Bucket List: UK Edition

31 Dec

The last month of my semester abroad was absolutely crazy. In addition to traveling out of the country three times and writing five papers, I also tackled a long bucket list of things I needed to do and see in London before I left.

1. The Natural History Museum. Visited the weekend my cousin Versailles came to visit. The most impressive thing about this museum isn’t the exhibits themselves, but the architecture in the main hallway. But the dinosaur exhibit was also good for a few laughs.

Main hallway in the Natural History Museum

Dinosaur exhibit

 

I don't think T-Rex was actually scary. He had little stubby arms and tripping over something would have killed him.

This was my favorite part of the dinosaur exhibit. They had a series of cartoon photos depicting ridiculous theories as to why the dinosaurs became extinct.

What really happened to the dinosaurs? They're still alive.

 

What really happened to the dinosaurs? Allergies and/or too much growth.

 

What really happened to the dinosaurs? Alien abduction.

This was also hilarious, they had an entire display case devoted to movies and TV shows with dinosaurs in them.

Dinosaurs in the movies

And all the various dinosaur products you can buy.

Dinosaur toys

 

Conveniently located in the gift shop...

 2. The Tower of London. Finally went inside the Tower of London the weekend my cousin visited. The Tower of London actually contains several towers, most of which were used for prisoners. The tower functioned as a prison for a very long time, housing royal prisoners such as Anne Boleyn. The tower is also home to the Crown Jewels exhibit (no pictures unfortunately). The crown jewels were beautiful, and some of them date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. It amazes me that people back then had such beautiful crowns, even though they were royalty.

Inside the Tower of London!

 

Most of what our tour guide talked about revolved around death and torture.

 

This spot was once used for executions.

 

The tower has also been used as a fortress for defense.

We were able to walk inside the Tower wall, passing through several exhibits. This one room was eerily fascinating, as it contained scratch marks (sometimes pictures, sometimes words) from prisoners all over the walls. It really freaked me out to think about where I was standing, but it was also an amazing piece of preserved history.

Carvings from people imprisoned in the Tower

 

Michael Moody, May 15th 1587, imprisoned for trying to murder Elizabeth I by poison or placing gunpowder under her bed.

 3. London Eye. I lived so close to it, yet it took me until the end of the semester to finally go on it. The Eye of London appears to move very slow, yet the ride was only about 20 minutes long. I was certain we would be on it for an hour. Great view of London from the top, especially with the sun setting over the Thames River.

4. Oxford. Made it out to Oxford for a day when my friend Joanna came to visit. The old colleges were all really pretty, much like the ones at Cambridge. We also saw the Treasures of the Bodleian, an incredible collection of old manuscripts, books and artifacts. Items I saw include letters from the 2nd Century, a copy of the Qur’an, writings from Euclid and Isaac Newton, a copy of the Magna Carta, letters from Ghandi, and Shakespeare’s first folio.

Oxford University

 

Great steps!

 

Harry Potter dining hall!

 

Plaque for Robert Boyle's house

 

We visited an old tavern. Apparently Bill Clinton visited it too.

 

University buildings

 

Letter from Ghandi

 

Bodleian Library. I wish we could go inside it!

 

Cathedral

 

Shakespeare's first folio. The library originally got rid of it, then had to buy it back when Shakespeare became famous.

5. Les Miserables. Seeing Les Mis was a nice break from the stress of finals week. I loved the show, definitely topped my high school’s production of it. It was strange to watch from the audience for a change, I had only ever seen it from backstage. The barricade was massive and so impressive! There was also a large turning platform at the center of the stage, and I loved how it was used to show the passage of time and distance traveled.

Outside the theatre!

6. Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. I visited Buckingham Palace at the very beginning of my semester, but this time around I timed it right to see the changing of the guard. The ceremony happens every other day, so I was surprised at how crowded it was. Both sides of the traffic circle in front of the palace were packed with people.

Guard marching in

 

This time without instruments

7. Stonehenge. I used another study break for an afternoon trip out to Stonehenge. It was a pretty long trip, about two hours to get there and two hours to get back to London. The sun started to set later in the day at the end of the semester, but it worked out perfectly for Stonehenge because I saw the monument right as the sun began to set.

Stonehenge

 

Sunset!

One Response to “Bucket List: UK Edition”

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