Sunday, May 31, 2015

London in Bloom

In the area of Kensington and Chelsea, the streets are decorated in beautiful floral designs. 
These amazing displays caught my eye as I was both wandering for a place to eat and doing some window shopping at unbelievably beautiful stores. When I started noticing all of the lovely square gardens tucked around the city I was in full admiration. A lot of the time Cities are simply made of cement and brick and very little nature. I really enjoy the fact that no matter where you are in the busy city of London, you probably aren't far from a beautiful garden. But this display of flowers right on the streets and designed in such an pretty way is something else completely. 


This stunning display of Alice in wonderland's tea party is one of the most fantastic things I have ever seen. But I love Cinderella , her fairy god-mother and carriage ever more!!! It felt magical seeing this come to life through flowers. Who ever designed this is very creative. 




In the theme of flowers, here is a picture of a Elderflower. Which is a soft drink I had never tried nor heard of before.
The drink is really refreshing and also pretty sweet.  I hear that a lot of Europe serves this soft drink. I am so glad I tried it! It is absolutely my favorite drink ever now!
 










It's going to be hard to say goodbye to London. Just as the flowers are in bloom and the summer begins. I don't want to say goodbye. I will miss it's endless offerings of educational and artistic sources of entertainment. Every theater and every museum was fabulous. And there are so many of them! I think it is impossible to be bored in this city. I will miss the endless options for excitement and opportunities to see new things. It has been such a great experience to see, hear and do things that I wouldn't or couldn't at home. I may even miss walking millions of city blocks and riding the tube... actually, I don't think I will miss that at all. However I will miss other random things here. I will miss eating Haagen Dazs mini ice creams that most of the theaters sell.
  And I will also miss the squares and gardens.

Thank you and farewell London! I'm glad I got to be here and experience the excitement and beauty. It was an enlightening experience. Thank you so much to all involved! It really was a trip of a life time.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. England, Day 20

The fire alarm works! We found this out at about 2 o’clock last night. Fortunately, there was no fire (that I was aware of, at least). I poked my head out into the hallway to see what was going on. At the same time, so did everyone else on my floor. The alarm stopped. We all simultaneously turned around and went back to bed.

Today was a free day, so I hopped on a bus down to Westminster Pier. I then bought a one-way ticket for a river cruise to Greenwich. One of the staff of the boat gave us a tour of the city as we made our way down the river. He pointed out all sorts of interesting sites and gave lots of neat information.

London is the smallest city in the world. It is only 1 square mile in size. It’s surrounded by Westminster, Greenwich, and a few other cities and towns, which is what makes it feel like a big city.

We saw Sir Ian Mckellen’s pub. Also a pub called The Mayflower (which was actually owned by the family of one of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower). And the place where, in the time of pirates, criminals given the death penalty would be drowned. During low tide, they would be tied to stakes on the beach. As the tide rose, they would be trapped under the surface of the water and suffocate. Sounds pretty awful.

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We passed under the wibbly-wobbly bridge, which was closed twelve hours after its grand opening because pedestrians walking along it would be seasick before reaching the other side. It took huge amounts of money to have it repaired.

We even passed by a few battleships!

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We passed under a bridge financed by John Harvard (of United States fame). We saw a really cool rowboat, but I didn’t catch what the guide had said it was.

The river tour took an hour, and I’m glad I took it to get there. Highly recommended.

When I arrived in Greenwich, I was feeling peckish, so I wandered over to the Greenwich Marketplace. The marketplace was a big open-air market, with a bunch of vendors of food and homemade goods. I wandered a while—it all looked super tasty! I ended up getting Indian seafood curry and beef stir-fry on a bed of rice. Yum!

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I then walked over to the National Maritime Museum, where I saw all sorts of cool naval stuff. There was a lot of information on the East India Trading Company. It was amazing to see how much was imported, and then after the rise of industrialization, how much more was exported.

