Thursday, June 27, 2013

Living La Vida London: Day 13

Today I am exhausted both physically and mentally. All this going non-stop stuff is getting to me and for some reason I really missed America today. Everything is so expensive and fast here and I guess I just miss the familiarity of my home country. I'm starting to realize more and more that I am not ready to live in a city as fast-paced as London or New York City- I'm more content living close enough to them that I can do things on  the weekends if I want to and far enough away that I can escape everything. I suppose that's the reclusive writer in me coming out. But today was good.

I went to Strawberry Hill House about five miles away from the center of London in a place called Twickenham with my class for a tour. This was the home of the eccentric author, Horace Walpole. Walpole began building it in 1749 and it is literally right next to the Thames River and has some very beautiful grounds. As you'll see, it has a lot of Gothic influences and funny little details.

It wasn't actually this beautiful outside today. I nicked this from Wikipedia just to give y'all an idea of how incredible this place look from afar. I also didn't take any pictures like this.

This is where my pictures start:

For those of you who don't know, I am taking "British Fantasy Literature" and in this class we read many different fantasy texts. One of these stories is called The Castle of Otranto and is by the man who built this home, Horace Walpole. This entry way inspired a portion of his novel and this was the reason my professor decided it was a good idea for us to go on this tour... because the first thing you see inside the house inspired a small portion of the book. You can do things like that when you're in charge of a class like this.

 I would like us all to pause for a moment to appreciate this library. This photo does it no justice, but this place was wonderful! They apparently have a book club that meets in there every week and they read Gothic novels. The started off, of course, withe The Castle of Otranto.
This door handle is dedicated to my mum (I'm going to call you that from now on), because she loves antique door handles and doors.

 This was the sort of place that fancy guests would come to hang out in during parties or dinners.

 Fun fact: Horace Walpole had more windows in addition to the real ones painted on the outside of his house to make it look more inviting. This is one of the original "windows" from way back when.
 And finally, this nice little fireplace that is made completely from marble. Even the tiles in it are made from crushed marble mixed with different pigments to give it color.
To end the day I went and saw Once- everyone else that I hang out with went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Mostly for One Direction. I've seen wax figures before and it's honestly not that exciting so I went to see something with real people in it. 
I loved it. I kept thinking how much fun it would be to see it in New York City because Arthur Darvill is playing Boy in it... but that's beside the point. The point is that I would see this musical again... and again and again. One of the coolest things about this experience was that the set is basically a bar and before the show as well as during intermission, you can go onstage and get drinks from the bar! Some of the cast also comes out before the show and starts playing their instruments all together just as if you were in a bar in Dublin listening to the locals play cool folk songs. That's another thing: every person in the cast plays an instrument onstage. They are the actors and also the orchestra. It's all very folksy music so there are a lot of guitars, some violins, a cello, and bass guitar, and a couple of mandolins. At one point drums are played as well. It's all just great fun because these aren't just actors, they're also very gifted musicians! 

I'm going to Paris tomorrow and all of the sudden I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I'm going anyway. Hopefully I'll love the city of lights and fall in love with its apparent beauty. I'm just not feeling the whole "nobody speaks english" thing right now. It's also another big city that I'm going to have to try to navigate. I'm not sure if I'll be able to post while I'm there, but I will try!

1 comment:

  1. Love the door handle! And remember to tell the French folks that you are Canadian...from Medicine Hat, Alberta or something. They will be nicer to you, than if you say you're American...:) Have a blast!
    I love you.