Archive for the ‘Andrea in London’ Category


Andrea: Kew Gardens

April 6, 2011
Another lazy photo post. Deal with it 🙂

Andrea: You take the high road, and I’ll take the low road…

April 1, 2011

Everywhere I have traveled thus far, I’ve thought, “THIS is my new favorite place!”, but I really mean it this time for Scotland! My friends and I were fortunate enough to have beautiful weather our first day there, the day that we spent exploring Edinburgh on foot (it’s a pretty small city anyway).

Not far from where we were staying, we found Bobby. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th century Edinburgh after reportdedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray, until he died himself on 14 January 1842. The story sounds a little like Hachi, I think…

We visited the National Museum of Scotland which displayed the country’s past from pre-history to the present. Apparently, a Scottich lock would have had some interesting creatures 400 million years ago…

I also saw the bones of a Plesiosaur which were found at the bottom of what was once a coastal lagoon. Some people think that Nessie is a Plesiosaur.

Afterward, we stopped for lunch at The Elephant House. I’m not really a Harry Potter fan, but I guess this is where J.K. Rowling wrote some of her early novels. It’s also where I tried haggis, neeps, and tatties. I loved it.

We also visited Edinburgh Castle. Perched on an extinct volcano, this instantly recognisable fortress is a powerful national symbol and part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage site.


St. Giles Cathedral:

The next day we took a trip to the highlands and saw a few highland cows, or heilan coos, as they say there. I’m a sucker for anything cute and fuzzy 🙂

We also passed through Glencoe and the Inverness Mountains which were absolutely beautiful. My photos do not do them justice!

And of course, we stopped at Loch Ness.

I’m a believer 🙂

Andrea: Tower of London

February 26, 2011
The Tower has held many famous prisoners in its thousand-year history; some in astonishing comfort, and others less so. Inside the Beauchamp Tower I saw lots of prisoner graffiti…

This was carved into the wall by Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, in 1587. It says, “The more suffering for Christ in this world, the more glory with Christ in the next.”

In the infamous Bloody Tower, I learned about the murder of the Little Princes, Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York. I might have the story wrong, but from what I remember, Edward V was the eldest son of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. He was born in 1470 and ascended the throne when his father died in April of 1483. Because he was only thirteen years old, a minor, his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was entrusted as Protector of his young nephews. Richard had always been a loyal and trusted supporter of his brother King Edward IV, who was the boys’ father. The coronation of Edward was set for June 22nd, 1483. It was tradition for the coronation procession to take place from the Tower of London, through the City of London to Westminster Abbey. Gloucester intercepted Edward’s entourage as it traveled to London. Many of the young king’s supporters were killed and William Hastings was arrested on a charge of treason and imprisoned in the Tower. Edward was escorted to London and then to the Tower. On June 16th, he was joined by his brother Prince Richard. The coronation was cancelled. In 1674 two skeletons were discovered in the White Tower under the stairs leading to the chapel. The skeletons were subsequently reburied in Westminster Abbey as ordered by King Charles II. The skeletons were believed to be the remains of the bodies of the two tragic Little Princes, who were reputedly killed on the orders of their uncle the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards King Richard III. Jerk.
Anyway, I also saw some instruments of torture in the Lower Wakefield Tower…
The Rack
The Scavenger’s Daughter
Five hundred years of spectacular royal armor are also on display, offering a fascinating insight into the personalities, power, and physical size of England’s kings. The skill of the royal armorers was to combine practical protection for tournaments and battle with amazing designs and decoration.

The Crown Jewels are one of the unmissable highlights of a visit to the Tower of London. This astonishing collection of priceless Coronation Regalia has been on public display at the Tower since the 17th century, with only one attempt to steal them! Photography was not allowed, but thanks to Google…

The ravens are one of the most famous sights at the Tower of London. Legend has it that Charles II was told that if the ravens left the Tower, the kingdom and the fortress would fall. Just in case, the Ravenmaster keeps a close eye on them. See him in the background?

Andrea: Borough Market & Portobello Road

February 3, 2011
Much of this past weekend was spent strolling with some flatmates through two of the most well known markets in London: Borough Market and Portobello Road. Borough Market, according to it’s website, is “London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce.” And it is the only place (so far) where I have found corn tortillas and other authentic Mexican ingredients! I’m feeling a taco night coming up soon… Anyway, here are a few of the things I saw and ate:
Cinnamon cookies with elephant designs. I took one to go 🙂
I got myself a raspberry tart. It was pretty amazing.
Portobello Road is home of the world’s largest antiques market. There are dealers all over the street selling old books, jewelry, bags, and lots of other things. Before going there, I thought it would be a lot like a scene from the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks: Minus the singing and dancing, it was pretty similar! Here’s a bit of what I really saw:


HUGE pans of paella made in the street
Cheap scarves were everywhere. I loved it.
This guy is apparently well known on Portobello Road. A lot of shop keepers were speaking to him as if they’d known him for a long time. I guess he just walks around with his dog on his shoulder and lets tourists take pictures of him.