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After walking through the museum, I was running short on time. I made my way to the Greenwich National Rail Service Station, and bought a one-way ticket to downtown London, which on the ticket was titled “London Stations.”

I then met up with the others at the hostel, and we went to a pub to have dinner. I ordered a medium-rare steak (which arrived medium, of course—there was only one cook working and 30 meals to prepare though, so I guess it can be forgiven), and an excellent sticky toffee pudding. I didn’t realize that pudding in England is more like a cake.

I’m going to miss England.

Matthew is a senior studying Computer Science at the College of Saint Scholastica. Not content with only working with computers, Matthew also performs in the CSS Theater, studies business, finance, economics, the physical sciences, and loves to go ballroom dancing. He is a voracious reader. His hobby is to learn about as many different fields, and about as many different topics, as he can. Matthew also enjoys writing about himself in the third person. For more from Matthew, visit him at matthewrandolph.com.   

See you later, London!

It's the final day of this fantastic trip, and it's a bittersweet end to the story. It was a beautiful city and country, and while I would like to stay for even longer, I have to get back to work and my family. I can't believe three weeks has happened so quickly. Every day was so packed with activities that it's hard to completely reflect on everything just off memory. However, it was a wonderful trip, and despite it being school related, it was a great vacation. Of course, some parts of it were better to me than others.
Seeing Hogwarts in real life was still one of my favorite parts of this trip. It was a dream come true for the child me, and I'm so glad I could see it. There was much more than this, mind you, that I loved. This Play Goes Wrong was also fantastic, and it and 39 Steps were my favorite plays of the whole trip. They were hilarious, and even now I still chuckled a little at the jokes when I think of them. I went to the Portobello today with Kenzie, and it was a bustling place. There were several antiques and food stalls, and the crowd of people was a little intimidating. While I had fun and made a couple purchases, I am thoroughly exhausted from this trip and can't wait to collapse after packing everything up. My last dinner was delicious pasta in a cheese sauce(but not mac 'n cheese), and a strawberry cider for a drink. Also a chocolate pudding for dessert, mostly because I wasn't paying for it. It was fantastic, and I'm still stuffed from it. I look to the future with two ideas in my mind: 1. I'm so going to crash on my bed when I get home. 2. This isn't the last of Megan Glenn that London has seen. I shall return! I thank everyone that not only encouraged me to come on this trip, but also the people that organized it and the friends that I made here. You guys made this experience one I'm not soon to forget, and I will forever keep this trip close to my heart. Good-bye all who read this blog. Have wonderful summers, and I hope that if you haven't been in London, that you can at least get an idea of what it's like from these many blogs by my fellow students.

Protests, Pigeons, And Parks

Today was our last day in London. It was time for last minute adventuring, shopping, and the dreaded task of packing. But as we have done everyday, we made the most of it!

The day started out slow. I have been sick the last few days with a cold and still batteling it, but I wasn't going to let it ruin my day. Roni, Rachel and I started out with Lunch at Burger and Shake, a little restaurant that serves, you guessed it, burgers and shakes. It has become one of our favorite places here! After the adventure began. With no plans other than needing to meet at 4:00, we randomly wandered down streets, just taking in London. It's hard to believe our three weeks are already up!

We eventually wound up near the National Gallery. We heard commotion and saw police so naturally we went to take a look. When we got to the front we saw a few different protests taking place. I couldn't really figure out what they were for. 

After we kept on exploring. We wondered through St. James park, Green Park, passed Buckingham Palace, and ended in Hyde Park. Everywhere we went we saw, and were followed, by pigeons. We believe they were trying to court Roni. 

After our adventure we headed back to the Generator to meet with the group. Together we went out to eat for our farewell dinner. Delicious meal, but a bit bittersweet. It was amazing to have his experience and I'm excited to head back, but I will definitely miss London and our awesome group. We really did have a once in a life time experience. We may get the chance to come back, but never at our age or with a group like this. 

