Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Very London Weekend

Why, you ask, was it a very London weekend?
Well... Saturday began with a trip to the famous Portobello Market! It was really fun, and we ended up spending a LOT longer than we meant to there (and still didn't get halfway through the whole thing.) It is best known for having a ton of cool antiques (which it did), but I didn't get anything (I am more of a Chinatown in New York girl:]).  

(These are most of my roommates, and the only picture I took there... notice my Cambridge shirt?:])

I had a little study time after that, then Saturday night started with a spontaneous trip to see
Phantom of the Opera!
We literally got to the theatre about half an hour before the show started (after a tube closure, and getting lost a couple times, and asking for a lot of directions...), but were still able to get really good last minute tickets for only 25 pounds! It was awesome! 

(...we're very excited!)

After the show, we exited the theatre and heard a big commotion coming from Picadilly Circus. Following the noise, we found this:

Spain had just won another world cup game, so of course the city was crazy. We decided to check out Trafalgar Square, only to find that it was closed down due to the riots after the game.  The place was trashed

This was actually one of the cleaner parts on the edge of the square. There were parts where you literally could not see the ground because it was so covered in trash.  It is really sad how everyone over here trashes the beautiful city they have! (The rest of the city was basically covered in trash that night, too.) 

Anyway, we kept walking, and were soon reminded that it was also gay/lesbian pride day in London as we passed the block-long line to get into the Pride Party.  I have never seen so many cross dressers in my life.  We ended up at the River Themes, and decided to stop by a waffle stand! They have these dessert waffles here, which I have always heard about but never tried before. Let me tell you... they are amazing. You can get basically anything you want on them, and they all looked sooo tasty. I ended up getting the "black and white" waffle, which basically just had chocolate and whipped cream on it.

There is a waffle under there somewhere, I promise!

Honestly, they were delish.  (Family, we are getting these when you come!) 
We took a few pictures down by the Themes, Big Ben, and Parliament, and headed home.

On a bridge over the River Themes.  A lot of the buildings and big attractions were lit up with rainbow lights to celebrate gay pride day.  It looked pretty!
(a super cute Ferris Wheel on the river bank, with the London Eye in the Background.)

Sunday, we went to our assigned wards for the first time! We are going to be attending these wards every week for the next 6 weeks, and are supposed to get a calling and really be a part of the ward.  Well... it was an experience.  We left about an hour and a half early, but after a tube closure, consequently missing our train, waiting for the next train, leaving the train station from the wrong direction, and walking in a huge square before finding our building, we were still about 25 mins late.  

Our ward meets in an elementary school! It is so weird... sacrament meeting and Sunday school are both in the big gym, and relief society was in a smaller gym.  Church here in general is just very... different. Of course, it was still really cool, and there were some great testimonies and I could really feel the Spirit!

Sunday night, there was yet another summer concert in Hyde Park (the last one!).  It was actually an all day festival, but by the time we could make it over (after dinner and whatnot), all we heard was Jay-Z.  Which was still pretty dang cool.  We heard a lot of his really big songs (New York, Forever Young, Run This Town, Big Pimpin, Public Service Announcement (one of my favorites!), and a bunch of others). 
Since we were going to see Jay-Z, we also thought it would be appropriate to dress up somewhat gangsta (it didn't really work, butpop we tried!) There were about 4 or 5 of us that went, but this is the only picture that I have on my camera... I'll have to get the others from someone else!

If I know you well, chances are I have shown you or at least mentioned this video, because I think it is one of the coolest videos...ever:

So, as we were leaving Hyde Park, there were some guys with a "Free Hugs" sign, giving away free hugs! I was soo beyond excited! I didn't realize until after I had passed them, but I ran back as soon as it registered.  The girls I was with came back too, and soon we started giving away free hugs with them! We ended up staying at Hyde Park and doing the whole "Free hugs" thing for about 45 mins-1 hour.  It was sooo great! You can't possibly hug that many people (it was probably a couple hundred) and not have a huge smile on your face. There was a steady stream of people, some of whom were very... interesting, but most of whom were super nice and cool. Honestly, it was one of the best experiences of my life... so, so fun! Plus, now I can officially cross that off my bucket list! Woo hoo!

Monday, I basically just went out and did a little bit of grocery shopping for some snacks.  And I bought one of these: (which I am very, very excited about for some reason)

After dinner, I also went over to Hyde Park to get some reading done.  It was perfect! I walked about 20 mins into the park, found the big pond in front of Kensington Palace (covered with moss and swans), relaxed on the grass, and read.  The setting actually made reading about symbolism in Christianity and churches bearable! 
(the place is covered in swans... yeah, it's ridiculous.)

Today, I went to the British Museum, which is HUGE and super cool.  But, I got distracted by the ancient Egyptian exhibits and didn't see everything that I was supposed to, so now I have to go back.  (I used to be obsessed with ancient Egypt, if you didn't know that.) 

So, now I think I am going to go back to Hyde Park to do some more reading... I think I'll be doing that more often from now on:]

p.s. Sorry for the relatively picture-less blog, I have a lot of pictures that I need to get from other people... They'll be on the next one though!

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