Tag Archives: reading week

Do you hear the people sing?

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Or in my case groan in pain,  but we’ll get to that later. Boy, did I have a busy day today! Where to start? Oh, I know! My schedule, or more like the list of bookshops I was going to check out. In my defense the only set thing I had was my obligatory theatre visit tonight. And the weather was gorgeous! Seriously, after last night I thought I’d be in for the chills. But no sir! I guess all the fireworks warmed up the sky?

I left the hotel bright and early and confident that I could face my immortal enemy with no problem. And what is my immortal enemy you might ask? It’s a different every other week but high on the list is always public transport. I mean seriously! Good luck figuring THIS out:

Hello! My name is Map and I am here to help you get lost faster and more efficiently.

There are two kinds of getting lost in my book (well, three if you kind my wishful thinking towards certain entities). There is the “shit I’m lost and I’ll be late” kind and then there is the “let’s walk through whichever road I fancy” kind. Today I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing both. First because I misread the aforementioned map and nearly boarded the wrong train. (And then nearly good squashed against the doors because rush hour). I have to give kudos to the disemboded announcer guy at Kennington station for directing traffic with the words: “Please move to any empty spaces to the right, it will make life easier for everyone.” And that is verbatim. Keh! Londoners are sassy!

I guess even dear old Will needed a break from all the writing...

I guess even dear old Will needed a break from all the writing…

Eventually I made it to Leicester Square and the closest Starbucks for  a much-needed sugar rush. The seasonal specials were just out today. Oh eggnog latter, how have I missed you! Thus armed I proceeded to get myself lost in this gorgeous part of London. -sigh- Why can’t I afford to stay here when I’m visiting? I generally don’t feel comfortable in large cities. I find them suffocating, all moody people, tall buildings and convoluted public transport (looking at you, Northern Line). Oh sure, I can appreciate the culture and shopping variety but only for a few days. Then it’ll be (happily) back to my small town with its manageable bus routes, its walkable distances and gentle teasing from a certain someone who can’t wrap his head around the idea that a smaller town can be as much (or even more) fun as a larger one, coughCardiffcough.

The neighbourhood is called Seven Dials, don't ask me why.

The neighbourhood is called Seven Dials, don’t ask me why.

See? Seven dials! Then again it IS the theatre district. Poetic licence?

See? Seven dials! Then again it IS the theatre district. Poetic licence?

I had made a list of a few bookshops I wanted to check out but honestly it was a more “let’s see what we’ll see” day. I ended up walking all the way to the British Museum, through the theatre district and Soho. Along the way I stopped at Mysteries and Treadwell’s (yes, these are bookshops), did a little shopping and let me tell you, good thing I’m on a limited budget (and luggage space) or I’d still be there going through books…

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BOOKS!

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On a slightly irrelevant note, both my flatmates and I are international students. We have this running theory that if you are staying or visiting a foreign country you will end up magically gravitating towards other people from your own country. Since I bump into Greeks at the weirdest places, I’m pretty sure there’s a sociologist out there that could probably prove this. It came therefore as little surprise when, after leaving Treadwell’s, the first shop that caught my eye was called The Life Goddess and was -you guessed it!- a Greek deli place. Shoutout to them, their meat pie is to die for! (and I take my pie-tasting very seriously!) I’ll probably go there again tomorrow, their cheese looked really good and it’s been a while since I have had graviera (look it up!).

Oh, why can't you be in Norwich?

Oh, why can’t you be in Norwich?

So anyway, by then my feet were starting to hurt and my sugar rush was long gone. Back to Leicester Square via Trafalgar Square (because I could) and back to the hotel. I’d barely kicked my shoes off when my phone went Ding! Lo and behold the latest (and last) Naruto chapter was up.

WARNING: FANGIRL SPAZZING FOLLOWING

I will keep this spoiler free but OH MY GOSH IT WAS AWESOME! AND I HAD SOOOOOOO CALLED SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED! AND DAMN MY SHIPPING IS CANNON! WORD OF GOD, MARRIAGE AND BABIES CANNON! TAKE THAT YOU NON-BELIEVERS! -mental happy dance complete with twirls and imaginary confetti-

FANGIRL SPAZZING OVER

-ahem- Yeah, usually I try not to be so vocal (keep telling yourself that) but I get so rarely to see a pairing that I like being cannon that it’s an extra treat when it happens. And in this chapter I got four. Four! Practically gift-wrapped! I haven’t felt this much fangirl-glee since the last episode of season 6 of The Mentalist aired.

Past my fangirl fantasies being fulfilled (alliteration!) I also had the stage performance of Les Miserables to look forward to. It was…interesting to say the least. I mean, the musical itself was awesome, the cast amazing and -snif- Javert is firmly placed on my hug-at-first-sight list of fictional characters (I also have a glomp one and a shoot one, but that is a subject for a another post). But getting to the theatre… Oh I was all excited, was even going to wear my new, comfortable-ish stilettos, my hair co-operated on the first try, it appeared that there was nothing rotten in the state of Denmark (or the Olde London Town as a matter of fact). And then somebody Up There (or Down There, or Around Here) decided that I had had too much fun. Cue the artfully hidden by leaves pothole. Cue the sprained ankle and the half mile trek on heels. I’ve a high pain tolerance and I was still ready to cry by the time I made to the theatre. At least the performance made up for it, and the weather held out on the way back, because if I ended up having to limp with a bad ankle, on twelve-inch heels, under heavy rain… Let’s just say this post would have been on a more uncharitable nature. As it is I will leave you for a hot bath and an eight hour sleep before I head out to take London by storm again.