After dinner we go separate ways, some to pack, some to do last minute exploring, others to relax and reflect. I think a lot of us are having a hard time believing we are leaving tomorrow. I know I am. 

All in all am incredible experience. I would not trade it for the world. Someday I will be back to this beautiful city. For now, I will be enjoying the last few hours I have in London! 



Fashion , Art and Theatre.


Fashion, art, and theatre is my cup of tea.
Yesterday we took a trip to two museums. The first museum we attended was the Victoria and Albert Museum. I was extremely looking forward to the V&A because of it's art and design focus. I love fashion design. So in particular, the fashion gallery was what I was most excited for. I had seen promotional posters around the city advertising an Alexander McQueen exhibit happening there. So I knew the museum would have an emphases on fashion. What I didn't know was how large the museum is. The V&A's galleries are both beautiful and extensive.


The fashion collection at the V&A was wonderful. Very interesting to see a retrospective look at the way fashion has evolved over the centuries.
 



My favorite display featured work by Christian Dior. The displayed explained how he became an 'overnight sensation' with his 'New Look'. The New Look launched in 1947. This time has been refereed to as 'The Golden Age Of Couture' celebrating the end of the war and starting something new in high fashion during this era.
This is an evening ensemble he created.



Even the cafe in the V&A was beautiful and stylish.

After the V&A we went to the Tate Modern. Which houses a collection of innovative paintings, pictures, and sculptures. As well as some multimedia works. The art pieces ranged in all ways. All were different from anything I had seen before as well as different from each other. It certainly felt like I was looking at modern art. It reminded me of the Walker Art museum in Minneapolis. There was a space that had no lights at all, completely black with subtle background noise. Another art piece was a mirror that had a caption explaining to ' look at the bigger picture'. Many of the pieces on display at the museum were unusual. Which is pretty typical in modern or contemporary art.  The Tate Modern is certainly a thought provoking place. Weather you find some of the artwork captivating or ridiculous , there is an almost guaranteed reaction.



To end the evening, we went back to the Nation Theatre. We saw the play "Everyman". Which coincided with the whole art theme of the day. The play was unlike any play I have seen before.   It was a contemporary approach to a timeless concept and story of death and God. And it was done very well. I really enjoyed this play. It incorporated really amazing media backgrounds and incredible choreography. As well as comical and conceptual costuming. At one point actors were dress all in gold. Gold wings, heels, and gold face paint.  This part of the show was representing the superficial materialism.  Another part of the show the actors were walking garbage to represent the homeless in the streets. This part ended in a radical and chaotic way. Loud news reporting played as a large fan came out to blow rain and money all around. This entire scene symbolized the suffering in the world. And how the main Character, Everyman, turned his back and ignored it.  The stage was black and an empty space with a giant screen as the backdrop. But the stage would be filled with chaos. And the screen would show visuals of the sky and close ups of people talking and many other visually stimulating things.  It was such an interesting play and was my favorite that we saw on the trip.









What a great day

Today we got to sleep in which was a gift from heaven. My roommates and I decided we were going to head in different directions so Hannah and I went one way and Kenzie and Megan went together. Hannah and I were determined to find Saffron Hill which is a street featured in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. We had some trouble finding our way there but once we got our bearings we finally made it! We were like little girls seeing their favorite pop star as soon as we got there! We took some pictures and made our way to a tiny little pub called Ye Old Mitre. It wasn't open so unfortunately we couldn't go inside. But we got some pictures so that was cool!

After Ye Old Mitre we got onto the train to go to Tower Bridge. It was an amazing view that I was sad to leave behind but I'm so happy I got to be so close and got to take some really cool pictures!

