In order to have a temporary break from the busy life on campus, I chose to embark on a journey to London this Easter break to spend Easter with family. I had an amazing time, and got to partake in some much needed relaxation after such a busy few months on campus. Because of the low-key nature of this visit, I didn’t do nearly as much active things as I did the last time I was here, which is why I chose to write one longer post instead of doing really short ones everyday.
After arriving on Wednesday evening, I spent Thursday simply relaxing and going to the park with my Aunt and cousin. Despite the lack of sunshine for the first few days here, the temperature was warm and there was a distinct lack of rain, so I wasn’t going to complain.
This was a week of new London experiences for me, so on Friday we journeyed to one of the several amazing museums in this city which I haven’t been to, The Victoria and Albert. It is an incredible museum, and I thought the large variety of exhibits made it a really interesting experience. Not only was there sculptures and other pieces of art, but there was also historical relics, and even a section on performing arts. Even the building itself is absolutely beautiful, and its incredibly large as well. We were there for several hours, and I only saw a small portion of the museum… It’s definitely something I’ll be returning to next time we’re here.
I finished off the evening by going to the cinema to see the new Cinderella movie with my aunt, and it was also quite fantastic. Obviously a bit of a corny fairytale at times, but I felt it actually added a lot of depth to the original story… Plus, the actor who plays Rob Stark as Prince Charming? Utter perfection.
On Friday we actually journeyed out of the city for a day in Brighton to enjoy a mini holiday by the sea side. I’d never been outside London in the UK except to get to Gatwick airport, so this was a really nice way to see a little bit more of the country. The weather actually turned out to be quite lovely, so we spent some time walking along the beach before having an amazing lunch of fish and chips. From there my aunt and I took a walk to the Royal Pavilion; an oriental-inspired palace built by King George IV in 1786. I love visiting these palaces and learning about the rich history behind them… For example, although King George IV spent exuberant amounts of money on the palace in Brighton, Queen Victoria hated the residence because of how close it put her to the “common folk.” Some years after becoming queen, she actually stripped the palace of its furnishings and sold it to the city of Brighton so they could open it to the public.
From there we rejoined my cousin and uncle to get some snacks on Brighton pier and play some arcade games. It was an amazing time of self discovery for me as I realized what games I was good at and what games I was absolutely hopeless at. If you ever spend some time at an arcade with me, I kick ass at whack-a-mole and certain throwing games, but penny pushing games, not so much.
As the sun began to set we walked back along the beach, blew some bubbles, rode a carousel and ate some soft serve ice cream to end the day. Brighton is a really beautiful place, and I can’t wait to go back out there during the summer one day so I can truly enjoy how lovely the English Channel is.
For my final day in London I had a little bit more of an adventurous day… In the morning my Aunt and I journeyed to Camden Town to do a little bit of shopping. It is a really unique place to shop, and I can’t believe that I’ve never been there before! Personally, I think outdoor markets are such a great way to shop… You can find so many interesting things that you’ll just never find in big chain stores. The rain even kept away for us, which is quite a rare occurrence in English spring.
I finished off the afternoon with my birthday present from my wonderful uncle… the opportunity to see Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street featuring Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett! I love the music of the show (written by Stephen Sondheim), and the cast and staging of the production was absolutely magnificent. Not only can Emma Thompson sing really well, but she really understood the character of Mrs. Lovett and play her brillantly. Bryn Terfel (Sweeney Todd) did such an excellent job acting as a pair of psychopaths, and the rest of the cast was absolutely stellar as well. The vocals of the entire cast were chill-inducing, and each actor really made an effort to understand the character they were playing.
And don’t even get me started about how incredible the staging was! The show was styled in a very modern fashion considering when the original story took place, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It was not a full staging of the show as it was designed to be a sort of concert in a way, but it was not a mere musical theatre concert. There was full movement on stage and choreography, but there were simply less props and set pieces. Another interesting aspect to the stage was how the orchestra was right in the middle of the stage (As seen below) and the actors actually interacted with them in a very humourous way. Even the way the positioned the ensemble on the stage, and even out into the audience at times, screamed brilliance. The set design itself was also incredible… I honestly can’t believe how incredible the show was. It simply surpassed all of my expectations.
After that I had a nice final night of my break, and tomorrow morning I fly back to RCN to delve back into busy campus life. I had such an amazing break, and can’t wait to come back again!
Happy Easter everyone!