Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hampton Court Palace Vol. II

Check here for more info about my trip and the historical background here!


^^All of the tapestries in the palace are washed in a giant, special washing machine on the grounds. Apparently, tapestries are sent all around the world to Hampton Court for restoration and to be cleaned.^^

^^"Um, hi! King Henry? Can we... um... take a picture? Please?"^^

^^My flatmate found the ghost of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's 5th wife.^^

Monday, January 28, 2013

When it snows at the museum...

...the school children play in the forecourt,
artists create snow sculptures to promote the new Ice Age exhibition,
tourists slip on the heavily iced pavement (unfortunately),
and the museum looks absolutely magical!

^^Since it gets dark here at like 4:00, I get to see this everyday after work. The picture doesn't do it justice. This place is absolutely beautiful at night.^^

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hampton Court Palace Vol. I

One of our trips through the study abroad program was to Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle (which I will eventually get to...). Of course that was on the same day that it snowed like four inches and the entire city went crazy. Like I said before, London was not meant to handle even a light dusting of snow. But, I absolutely loved the snow at Hampton Court. There was something about the snow that made the palace come to life. The only downside with the snow was that parts of the palace and gardens were closed to the public. This just means that I will have to make a second trip just to see what I've missed. I'm totally okay with that!

Hampton Court was a place of residence for King Henry VIII and his infamous brides. The Great Hall inside the palace is the Uk's last surviving medieval hall. It was used by William Shakespeare's company in their performances for James I. The kitchens were designed to feed Henry's court (about 600 people) twice a day.


^^There were some really creepy wooden figures in the courtyards. They just looked sad and pathetic in the snow.^^

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Local Adventures" - Chinatown

One of the perks of living in the Study Centre is that Chinatown is only a few blocks away. All of my flatmates wanted to get some really good Chinese food for dinner. Mission: accomplished! I had some of the best sweet and sour chicken I've ever had. After dinner, we walked around and found a small Chinese market that sold all types of Chinese candy and a lot strange things. A few of us bought some things and tried new foods. It was all part of the experience, so we thought "why not?"

^^And on our back, we found Liam Gallagher from Oasis. My flatmate really wanted a picture, so this is what she got. I think she is very happy with it!!^^

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Local Adventures" - Notting Hill

This past Wednesday, I went to the BUNAC (my Visa sponsor) offices in Notting Hill for an intern orientation. Since I do not live close to Notting Hill, I decided to make a little adventure out of this errand. I gave myself plenty of time to walk around and snap a few pictures here and there. Unfortunately the meeting was at 6:00pm, so it was already dark by the time I stepped out of the tube (it starts getting dark around here at like 4:30!!). I made a mental note to come back during the daytime because it was such a quaint and beautiful area. Now when I think of Notting Hill, the movie with Hugh Grant comes into mind. I was kinda hoping to come across the blue door from the movie, but that never happened. Instead, I saw a lot of antique stores and small shops selling all types of art. Like most parts of the city, there is a mixture of old and new. You could be walking alongside a row of townhouses that look a few hundred years old, and then come across a giant, modern fashion store with huge t.v. screens flashing advertisements at you. Anyway, here are a few shots from the small section of Notting Hill that I got to see.

 ^^This little pub with all of the greenery on it happens to be a very famous and historic (built 1750s!) pub here in London. Apparently, Churchill's grandparents came to this place often. So after WWII, the pub was renamed Churchill Arms.^^
^^My first encounter with the poppy wreaths.^^

^^This is an entrance to St. Mary Abbots Church.^^

^^I have seen so many of these flower stands on the streets of London. I just can't imagine all of the flowers there will be when springtime hits the city.^^

Friday, January 18, 2013

When it snows in London...

...all of the locals freak out,
public transportation nearly comes to a stop,
schools, shops, and tourist attractions close,
and everybody has a sour look on their face.

All for a little snow flurry.

But not us! 
We enjoyed the snow even though we had to walk through it all day on our excursions and were informed with the news of Windsor Castle's sudden closure because of the weather. 

Oh, yes. It was cold. 
But we kept calm and carried on. 

^^Two of my flatmates and I outside of Hampton Court.^^

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Local Adventures" - 3 Hour Tour

Here is another blog series that I will be starting. "Local Adventures" will document all of my small excursions around town (wherever that might be). 

On Sunday, everyone in the Study Centre hopped on a private coach for a three hour tour. A three hour tour. We got see all of the main sights of London from the bus. At certain points, we got out and walked to get a better view of some of the attractions. It was cold and cloudy all day, so none of us were that excited to spend this much time outside. Around the end of the tour, the majority of us were so cold and tired that we stayed on the bus instead of going out to take pictures. Our logic was that we will eventually get to see this stuff later within our four month stay in London. So, those pictures can wait. In the mean time, here are some picture from the first half of the tour.

 ^^The Tower of London across the river Thames.^^

^^Statue of Queen Anne in front of St. Paul's Cathedral.^^

^^Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.^^

^^Using the people on top of stairs as a scale, you can just imagine how huge this cathedral is.^^

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Captured" Vol. I

This new blog series will have posts that show a single photo without any caption or story. The main purpose of this series is to show a special moment that lets the picture do all of the talking. 

"Museum Moment" - British Museum Vol. I

Okay, so I want to start a blog series about museums and galleries. Museums are my thing, so you will definitely see me posting lots of stuff about museums in the future. Hopefully, this will encourage you to go to a museum near you and take advantage of everything they have to offer. 

On Friday, a few of my apartment roommates and I went to the British Museum in the evening for about an hour. Spending only an hour at this place is just impossible, because the museum is way too big to tackle it all in such a short period. Knowing this from the start, we decided to make a promise to go by there once every week or two to cover at least one section of the museum at a time. Since this museum is only a stone's throw away (literally!), we agreed that this would be an easy goal for us. On this trip, we tackled parts of the Middle East, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece & Rome.

Going to the British Museum at night is completely different than going during the day. The museum is nearly dark except for the lights that are shining on the works. To me, this really makes the collection stand out, since they are the major focal point of the museum. Plus, the environment is very calm and quiet because fewer people visit the museum at night. This is definitely my favorite time to go to a museum.

^^Colossal statue of a winged lion dates around 883 BC. It is placed at the entrance of the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II along with an exact copy that frames the other side of the entrance. These figures have five legs because they are meant to be seen standing from the front and the side.^^


^^Statues from the pediment of the Parthenon are dated around 447 BC. Many of the figures are missing appendages and their heads, but they are still stunningly beautiful.^^

^^Sections of ancient Greek mosaic floors. They are incredibly detailed and very colorful despite their age.^^

^^A few mummies that are on display dressed in different stages of the religious funeral customs of ancient Egypt.^^

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