Day 5: Keep Calm and Hakuna Matata

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It’s hard to even remember where the days begin, because we see and do so much every day! I’m so glad that I’ve been keeping this as a record, so I can keep the days from completely blending together. This morning, we met in the classroom for a bit, but then our Jason (our teacher) sent us out into the city in four groups. Our job was to observe the people, infrastructure, and symbols/images in each of the places we visited.

We went to Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus is the area that we stumbled upon the other night, the one that we likened to Times Square. Covent Garden was a market with both small stores, as well as major brands like Ralph Lauren and Burberry. St. Paul’s Church is also located there. In Leicester Square, there were some more shops, casinos, and restaurants. We stopped here for lunch at a small spot called The Stockpot. It was nearly empty, except for a few older locals.

After we had visited all three spots, we had a little extra time to kill, so we decided to go to the National Gallery in Trafalgar’s Square. While I don’t know much (or really anything) about art, I could definitely appreciate many of the paintings in the National Gallery. It houses ‘Sunflowers’ by Vincent Van Gogh, one of the paintings that he made to use in his own home. I also liked ‘Suprised!’ by Rousseau, a painting of a tiger crouched in a jungle scene.

Before going back to class, we stopped at the London Visitors Centre and booked tickets to go to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Oxford on Saturday, August 4th. I’m glad that we have that planned and set in stone!

Tonight, we went out to dinner at a restaurant called Cubana. Kind of funny going to get Cuban food while we’re in London, but it was recommended to us by a man working at the Visitors Centre, so we decided to try it. We went during happy hour, so I got two vegetarian tapas for only 6 pounds. Definitely a worthwhile spot to try. On our way to the Lyceum Theatre to see the Lion King, we passed by the National Theatre, where there was an interesting juggling show going on.

Lion King was wonderful. I don’t think I could ever get tired of seeing the musical. Simba had a British accent, so that made it a little different from other performances I’ve seen in the past. For one of the girls in my group, Jenny, it was the first play she had ever seen! Laura and I both bought shirts that read, “Keep calm and Hakuna Matata.” A fitting motto to keep in mind during our jam packed days!

On our walk back to King’s, we passed a set of stairs leading underground, with a neon sign above them that said, “Cellar Door.” We were curious, so we decided to see what it was. It was a cabaret bar, with a not-so-good performer. We were obligated to stay for a song or two, though, because the bar was about 10 feet wide and we were forced to sit awkwardly in the front row. We made our way out as soon as we could. It was an interesting way to end the day. We passed by the Fire Garden on our way back to school, and now I’m off to bed – We’re meeting tomorrow morning at 8 am to try and see the Olympic torch!

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Colin, Emily, & Tyler

"Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life." Lawrence K. Fish

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