No Place Like London

I think “Sweeney Todd” says it best.

London is very much like New York, so of course, I loved it. I spent the weekend doing much of what I do in New York: doing things related to theatre, art, history and fashion. (I also spent a day in Brighton, but more on that later.) My friend Hilary sent me this awesome list of stuff to do in London (she interned there this past summer), which I based most of my traveling on — I’m so thankful for her awesome suggestions!

I saw the bizarre, hilarious and brilliant musical “The Book of Mormon” on Thursday night. I already knew a lot of the background about the religion — for my religious studies class, my group is doing field research on a local youth ward — so that combined with my, well, American-ness made it even funnier for me than many of the Brits, I think.

I met my friend Ciera on Friday at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, where we toured a recreated version of where the Bard himself supervised the performances of plays. I would’ve loved it anyway (in my former high school life, I did some Shakespearean acting with Georgia Shakespeare), but our engaging tour guide who cracked jokes while giving lots of background information made it even better. I want to go back before I leave and see a play there! We then went down the street to Borough Market and settled on croissants and vegetarian Indian food after sampling lots of bread and cheese.

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The Globe is rehearsing for a modern-day “The Merchant of Venice,” set in Las Vegas. There’s a hot tub and everything.

I spent the afternoon exploring museums, beginning with the Victoria & Albert Museum. I spent most of my time in the fashion, jewelry and theatre and performance exhibits, all of which were really cool. The fashion one showed different designer clothing throughout the past few centuries, and the theatre and performance one had tons of artifacts from West End shows, including costumes from “The Lion King”! I also went to the neighboring Science Museum, which was equally awesome. I especially loved the psychology and interactive exhibits.

I walked around for a bit after that, visiting Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall and Harrods, the infamous luxury department store. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a larger, more comprehensive store — it was cool.

I took a train that evening to Brighton, where I spent much of the next day on the pier and at the beach. (I finished “Gone Girl.”) The weather was sunny and only about 60, so I sat in just a tank top and jeans for most of it, which was a welcome change from the usual cold weather.

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This isn’t the actual pier — just a smaller strip that people can walk along.

I also went to the Chocolate Festival downtown, where I sampled lots of different chocolates and brownies. (I voted for the cookie dough brownie in the “Best Brownie Ever” contest.) I also went to a tasting session, where a chocolatier showed us how to make ganaches, and then we (of course) got to sample them.

That night, I returned to London to see “Wicked” for the second time. As expected, it was incredible.

The next day, I visited the Tate Modern. I really like modern art, so I loved it. I had lunch at Wahaca, which served really great Mexican food (and not even just by U.K. standards!). And then, I went to the Vogue Festival.

 IMG_1467The front of the Vogue Festival, in all of its glory.

Fashion magazines were how I first became interested in journalism. As a 13-year-old, I envisioned my future as one parallel with Jenna Rink’s: as an editor for a top magazine. (Sadly, though, I don’t think I have a Matt.) I bought Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Elle Girl and Teen People religiously, collaging my favorite images in smaller collages and on an entire wall of my room; the latter is still in tact. So, I was pretty excited about this festival that I’d found out about just days before I came.

I attended a panel discussion featuring Lily Allen, Grayson Perry and Jasper Conran about what constitutes good and bad taste, or what taste in general even is. They had some interesting answers — check out my Twitter feed if you’re interested. I also spoke with beauty professionals, got a free makeover and achieved my teenage dream of being on a Vogue cover.

In the last hour or so in London, I visited a bunch of touristy sites: Big Ben, The Mall, St. James’s Park, Buckingham Palace. Better late than never, right? (I’m not huge on touristy things — I’ve been to New York several times and still haven’t made it to the must-see Statue of Liberty!) All in all, my London/Brighton trip was great, and I hope to make it back down South again before I leave!

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