VA is taking its show on the road! We are on the train headed for Edinburgh, enjoying a cobbled together meal of bread, chorizo, and cat food.
Favorite memories of our time in London include:
"why is it green?" - a memoir by Maria
"Are you knotty?" - her self published sequel
"What's your first language?" - a self help guide for making friends
"This is a two pairs of pants relationship" - international relations text by Giana
"What the heck is this?" - cookbook by Micah
Blog posts are hard, so to make things easier we are just going to post randomish blurbs about things we liked.
One of our initial challenges in London was navigating the tube in our semi-unconscious states. We purchased Oyster cards (automated travel cards) and stumblingly found our way through the underground. By the end of our visit, we were swiping through those barriers like old pros, laughing haughtily at poor inexperienced travelers trapped beyond the gates. In all honesty, Maria in particular feels a deep satisfaction in sassily slapping the Oyster cards around like a local.
We wanted to have some quintessential London experiences, so we focused our trip on seeing cultural sites. We visited two art museums, the national gallery and the Tate modern, which were each lovely and thought provoking in their own ways.
National gallery featured a substantial amount of romantics, impressionists and post impressionists and that's awesome. Tate modern had some wicked cool surrealist art, which blew Micah's mind. Maria browsed, window shopping through the Tate. Dorothea Tanning's paintings kicked unconscious butt.
We wanted to see a show in London, so we rode the tube to Leicester square to purchase surprisingly cheap tickets. We reached the counter and tried to pay with Micah's credit card. The teller requested photo id, which was incredibly awkwardly stored on Micah's person. Maria volunteered her card. After a thorough search of Maria's pockets, we discovered that she also unfortunately lacked easily accessible photo id. We were then left standing at the front of an increasingly long queue filled with disapproving Brits. Giana was about to scamper away with her tail between her legs. Ultimately, we resorted to Micah fishing out his very well hidden id from his pickpocket-proof ... location. Our teller politely did not say "Americans" as he rolled his eyes and swiped the card.
With tickets in hand, we charged onwards to see "Once" at the Phoenix theatre. When we took our seats the stage was already packed. People on stage eventually burst into music, pulling instruments from god knows where. After a few rousing folk tunes, several dozen people left the stage and returned to their seats in the audience. The songs flowed into the opening act of the musical, which was phenomenal.
At intermission the stage transformed into a working bar, providing spirits for the audience members. After boozing the audience up, the actors returned to leave them in tears.
The Tower of London was an absolute riot. We learned about beheadings, superstitions, and bling.
Our first official VA sponsor was Roman. This friendly young Russian student welcomed us into his flat and shared rice and tea and conversation about world events and cultures. Roman impressed us with his intelligence, drive, and warm heart.
London was big. We could not possibly scratch the surface, which makes us feel better about our jetlag-related struggles. It was a great introduction to our trip.
"Part of the ship, part of the crew"
- Giana and Micah