Being a Tourist in London

by · March 6, 2013

Weaver at Chelsea Football ClubHello loyal readers,

The past two weeks have been relatively hectic, but I am finally done with my first set of term assignments. I have also started constructing my final papers which are due at the end of term today. What have I been up to you might ask? Besides editing and revising my assignments, I have been embarking on a few exciting adventures.

I recently took a tour of the Chelsea Football Club, and no, this is not American Football.  I got to go out near the pitch and learn about how football began. Although I am not an avid fan, it was an amazing experience to see a stadium of such magnitude in London.

I also explored the streets of South Kensington and found my dream home on Queensbury Avenue. I went to the fashion exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum while in South Kensington, and got in touch with my inner musician while touring the Arts and Performance exhibit, where I saw Beatles memorabilia and one of the first Pink Floyd records. The V&A museum is one of my favorite museums in the world.

I’ve also been learning the art of Rugby. I’ve been watching many of the Six Nations games and, with the help of my friends in the UK, I am learning how the game works.

The most exciting day that I have had thus far has been a day where I went to London all on my own. I bought tickets to see the award-winning play One Man Two Guvnors, and I took the train in early to London Town where my adventures were just beginning. I took the tube from London Paddington to Oxford Street, and then decided to get lost. Somehow I ended up in Hyde Park. I then took the tube again back to Oxford Street and walked to Regent Street, where I bought my brother’s birthday gift in Hamley’s, one of Europe’s oldest toy shops.

Elizabeth TowerI then decided to walk to Westminster Abbey and take a tour. The Abbey is beautiful. I was able to stand among some of the greatest leaders, writers, and thinkers of all time. It was interesting to see how another faith works and how it is similar to my own. Being in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I and Geoffrey Chaucer was absolutely amazing.

After touring Westminster, I took another tube north to the British Library. My Shakespeare professor at the University told me it is the one thing that I should see in London before I leave. I did not realize how right she was until I was standing in front of Jane Austen’s writing desk, which is located in the treasure room in the library. I must admit, it brought me to tears. I also got to see the Magna Carta and one of the first manuscripts of Beowulf. As I walked out of the British Library, I didn’t realize that I was standing near one of the landmarks in Britain that seriously changed my life.

The British Library is located next to Kings Cross Station. The station where Mr. Potter boards Platform 9 3/4. I walked past the station but didn’t go in because I plan to go again with a few of my friends. I want to enjoy it with other Potter fans. Instead, I traveled to the National Portrait Gallery where my breath was taken away by portraits of Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Cassandra Austen’s Portrait of Jane. I even saw the Dutchess of Cambridge’s portrait which was very well presented. I think my favorite was the portrait of Prince William and Prince Harry.

Then it was off to the theatre. I met some of the nicest individuals in the theatre and the person I was sitting next to was a director and professor of theatre from the States. We talked of London and he told me the productions that he was to see and even gave me a few recommendations. The performance was wonderful and my last adventure of the day was the race from Trafalgar Square to London Paddington. London is a quiet city after dark. I think this is what makes it so beautiful at night.

Weaver at Windsor CastleOn Saturday, I went to visit the Queen at Windsor Castle (and, no, I did not have a private audience with Her Royal Highness). I did, however, have the chance to marvel at Queen Mary’s Doll House, and say a prayer in front of the graves of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in St. George’s Chapel. King George VI is one of my heroes because of the obstacles he overcame to be the best possible king. I also found an antique bookshop in Windsor, or rather in Eton, where I found a rare edition of Northanger Abbey, one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. Surprisingly it was not expensive and it now sits on the bookshelf in my room.

Other than those adventures, things have been quite serene in Reading. I’ll write again soon. Thanks for reading about my adventures in Reading!

Cheers,
Steph


Stephanie Weaver, class of 2014, is an English major from Rockville Centre, NY. She is spending her spring 2013 semester studying abroad – and blogging about her adventures – in Reading, England.