After the fabulous bridge, we hurriedly made our way to Big Ben. We had to hurry because we needed to meet as a group before our fair-well dinner. But when we got out of the station we immediately saw Big Ben. It is absolutely beautiful and I love being so close to it!! We had to cross the street close to the station to find a red phone booth that my brother insisted I take a picture of. I got the most spectacular Polaroid picture of the booth with Big Ben in the background! Then it was time to head back to the hostel but we ran into some trouble. We got onto a train that got delayed for a while so we needed to switch really fast!! We had to run through the stations and all the way to our hostel. We only arrived a minute late and we got there before Jed so we were golden!!

We then went to dinner at a pub called The Skinners Arms which was delicious!! We got to watch the Arsenal vs Aston Villa football match which was an authentic and fun way to spend our last night in London!

All in all I had a fabulous last day in this gorgeous city I have gotten to call home for the last 3 weeks. I can't believe it is over and I already want to come back.

Also, a special shout out to Jed, our tour guide. He was such a fun guy to have along showing us the city. Thanks for everything! 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Theatre, Why Can’t You be This Fantastic in Duluth? London, Days 18 and 19

On Thursday, the theater group and the literature group split for the day. The literature group went to a graveyard to see some famous corpses. The theater group participated in a super-awesome-cool stage combat workshop.

We learned how to slap, punch, and choke our fellow actors safely. It is completely different from martial arts. Its to be expected, of course. In martial arts, the point is to hurt the other person.

After, a few of us went to take pictures. We went by the lions outside the National Gallery, and then to Westminster so I could get a picture at one of the oversized phonebooths. For dinner I had an acceptable pot pie.

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In the evening, we saw The Play That Goes Wrong. I had no idea what to expect. When we reached the theater, one of the reviews they had posted read “ITS AS IF THE MOUSETRAP HAS BEEN TAKEN OVER BY MONTY PYTHON.” This was going to be good.

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My goodness, good was an understatement. I loved it so much I purchased the script at the box office. I don’t even know what words to say about it. It was hilarious. It was fun to watch. I was crying I was laughing so hard. It was amazing. And it was so much better having seen The Mousetrap beforehand too. I felt I caught more of the murder mystery nuances there, as well as the parodies of specific characters.

7 out of 5: Would Recommend to Friends.



Friday. Went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Saw some stuff. The old statues and stuff were cool, especially the pair of statues “Valor crushes Cowardice” and “Truth slays Lies.” They even had an Oculus Rift!

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After eating, I picked up a piece of German Crumb Cake, a piece of Clotted Cream Fudge, and Cream Fudge. They were all amazing. I also had a major sugar crash soon after. Oops.

We then went to the Tate Modern, an art gallery for modern art. I’m not much of a modern art person, so I was only there for about 20 minutes before I wandered back to the hostel to recover from my sugar crash (I did see everything before I left, promise!). Maybe I’ll check out the Tate Britain instead sometime.

Then we saw an adaptation of Everyman. Fantastic. I gave it a standing ovation, the only one I have so far this trip. If I gave The Play That Goes Wrong a “7 out of 5,” then Everyman gets a “9 out of 5.” It was thought-provoking: it makes you consider everything about yourself. I don’t want to talk too much about it, so as to avoid giving many spoilers. One thing I will say about it though, is that the adaptation was beautifully done. I was somewhat familiar with the play beforehand (remember, I learned my lesson after Les Mis!), and I was expecting a Shakespearian-style or Reconstruction-style play. Not so. Everyman blew my expectations right out of the water. This was the only play in England that I awarded a standing ovation. It deserved it.

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Needless to say, I purchased another script from the gift shop. 

Fortunately, the employee was restocking the shelf when I was looking for it, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen that it was for sale. The adapted version!

Matthew is a senior studying Computer Science at the College of Saint Scholastica. Not content with only working with computers, Matthew also performs in the CSS Theater, studies business, finance, economics, the physical sciences, and loves to go ballroom dancing. He is a voracious reader. His hobby is to learn about as many different fields, and about as many different topics, as he can. Matthew also enjoys writing about himself in the third person. For more from Matthew, visit him at matthewrandolph.com.