Have I been gone for a week already?! In one way it feels like only a matter of hours, in others it feels as though it has been months. Europe is amazing! There is so much to see and so much to experience, and just a little too much to take in...
Well, as most of you know, I flew into London HR last Thursday morning London time. I drug myself off of the plane and made my way through airport corridors to the Tube station down below. Exhaustion and a bit of confusion set in, the result of a 20 hour day and excitement from years of anticipation. Even so, the Tube was a breeze! It just makes sense (Seattle could learn from the Brits :) ). I found my hostel, the Globetrotter Inn fairly easily (except for not realizing that there is no free-standing street signs, street names are marked on the buildings), and checked in. That night I met who would become my travel companions for the first week, and likely the first month of my travel. I was put up with 3 Aussies and a German. The Aussies -- Jess, Lauren, and Brendan. The German -- Jess. They have been amazing!!
So, London... a little too much to tell, but I'll impart a taste. First off, I was amazed by the Tube, which had a big impact on the traffic. One of the biggest cities in the world, but the majority of traffic is foot traffic! The Tube is so very efficient and so very accessible that London's streets are largely clear of the personal automobile. Secondly, what an electric city! This city is alive. People are everywhere. I have never been in a city with so many different cultures, ethnicities, and people groups. Everywhere you walk you hear different languages, different colors, different accents. It's really cool. Not too hard to get lost in the mass.
So, more specifically, where have I been? All over! We wandered all throughout the central part of London. Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Green Park, St James Park, London Bridge, Tower Bridge... There are monuments and sculptures everywhere! Buckingham was really cool, we saw the changing of the guard on horseback and took some great pics around the fountain that sits in front. Some great monuments tower over the city, as though watching and protecting its inhabitants. Nelson's Column in the middle of Trafalgar, Big Ben part of the palace of Westminster, Lord it over the city.
Although all of it has been great, I really don't think that anything can compare to Les Miserables at the Queen's theatre in London's west-end. First off, the art on the walls and ceiling are incredible! There are some really cool sculptures extending down from the vaulted ceiling and on the circular walls above the stage. Then, the show began. The sets were the best that I have seen. The entire show takes place on a revolving stage, and atop of that for most of the show is a show that rotates between a city building with elevated boardwalk and a barracade. On top of it all, the acting and singing was magnificent. I can only say so much, you'll just have to go!!
Anyways, the Aussies and I are now in Dublin, and I will have to fill you in on that in a bit...
Photos below -- Top - momument and gate in front of Buckingham. Second - gate and me! Third - Buckingham. Bottom - Westminster Abbey.