Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Flashback: Rome Update 10

Flashback: Rome Update 10

November 2, 2004
 Good Morning and Happy Election Day Everyone -

This past week was absolutely wonderful!  We had an extended weekend because yesterday was All-Saints Day and so I haven't had class since last Wednesday.   So for this long weekend, I went to Great Britain and had an awesome time with W&L friends, and cities that spoke English.  Wednesday night I flew to London and didn't realize until I got to the London airport, found my way to the train and then found my way around the Undergrounds (subways), that I have really missed having signs in English.  It did my heart so much good to be able to stop people and ask them for help without worrying about language issues.

I stayed with my W&L friend, Ian, in London and it was great to catch up with him and hear how things are going with his studies at Queen Mary University.  Thursday morning I got up and, armed with his detailed tour book of London and his recommendations for the day, I hit the royal city.  I took the Tube to the center of the city and walked down a long busy street past Trafalgar Square and then turned toward the Mall walking down toward Buckingham Palace.  I arrived just in time to see the parade for the changing of the guard and then walked through St. John Park toward Big Ben, the houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

The Abbey was closed early in the day for some reason and so I took the subway up to the British National Library and saw some original manuscripts of English literature (Beowulf and Chaucer) AND the scores for Handel's Messiah, and various scores of music by Beethoven, Mozart, Britten, Vaughn-Williams and others.  It was AMAZING!  From the library, I continued my music history quest by going to the Handel House Museum
which was a small museum inside the house Handel lived in when he worked and lived in London.  It was a very small museum and no one else was there, but I'm glad I went.

Then I went back down to Westminster Abbey and went through there and saw all the tombs and statues and crypts and King Henry's Chapel and Queen Elizabeth's grave and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Poet's Corner and Musician's Aisle.  The Abbey was definitely not what I was expecting and I had no idea that it is kind of a Royal graveyard.  It was beautiful though.  After the Abbey, I poked my head in the National Gallery, took a REALLY brief look at the Italian Renaissance display and saw original paintings that were on my Art History assignment for that week (which is a REALLY cool sentence to be able to type).   Then I went to the Tower of London and saw the Tower Bridge and London Bridge but it was too late to tour the Tower.  The weather all day was beautiful and I wore a turtleneck but needed no jacket at all, and there was a light shower in the evening but all in all, it was a beautiful day.

That night Ian and I got a quick dinner in China Town and then went to see STOMP as Ian had gotten us half-price, day-of tickets for the show. It was awesome!  STOMP is a show based on the idea that anything can create music and the people on stage made music with everything from brooms, trash cans, lighters, tools and even included kitchen sinks.
After the show, Ian took me to some little plaza near Covent Gardens where a bunch of little fountains shoot out of the ground and we were there for the evening light and music show.  It is a square where people can just walk amongst the fountains as they flow straight up in the air, and not get too wet due to the distance between the streams.  It was beautiful!

Then Friday I flew from London to Edinburgh, Scotland and took a two hour bus ride to St. Andrews and the ride was GORGEOUS!  All the leaves were changing up there and there was plenty of wide open highlands and rolling hills, and we were driving right along the banks of the North Sea.  It was just want my heart needed to refresh me for another few months in the city and the same was true for the temperature.  Rome is still allowing short sleeve weather and those kinds of temperatures for Halloween just aren't in my blood.  It was so nice to be able to see my breath and wear long sleeves.

I saw Kate (my good friend and sorority sister) and hung out with two other sisters who are studying there (Rachel Coritone and Laura Peckman), and saw a number of other W&L kids over the weekend and it just did me a lot of good to have some familiar kids around.  Kate and I went to a Halloween party on Friday and I was a cat, and we went to
church on Sunday with our sorority sisters and then went out to a pancake breakfast, and then did some shopping in the little town of St. Andrews... it was just a really wonderful and refreshing weekend!

Oh, and Saturday night, I got to watch the end of the MICHIGAN V. MICHIGAN STATE GAME!!!!  The one that Michigan was behind 27-10 with 6:00 left in the game... they came back to TIE it and then WON IT in TRIPLE overtime!!!  It was SOOOO wonderful because Kate and I watched on-line starting at the 4th quarter on her computer and she knows how crazy I am about football ALREADY, so there was no explanation needed regarding my behavior or yelling or jumping up and down... it was all a given.  It may be the only game I get to watch this season and it was just icing on the cake for an already perfect and relaxing weekend.

Well, I guess that wraps it up for this week.  Don't forget to vote today!  It's all ANYONE wanted to talk to me about in Great Britain when they found out I was an American and it is all they televised on the British news circuit.

Mom and Daddy got home safely, just to let you all know.  I hope all is well in your neck of the woods and that the election goes off without a hitch.  I love you all!

- B

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