Thursday, June 7, 2012

Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew).

Wednesday, 7 June 2012:

This was a very packed day. First, I took my Shakespeare final in class. 96%, baby! Good enough for me. I wrote about the journey of becoming an appreciator of Shakespeare... it's been a journey, alright. But I really can say that I enjoy it now. I understand it so much better than I did six weeks ago.

Taylor and I tried to go to the orangery near Kensington Palace after class, but it's closed till Saturday, dang it. Instead, we walked around Kensington Gardens and had a nice chat. We'll hit up the orangery next time we're in town here. :) I'm excited to room with Taylor this Fall. It's gonna be one big party.

The Orangery.
Kensington Gardens. Lucky Kate Middleton.
Next, I went with Caroline, Taylor, and Hadley to Evensong, which ended up being Evenprayer because they don't have Evensong on Wednesdays. It was still really good... I love attending different religions' services. Afterwards, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner at the Med Kitchen on our own Gloucester Road. Although the name wasn't too enticing, the food may have been the best I've had here. Chicken with rosemary and lemon and a side of fresh fries. Oh, except the side was enough to feed a small country... check this out:

Fries, anyone?
Outside of Westminister Abbey.
We'd been hearing that Liverpool Street was a fun one to explore at night, so we decided to give that a go once it got dark. We made the trip there on the tube, only to find out that it was totally closed off due to construction! It was the dullest, most silent street in all of London. So, instead of finding a party somewhere else, we brought the party to the flat. We rounded up all the girls that were home, dragged them downstairs, and had ourselves a dance party. I love these girls.

Thursday, 8 June 2012:

Today was one of my favorite days. Period.

It started out slow, because it took a while to get most of my things packed away. I still don't know how I'm going to fit everything, but I'll find a way. I decided that my guilty conscience would be too heavy if I didn't make it to Kew Gardens (AKA Royal Botanic Gardens) like I promised Grandpa Tobler I would, so I spent the majority of the day doing that. This whole trip I've been begging the other girls to come with me, but no one seemed to want to. So I finally went on my own today, and I can't believe that I ever even hesitated for a second. It was AMAZING.

I walked through forests and glasshouses and gardens in the pouring rain for over three hours, and I loved every second of it. Really, it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. One of my favorite parts was the waterlily house with enormous waterlilies floating in a pot filled with one ton of water. I also loved the rose gardens, and the Princess of Wales' Conservatory, which was split into ten different "habitats" with ten different climates. It was so neat! I'd walk in one room and get hit with a wave of humidity, then the next room would be a dry desert. There were gorgeous ponds with swans and ducks roaming like sheep in an open field. There was a place where I climbed eighteen meters for a birdseye view of Kew from several different locations. There were Japanese and Australian and Chinese sections. Banana trees and henna plants and bamboo gardens. Acres upon acres of quiet forest with dozens of paths to choose from. Because it was raining so hard and most of the paths had turned into puddles, the majority of the visitors left so I felt like I had the place to myself. I had such a great time walking and admiring and thinking. It was the perfect place to think; I was able to do so more clearly than I have in a long time. Thanks for the suggestion, Gramps! I loved it!


The Chinese Pagoda.

Evidence of the pouring rain. I was soaked from head to toe, even with an umbrella.

"Minka" bamboo hut.

I went to the symphony tonight with Caroline; the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. I've decided that a symphony is another great place to think. A silent audience and live classical music to think to... I definitely did a lot of thinking today. I really wish there were more symphonies and plays and musical performances at home. They're there, but they're often an hour away and cost a fortune. I went to this incredible symphony for 5 pounds! At home it'd be at least $40 or 50 for the nice seats we had. It's been so great to have a student discount here, on top of the already decent prices for shows and such. I would have only been able to go to one broadway show near home (in SLC or Vegas) for the price that I paid to go to four or five here. That's insane. It's going to be strange to have to turn to things like movies for entertainment once I'm home. No live entertainment on every street corner? I don't like the thought.

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