Andrea: Rocks and Water

January 25, 2011

Several years ago when I was taking an introductory art history course covering works from prehistory to the Byzantine era, I saw a picture in my textbook of a group of arranged rocks known as Stonehenge. I never would have thought I’d ever get to see the megalithic ruin that has baffled scholars and excursionists alike for centuries, but whaddya know…

It was very cold on the Salisbury Plain because there is nothing around for miles to break the wind. It was also quite cloudy with short bursts of sunlight here and there, which only added to the mystique of the site. I have to admit that it wasn’t as large as I believed it would be, but I’m not complaining. There are many theories as to who constructed the site and why to keep me interested. Some believe that the druids were responsible. Although it’s been proven that Stonehenge was created before their time, they still would have seen it and possibly used it as a temple. Others say that it was used as an astronomical observatory. Of course, there are also those few who believe that aliens were involved and will return to Stonehenge someday.  Hmm…

Afterward, I made my way to the city of Bath, a World Heritage city where I saw Bath Abbey, and of course, the Roman Baths.

I know that one of Bath’s famous inhabitants was the writer Jane Austen, who actually didn’t like the city. I’ve never read any of her novels before, but I’m definitely inspired to now. The city is incredibly beautiful and I’d love to go back someday. Oh, and I also loved the performing street artists which were pretty much everywhere!

Andrea: Loving London

January 16, 2011
It was only five days ago since my study abroad program began, and I’ve already learned how amazing my experience here can be if I take full advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. Friday evening, CAPA hosted a welcome reception at the Regency Hotel where we were served tea, small tea cakes, scones, and other really yummy treats. During the reception, some of my flatmates and I were greeted by a few professors and other staff members who were all incredibly friendly, which makes me kind of excited for classes to start tomorrow. Afterward, a few of us took the tube to Piccadilly Circus to see what the nightlife is like. Turns out that Londoners know how to have a good time.

Saturday morning, we were taken on a tour by coach through London to see some of the major monuments in the city like Big Ben, London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey. Our tour guide was pretty funny and gave us sooo much information that it was impossible for me to remember it all, but it was still very cool to get a feel for the city, which I am very much falling in love with.

Today was probably my favorite adventure so far. One of the CAPA staff members offered to meet whoever was interested at the Camden Town tube station to show us the area and let us explore. Camden Town is an inner city district in northwest London with tons of open-air and indoor markets, tattoo and piercing shops, and people sporting mohawks and leather jackets almost everywhere you look. The stalls and shops sold tons of clothes, souvenirs, records, all sorts of amazing-smelling food, and lots of accessories to suit just about any style (especially for those into punk or vintage clothing). One area that we went through, the Stables Market, was converted from a Victorian horse hospital.  


I did not walk away with a new tattoo or piercing, but I did pick up a new dress and two new scarves for a pretty good deal. One thing to remember in Camden: barter as much as possible to get the best bargain you can. I will definitely be back there at some point. If not for a new tat, then for the view from the top of Primrose Hill.

Andrea: Moving in

January 13, 2011

I arrived at my flat at 9 this morning, had oodles of fun lugging my suitcase up a flight of stairs, and unlocked the door (after finally getting the key unstuck from the lock) to my new place:

Living room/Lounge

This is the kitchen where we will cook and wash our clothes. hmm...

I didn’t know we’d be given a DVD player, so that’s pretty cool, although I don’t have any DVDs that would play in this region. The students that were here before us left us some books! I’m glad they left a map of the underground stations as well as some travel books. To the left is one of two bathrooms. The other one is connected to one of the bedrooms…
I was the first of my flat to arrive so I was lucky enough to choose my bedroom for my roommates and myself. I found this one and settled in:


I heard that the weather on the east coast of the US is pretty bad right now and a lot of flights were either cancelled or delayed for many CAPA students. Well, I wish them luck and I hope that they arrive soon. After I got myself unpacked, I was taken on a walking tour of the area with a CAPA staff member. She showed me where some good places to eat out are, the local grocery stores, and also took me and some girls living below me to the CAPA center, where my classes will be located, which is just a 10 minute walk. Later on, some flatmates and I went out for fish and chips. All in all, I’m loving it here.


Andrea: Packing

January 4, 2011

There is one week left until I leave to study abroad in London, and to be honest, I’m scared. Leaving behind family and friends for several months and adjusting to a new city might be a little difficult at first, but I’m certain that once I get into the swing of things I’ll have a great time. From all the travel books and websites I’ve browsed through, it seems like there is so much to see and do there that it will be impossible for me to not enjoy myself. When someone tires of London, they tire of life, right? Even though I’m going to miss a lot of people terribly, this blog is one way for me to connect with friends and family and to let them know what I’m up to. As difficult as it may be for me to finally get around to packing (I really should do that today…) and to say goodbye to some people (although it’s really more of a “see you later”) I know that when I come back, I’m going to have so many awesome stories to share with everyone. So, ending this post on a positive and optimistic note, I’m off to find my luggage tags.

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