Save Our Gracious Queen

– now I think we know where we stole the tune for My Country Tis of Thee

video creds to Lauren

Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin posts up soon, for now, more wedding goodies i’ve picked up.