Yesterday and the day before were so fun! On Friday, we went to dunnhumby, and even though we were sitting there for an extended amount of time, the lady who talked to us was so energetic and loved her job so much that it really didn’t feel like we had spent that much time there at all! We ended up hanging out with most of our group and the PoliSci group from UT on Friday night, and then Saturday, Ashley and I scheduled a tourist day.
First stop? Tower of London 🙂 (well…technically Starbucks, but I digress!) We literally spent 4 hours inside the Tower of London. We saw Traitor’s Gate, Tower Green, and evey one of the towers, but one of my favorite parts had to be seeing the Crown Jewels 🙂 They. Are. Gorgeous. We didn’t even notice the giant Cullinan I diamond that was set in one of the scepters until the 2nd time we went on the moving walkway! Once we saw the Crown Jewels, our next stop was the…gift shop! They had so many cool things in there! One of mine and Ashley’s favorites was the special China Patterns that they were selling in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. They were the most beautiful color of blue(really really similar to Tiffany blue, actually!) and had all these gold designs on them. Ashley thought it would be funny if I bought the replica of Anne Boelyn’s necklace…the “B” would be for Bassett, duh! 😉 Anyway, I only ended up getting Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Christmas Ornament and 2 postcards!
Once we finished looking through the giftshop, we went to tour the different towers within the Tower of London. Most of them were cool to look at, but nothing you’d want to linger at for very long. One tower had a challenge posted on the wall, encouraging visitors to feel as though the fortress would be compromised by the peasants if you-YES YOU, AND ONLY YOU!- didn’t save it…oops! Needless to say, the tower was compromised, and for good reason if they put faith in me to keep it together! This was, of course, the historically accurate representation of a group of 14th century riots that actually did include peasants breaking in and pillaging the Tower(and beheading the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been responsible for the Poll Tax for which they rioted). Another tower was mostly exhibits about King Edward I, but that ended up being the tower where the reenactments were! This ended up being the site of my faux paus!
When Ashley and I walked into the room, there were two actors in there, representing the roles of Princess Joan of Acre and Prince Edward(later King Edward II). They were talking to a little girl whom they’d invited to join them for some tea, but other than that, they weren’t actively talking to the people walking through. When the little girl got up, Edward proclaimed “God Save The King!” and I smiled, assuming this was part of the reenactment, and it’s always been my experience that the actors are not supposed to be talked to because they have to stay in character, and you might say something anachronistic. So all I did was smile as he looked into the small crowd and proclaimed it again. Apparently, this is a no-no…
That’s not what you do when someone says “God Save The King”. You can NOT just smile, however a pretty smile it may be! One is supposed to be excited, maybe even throw all their possessions in the air as they scream “GOD SAVE THE KING!” from the top of their lungs!
Welp….this is awkward…I continue smiling, until I realize that he’s been waiting about 10 seconds for me to respond, so I meekly offered up a, “God save the King?” and he yelled his concurrence as we swiftly exited the exhibit! Once we had finished all of those, we realized that going through the White Tower was its own exhibit, and I really wanted to see the infamous staircase that the Princes’ bodies were found under…I know, I know, morbid curiosity, but COME ON. That story inspired legends and stories, and even a SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY(Richard III, anyone?) As it turns out, we were perfectly in time to go into the chapel next to Tower Green with a Beefeater-led tour, so we did that first before going to White tower. You see the infamous staircase on the way in, complete with a plaque saying what that exhibit is. However, the rest of White Tower is just arms/munitions/weapons/armor museum…for three whole floors…ugh.
Eventually, we made it out and left the Tower to walk towards Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which is a pub that was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. After literally walking for about an hour(hooray, exercise! and saving money by not taking the tube, cuz it wouldn’t have made that much difference anyway?), we found the dark pub, only to discover that their prices were not in line with our Willingness to Pay(I understand, THAT Econ concept!) Luckily, right across the street was the FIRST IRISH PUB OUTSIDE OF DUBLIN! Lucky, yeah? It ended up being quite delicious. I had a jacket potato with cheese and bacon, and Ashley had the Chicken and Ham Pie with “chips” and peas! We finished with about 30 min to spare to get to Twinning’s before they closed! As we consulted the Rick Steve’s book, we became convinced that the 10 minutes past the pub that we’d walked had been in vain, and we resigned ourselves to not being able to go to Twinning’s on Saturday 😦 However, we discovered that even though the book makes it look like Twinning’s in on Fleet Street, it is actually on Strand Street(which was what made us a bit distraught, since we figured we’d passed it!) We stopped in for a FREE cup of tea, and I ended up buying 5 boxes(they DEFINITELY got a return on that free cup!) After that, we set off to walk back, expecting to have to walk to Trafalgar Square until we knew where we were. Surprisingly, that would have been entirely out of the way, as Twinning’s is apparently at the intersection of King’s Way(I think that was the street name?) and Strand, and King’s Way eventually intersects with Bloomsbury which, of course, turns into Great Russell Street!
After that, we had a fairly low key time until we convinced Kerri and Paige to go do something with us. Everybody was exhausted from the Soccer game they’d all been to, so it ended up being only the four of us, but we still had fun! On Sunday, we wanted to go to the Borrough Markets, but they were closed, so Sunday consisted entirely of topping up my cell phone, shopping at the Sainsbury’s, and picking up shampoo/conditioner that won’t make my hair a greasy mess…until we went to Hillsong for the evening service, that is! Hillsong London is literally down the street from us, and it’s held in the Dominion Theater where they put on We Will Rock You(the musical based on Queen). It was a really different experience for a lot of different reasons. One was that it felt more like a Church(Youth) Retreat to me than any service that I’ve ever been to! The band had several singers/guitarists, a keyboard player, and a drummer, and they played on a stage that (understandably, considering the venue) looked more like you were at a concert than a church. The next thing was along the same lines: every time I’ve been to a retreat like that, it was with multiple churches, not a single one…but oh.my.gosh. the shear number of people was astounding. Interestingly enough, we were there the night that one of the Senior Pastors of Hillsong (as in, the campus in Australia!) was visiting to speak. That was kinda cool, but it did help me appreciate how good some of the speakers that I’ve heard speak in the past have been.
Well, off to the Afternoon session of Stats!