London Bridge is falling down…falling down…falling….

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Well, not down. Sorry to any music lovers, but from what I saw in the gloomy twilight London Bridge was most definitely NOT falling down! Or was it Tower Bridge? I was on Southwark with my back to the St. Paul Cathedral so… But I run ahead of myself. First things first: Welcome old readers and new to my latest round of travel blogging! Sit back, kick off your shoes and immense yourself to the wanderings of a 20something student with a limited budget and no head for directions.

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Aaand we’re ready to go folks!

My trip started so well, I couldn’t help feeling suspicious. I was on the train station early enough to grab a coffee, I boarded the train as soon as it arrived and made myself comfortable. The thing is, I have a really bad history with trains. Delays, misprints, getting lost…You name it, I’ve been through it some point. So I was understandably internally freaking out when one of the train people (conductor? I’m not sure what you call them) asked me if I was certain I was on the right train. Yup, I was, thank you very much! What followed, after we rolled out of the station at the pace of a lazy dragon, was a blissful couple of hours spend in re-reading Chocolat (read it if you haven’t, it’s AWESOME!), listening to music, admiring the landscape and fighting sleep. Had a bad night yesterday, I always seem to sleep badly the night before a trip. Which, if you think about it, is really bad management on my body’s part.

Anyway, not much to say for the train ride other than to describe a gorgeous sky that greeted us just as we entered the greater London area. Imagine that: it had been raining so far for the entire trip, so the landscape was coloured dark green and grey, But here the clouds were thinner and the occasional burst of sunlight, the pretty, golden kind, burst through. It’s amazing how much of a change the difference in light makes.

So I made it well and whole to London, and even managed to decode the train map in less than ten minutes. And that’s about where my transport-related fortune bids me goodbye. You see, I knew which stop to get off to, I just didn’t know which exit.Inevitably, I ended up choosing the one furthest from my hotel. It wasn’t a long walk, but if you’ve been in London you know how well the roads are signposted in some areas. Thank goodness for mobile GPS.

As for the hotel. It’s actually much better than I expected. Sure the neighbourhood is not that good (read: took a taxi back because the streets look scary) and there is some wear-and-tear but the room is clean, the bathroom sparkling and the bed comfortable. Also, I haven’t been able to hear anything past faint footsteps through the door, and after that place I stayed last year in Bangor…. When I booked they said they were giving me the last room, which might explain why there are a single and a double bed here (three guesses on which one I’ll sleep).

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I unpacked quickly and off I was to see my cousin. Poor baby, he’s a first year. Being the jaded third year that I am, I find his fresher-itis very amusing. We went at Nandos (not my top choice when there are pubs to sample) and then for a walk in Southwark. Top moment of the evening (initiating fangirl mode in 3…2….) I FINALLY SAW THE GLOBE THEATER! OH MY SHAKESPEARE! I FINALLY SAW IT! -ahem- Yes, I know it’s not the original but until I bump into either the Doctor of Marty McFLy (at this point I’m not picky. Heck, I’d even put up with Captain Kirk!), until I manage to get my hands on a time travelling transport I will content myself with what I can get.

Not that I am complaining... It IS the freaking Globe...

Not that I am complaining… It IS the freaking Globe…

Anyway, Cousin and I walk all the way to St Paul’s cathedral (cue the Mary Poppins song)  but by then the cold was getting annoying, so we grabbed a taxi and headed home. And so here I am finishing these lines. I will attempt to upload (the WiFi keeps crashing) and I hope you enjoyed my babbling. See y’all later!

P.S: Look at the gorgeous moon I saw from Southwark bridge!

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In which there is travel planning

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…which is significantly different than having travel plans! You make travel plans when you scroll wistfully through page after page on TripAdvisor, all the while going, “Too expensive. Too far away. Needs visa. All booked…” etc. etc. BUT! Travelling planning is what you do after you’ve booked tickets and hotel rooms and you realise you have less than 24 hours to put the house in some order and pack your bag. Which is what I should be doing right now. But never mind shoulds… Originally this post was going to be a short announcement to tell whoever is reading my blog (-insert crickets chirping-) that for the rest of this week there’ll be a small change in my posting rota.

If you’ve been around since last spring, you’ll remember that I did the whole post-a-day-travel-blog shtick while I was spending money I should have probably saved and travelling around Britain instead of revising for my exams. Frankly it was more of a challenge from me to me, to see if I could adhere to a posting schedule. It mostly worked, I’m proud to say. So, this year, I’m repeating the experience on a smaller scale. Instead of working on my dissertation (as I should) and not spending money I really can’t afford to spend, I’m spending my reading week in London!

And you, dear reader, get to read all my gripes regarding public transport, my fangirling over weird bookshops and even weirder museum exhibitions and my unabashedly unprofessional critisism of restaurants and coffee shops all over the greater London area (mostly because it won’t be a proper trip if I don’ end up on the wrong metro line and get myself to Heathrow instead of the Kensington Gardens…).  Hey, I might even upload a picture or two! Now, wouldn’t that be a treat!