Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
On Friday night we went to a mosque close to the park where we live, and we covered our hair with scarves and entered the huge prayer room where a Muslim man sat down with us beneath the vast blue dome and taught us about the Five Pillars of Islam and what it means to believe in Allah.
Then we rented bikes in the park and rode around in the rain through the streets of London until we found good cookies and were soaked to the skin.
On Monday we went to St. Paul's Cathedral and sat staring in awe at the gigantic dome towering above us and the painted murals staring down at us, and we climbed so many stairs to the top that we could see for miles and miles in every direction.
Last week we went to Les Miserables, which is my most favorite theater production of all time, and the voices were so beautiful, and the story was so tragic that I may have cried once or twice, and I haven't been able to stop listening to those songs.
Yesterday we went to Westminster Abbey where we saw the graves of Isaac Newton, Bloody Mary, Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Lord Byron, Wordsworth, the Bronte sisters, Matthew Arnold, George Frideric Handel, Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, Alfred Tennyson, Edward Elgar, William Walton and tons and tons and tons of others.
On Friday we went to Kew Gardens, the largest botanical gardens in the world, just outside of London, and we walked and walked through the most beautiful redwoods and rhododendrons and waterlilies.
On Thursday, we went to a free piano concert at church where a professional Russian piano man played pieces by Franz Liszt and Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Alexander Scriabin, a Russian composer whose pieces I'd never heard before, and I couldn't believe someone so talented, with so many credentials, would play a free concert in such a small chapel for such ordinary people.
On Thursday we rode a train outside of London to Southall where many, many Indian people live, and we went to one of the biggest Gurdwara temples around, a temple where they practice Sikhism, and we ate dinner at one of the best Indian restaurants around, and the food was so spicy my stomach almost folded in on itself and defected from its duties.
A couple weekends ago we went to a soccer match--I refuse to call it football because it's just not football--at Wembley Stadium between England and Switzerland, and we were so high in the stands that we could've been in an airplane, but the field was smack dab in the middle, and the soccer players made it so much fun to watch, and it was over so fast; there were so many people that it took us an hour to get back to the train station, which had taken five minutes to walk from on our way to the game.
Now, it is the fifth and last week of London.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Not a joke. They're almost back to normal.
The other day we went to the British Museum, and Danielle and I made up stories about everything we saw in there because we were not in the mood to read all of the informational plaques.
The other day we were going to ride bikes in the park, but it started raining, so instead we walked to a mosque and then ate fish and chips on the side of the road with lots and lots of tartar sauce.
The other day we walked around a special part of London and saw where Charles Darwin lived and where Virginia Woolf and other people lived and what parks they visited.
The other day we took a train to Cambridge University in Cambridge and explored the whole town, and we visited the many colleges within the university and went inside King's College church, built in the 15th and 16th centuries, which was enormous and magnificent, and we saw the stain glass windows it took them 30 years to complete.
The other day in Cambridge we went to a little cottage where artists gathered to share their ideas and read books, and then we went to another church at Clare College where we participated in Evensong and listened to a beautiful choir sing Psalms and repeat scripture.
On Wednesday night, a few of us got on a bus at 11:00 p.m. and ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland (one of my most favorite cities) at 8:00 a.m. Amount of sleep we got in that time - zero. We found a little bed and breakfast a few minutes out of town where Graham, the owner, with a thick, thick mustache and thick, thick Scottish accent, let us sleep and fed us breakfast and called me shorty and tried to sell us his expensive kilts.
That day we walked up the Royal Mile and went to Edinburgh Castle and listened to them shoot the one o'clock cannon, and we saw where they kept their prisoners and where they worshipped their God and where they buried their dogs.
Later that day we ate some good Scottish food at the Crag and Tale and explored St. Giles Church and listened to the bagpipe street musicians, and then we ventured into the catacombs beneath the city on a ghost tour in what is said to be one of the most haunted places in Great Britain, but I'm still waiting for proof.
The train ride on Friday from Edinburgh to Stirling was so beautiful that it almost kept me awake, but I fell asleep and when we got there, we walked up 246 steps to the top of the William Wallace Monument, and it was so windy on top that I could barely stand up straight, and we could see for miles and miles, and I never wanted to leave because I love wind and good views.
A bus ride and a few minutes walk later, we were in Stirling Castle with another gorgeous view taking lots of pictures and trying not to cry from the beauty.
The same day, we went to St. Andrew's, a town with that really famous golf course, and we bought some golf balls, and we climbed some rocks on the beach, and we put our feet in the freezing, freezing North Sea.
The next day we hiked up to the very top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, now an inactive volcano, which compared to Salt Lake mountains looks like just a hill, but when you hike up it, it feels like a mountain, and it was so windy on top that I had to hold onto stuff so I wouldn't fly away, and we could see all of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth and the thunderclouds rolling in, and we had to huddle under my raincoat because we were too stubborn to get off that mountain any sooner than we needed to.
I feel like I have lived five lives in the past two and a half weeks.