My time in the UK is coming to a quick end, which means my days are packed exploring and revisiting some of my favorite place in London. Over the weekend AHA London Centre took us to Brighton as our final excursion. We could not have asked for a more gorgeous day. The sun was shining as we sat on the pebble beach, ate our Fish and Chips, and let each ray of sunshine soak into our now English white shin. It was a perfect day to recuperate from the tube strike that took place the week before.
I think that one of my favorite activities of my time here as been going to the theatre! It has truly been amazing to be able to see such a variety of productions. Since my theatre blog post I was able to see Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw, and Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well performed by a cast from India. Each of these play were drastically different and equally well done. Titus was a bloody and sad mess, but the acting was on point and by the end I was feeling like part of the production. The Testament of Mary was an interesting and insightful interpretation of the final days of Christ’s life as felt by his mother. Though the ending was tragically unhopeful I enjoyed being able to see Mary in a new light. All’s Well that Ends Well was a beautiful and vibrant production performed in Gujarati! I absolutely loved being able to see how other cultures that are vastly different than my own make Shakespeare reflect their lives. All in all I have seen seventeen plays over the past fourteen weeks! Truly such a blessing.
Back to Brighton! Brighton is known as the pleasure centre of England, and is where many royals, theatre people, and people looking for a good time come to enjoy the shops and ocean. Situated just an hour out of London it is the perfect destination to venture to on a long weekend.
We walked in and out of the winding streets overflowing with tiny shops. In the morning there was a colourful children’s parade. Each group of kids had chosen favorite children’s book and created costumes and props that illustrated the book to the crowd. The energy was invigorating, and it made me want to get out my favorite books from my childhood!
We then were able to visit the Royal Pavilion where George IV created an escape palace for him and his friends. It was decorated in Chinese/Japanese/Indian ways, and was breathtaking! In the main dining room there was a six foot dragon holding a thirty foot chandelier! The amount of luxury and money that went into this exotic building was immense.
Returning from Brighton I was greeted by a wonderful family part at my homestay for my host brother’s confirmation! A truly wonderful end to an amazing day. Over the last week moments like these have been arising more frequently, which has made me realize how blessed I have been by my time here. The people have made this amazing place become even more special!
To finish up my palace and castle experiences I decided to take a trip to Kensington Palace situated in the heart of London. Kensington Palace has been home to several monarchs, most famously King William and Queen Mary, and Queen Victoria. These monarchs have helped shape England into what it is today, and their influence is felt in each room situated throughout the palace. Because of my classes here in London I was able to go into the palace with a baseline knowledge of the importance of each of these monarchs, and was able to get a lot out of walking through these magnificent halls. I’m glad I waiting till the end to see this breathtaking palace!
One of my favorite places in London has been the Notting Hill area. I first went there on my Romantic Movie Walking tour that I took the first few weeks—feels like just yesterday—and have returned a few times. Notting Hill is filled with houses put side by side and colour a variety of pastel colours. Then there are the quaint shops scattered around the area filled with antiques, clothes, books and anything you could imagine. I knew that I wanted to go back one last time, and even though it was raining I still felt blessed by this wonderful area.
As our final London excursion, AHA London took us on a tour of the BBC! I am personally a huge fan of the BBC, and was really happy with the tour we were put on. BBC is the world’s largest news company, and is complete independent from the government and private owners. Instead they receive their funding from the British households with TV signals and advertising for their world news, which allows them to be as unbiased as possible. We were all surprised by the vast news room that was filled with people running about trying to get the news to the people! We were also able to do a short mock broadcast, and put on a mini radio drama. The BBC was wonderful!!
Titus Andronicus- http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/titus
Testament of Mary- https://www.barbican.org.uk/theatre/event-detail.asp?ID=15573
All’s Well that Ends Well- http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/whats-on/globe-theatre/globe-to-globe/alls-well-that-ends-well
Kensington Palace- http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/
BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours/