vintage_belle: (Default)
Today was sunny. Sunny. There was sun in the sky all day long - it never got covered even once while I was out. So tell me, have large cracks started appearing in the earth back home? Because I'm fairly certain this isn't normal.

Of course with it being so sunny, I had to go out. Vampirically pale though I may be, there was nothing short of disease that could keep me from exploring London without needing an umbrella and water-proof boots. So out I went after having toast and tea, and decided to stop at Starbucks for a treat (I've been really, really good - I've been once today and once for my birthday; nothing in between). Then I decided that I needed to re-visit the Victoria and Albert Museum (across the street from the Natural History Museum) and see if the exhibits that Grandma and I saw almost four years ago were still there and mostly the same. They were. But now there are gorgeous new exhibits that weren't open four years ago - Islamic and South Asiatic art, for the most part, and a whole series of European art from 1400 to 1600. My plan is to go back with my camera and take pictures of everything - because holy shit were some of these set-ups wonderful. Especially the European porcelain, primarily French and German with some Italian, and the furniture. The cafe is even something to gawk at, what with its main dining area matching the facade of the building and the rest of it being stark white. Not to mention the aroma coming from the bakery.

After wandering through the halls of the V&A for about two and a half hours, I decided that Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (which are really just continuations of each other) would be the perfect place for ambling through slowly. And was I ever right. They're so very huge and rambling and beautiful - rather like Central Park in many ways, but without the closed-in feeling that the sky-line can give you. It's all open, and spans a branch of river as well as having many big ponds. I walked the width of Kensington Gardens, as I wanted to see the Peter Pan statue and the Italian fountains, and then walked half the length of Bromley Road. The road is home to exhibitors displaying their original paintings, oils and watercolours, and occasionally jewelry and figurines. Towards the end of the road is another gate way which I entered so as to cut through the park and thus make my way home a bit shorter. And what did I do while I was there? I walked straight onto the grounds of Kensington Palace without even realizing it. You can do that, you know, and have tea at the Orangery - which I have every intention of doing next weekend. There is also a shop in the palace. Of course, I hear you say, there's a shop for every attraction ever; but this shop is quite tasteful. There are none of the cheesy little erasers and key chains and pencils that make up the wares of so many other stores. This one carries replicated tea sets and Christmas ornaments and ink-wells and lace coasters; all things that I'd buy in a second if I could afford them. I didn't stay to look at prices, so I shall have to go back and hope that something is within my budget.
vintage_belle: (Anna Paquin - cuddly)
I just spent the morning and most of the afternoon in Trafalgar Square, first to attend the Russian Winter Festival and then walking through the halls of The National Gallery. Though I only saw the first half of the festival events (the whole of the festival went from 11:00 to 18:30 and my feet could not take the constant standing past 14:00), it was one of the more exciting things I've seen in a long time. The music was wonderful, perogi was sold from every stand, along with beautiful hand-painted boxes and nesting dolls and chocolates and such. The Moscow Circus sent some of its performers, and there were two dance companies that specialized in folk dancing and music. My favorite was the military cadet band, as they had a fantastic drum line, though I forget exactly which academy they belonged to. I damn myself thrice for forgetting my camera and not realizing it until I was half way to the square on the tube.

The National Gallery, I admit, I walked into as something of an after thought. It happens to be the building right behind where the festival was going on, so when I finally left the grounds I figured, hey, I'm here - I might as well go in. So I did. And I walked the halls of one of the most grand galleries I've ever been in, viewing their collections from 1250 to 1600 (I missed the 1700 to 1900 collection in favor of getting a late lunch). I did not spend as much time there as I should have, so I will simply have to go back another day for it.

Finally, happy birthday to my father and to Darell Rasner. Cheeky bugger Rasner doesn't have any decent pictures on line, so he doesn't get a banner.
vintage_belle: (Sailor Moon - Makoto framed)
So, I found out that there is a working microwave in the lounge. I thought it was a mini-oven. At least this means no more risking life and limb for hot chocolate.

Tomorrow there is a Russian Winter Festival from 11:00 to 18:30 in Trafalgar Square. It's the third one, so it's a fairly new tradition, but it looks like it's certainly a tradition given the pictures of the crowds from last year. They're going to have ice chess with human-sized pieces, so I have every intention of going. It'll probably be the most excitement I see all weekend.

I took a quick jaunt to the natural history museum today and spent two hours browsing through dinosaurs and an exhibit on the human memory. The human memory was far more interesting than the dinosaurs.

Also, I have determined where the Sherlock Holmes museum is and how to get there. I plan to go on Wednesday.

I may be going to Barcelona in early February. I have to wait for a confirmation from my parents before I get too excited about it, though.

And finally: My vacation pictures. You can get to the album of them via clicking on this picture. Beware. There are a lot of pictures.

(Follow the wannabe cut, follow the wannabe cut, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the wannabe cut)
vintage_belle: (Yankees - Jeter o rly)
Holy shit! Breaking news, people: There is sun outside my window - as in the clouds of England have parted overhead and OH MY LORD there's light!

That is all.

Except not.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. Considering there was no party and it was just myself and Dana at a bad Italian-wannabe restaurant, it was a really good birthday. My parents got me the Rat Pack collection DVD set - it has the original Ocean's 11, and Robin and the 7 Hoods and 4 For Texas. I'm very excited about this ♥ They also got me Fargo - which I can honestly say I'm not sure why. I've seen the movie, but it's never been a particular favorite of mine.

My school also switched the schedule around, not because of me but because of professor conflicts, and so though I normally have class until 5:45 on Monday, I didn't have it at all, making my birthday celebration possible. Quite nice of them ;)

movie meme )
vintage_belle: (Elijah Wood - pretty lights)
First thing's first:



And ... I guess Pavano can have a happy birthday as well. *grumblegrumble* But more importantly: Happy birthday to me! Not that anyone in Britain gives a wank, but I have reached full legality in America, so that when I return I shall be able to drink you all under the table. (Or not, because honestly, it's far too expensive for me to want to.) I can also finally open the present from my parents that has been sitting on my table since Friday, daring me to open it before my birthday day.

I appear to have developed a bit of an obsession with a program called Torchwood - a spin off of Dr. Who. The sad part? I've only seen the season finale. Yes, finale. And as far as I can see they're not playing reruns yet. *Sighe*

Off to do some actual shopping so I don't live on spaghetti and garlic salt all term. Also to do my laundry - I finally found the laundrette, and it's stupidly far away. So is the grocery, for that matter, but oh well.
vintage_belle: (Sailor Moon - Makoto framed)
Huzzah for London, for I am here!

I have no idea why I just wrote that. Anyway. Moved into what is to be my new four-story-walk-up home; at least for the next ten weeks. I'm not on the fourth floor, at least. ... I'm on the third. And there's a small mezzanine. And I had to carry my two bags up, and my laptop, and let me tell you I'm going to have some fantastic legs by the time I walk out of here.

The room is rather like a hostel room, as I have a bunk-bed even though I have no roomate. There's also a closet tucked into a corner by what used to be a fireplace (now it's blocked off), so only one of the doors opens fully. I've got a mini-fridge, a microwave, and a sink, and enough dishes for one person. The laundrette prices are fantastically ridiculous, so I'll wind up having to either wash half my clothes by hand or hope to get a job. Similarly I have to either eat out or cook for myself. Hello Mac n' Cheese.

Before I can start putting pictures up, I have to find an electronics shop and buy a proper adapter - the one I have doesn't fit the plugs in the room. Hopefully I'll find that within the next week, as for the next two days I have orientation, and classes start on Monday. Currently I'm in the computer room, listening to something that sounds kind of like coins dropping or a high-hat. It's a bit annoying.

Not much else to report, so I'll finish here. 'Till later.
vintage_belle: (Default)
Another day, another city. I really wish now that I had planned this trip differently. Given the terrible timing of Glasgow, it really didn't feel like we were there at all. Indeed, when we left on the morning of the second and spent the afternoon in Edinburgh, it felt like we had only been to Edinburgh for a stop-over. Similarly New Year's eve felt like it could have happened in any city at any time, so I might as well have been back home. Yet I know that we were in Glasgow, because I have pictures from the Necropolis. It's quite depressing. Edinburgh was lovely, and we stopped at a park that offered gorgeous views of the city after lunch. We also walked the cobbled streets up the Royal Mile to the Edinburgh Castle, but admittance was a ridiculous £11 (approximately $22) so we walked back down the Royal Mile and had hot chocolate in a building that was built back in the 15th century, and has escaped being entirely redone in the subsequent years.

Now we are in York, the only walled city in England. We're also in a hotel with a real bed this time, which is a wonderful change from the first two hostels - there is no creaking bed frame or strange roomate to appear in the middle of the night. The first night we had dinner in a bar that looked more like something out of the Wild West than anything English, though it was primarily dark oak wood-work, with a carpet and lit fireplace. The streets are mostly cobbled, and the sidewalks are not raised so you walk side by side with the cars, separated only by painted yellow lines. The remains of a castle built by Henry III still stand, called Clifford's Tower now, for whatever reason. The wall is no longer a complete one, but stands in long sections at varying points throughout the city. There are many bridges that cross the moat-river, and there are charming little sandwich and chocolate shops that are where the guard towers would have been. The York Castle Museum is actually devoted to the Victorian age of the city, complete with a reproduction of an entire city block and people in the store-fronts dressed in costume. It's very cute.

Tonight we've decided to do the most horribly tourist-y thing we possibly can - we're going to join a Ghost Walk of York. Tomorrow the plan is to see the York Minster, and possibly two of the oldest buildings still standing in the city. We leave on the fifth to return to London - hopefully a ride less than three hours incase we wind up having to stand between train cars again.
vintage_belle: (Default)
Wanna hear something sick? After going to sleep at approximately 11 or 12 on December 28, I awoke the next day. At four PM. On December 29. God, now it's going to be even harder time getting a normal sleeping schedule going. I haven't slept that long since I was getting over jet lag from China. I suppose in some ways it's for the good of my trip. Cardiff is just the littlest bit boring, being dotted with shopping arcades but not much else. There is the Cardiff Castle, but it closed at four, so of course we missed it. We'll have to go tomorrow.

Also, the keyboards at the hostel are god-awful to type on. And we had the scariest time at a Subway I will ever have, with a woman behind the register who was more like the Soup Nazi than anything else.
vintage_belle: (Kana - sleep softly)
I write to you from merry olde England. This will be a brief update, as I fear for my coherency level. Dana and I left at approximately 7:00 - naturally about twenty minutes late. We touched down at Heathrow at 6:10 in the morning, and finally got out of the airport (after customs and all) at around 7:50-8:00. We took the only cab we will take to the school so I could drop off my huge fuck-off suitcase of stuff and laptop. Then we took the Circle Line to Paddington station and then got on the train to Cardiff. I'm typing from our youth hostel. I also technically haven't slept since 10:00 yesterday morning. The worst part is that it's only two in the afternoon. I'm afraid to sleep now because I don't want to get jet lag. Bah.

Cardiff is a nice city, but small. It is full of shopping arcades, but neither Dana nor I are interested in shopping at the moment. The stores can all be found in America, anyway.

[livejournal.com profile] deviliknow, your challenge 'fic is progressing nicely. It's at about four pages now.

And now I die at the computer station.
vintage_belle: (CATS - Copenhagen choir)
The packing is now done. Well, mostly. My toiletries are still out, because I'll need them tomorrow, but everything else is packed away. I can't believe I'm down to mere hours before I leave. Hopefully Heathrow stays open - it was closed for about three days due to heavy fog last week. I'm going to try to post pictures often, if not daily, but I won't be carrying my laptop around before I get to school so it'll be about a week before I am able to post them at all.

Should anyone care to get letters from me, I've got the school directory for those at school, and anyone else can e-mail me their address if I don't have it. Please leave a comment if you do/don't want to get letters and/or postcards.

Similarly on the communication front: I won't have my cell phone, so don't call it. I do, however, have Skype. If you have a microphone or external laptop speakers, it's a free download and it's free to "call" between computers. I'm on there as Laurelind.

Since I likely won't have access when these birthdays roll around ... )
vintage_belle: (Alexis Vinas)
In spite of the whole not-being-Christian thing, it is now something of a custom for me to spend at least part of Christmas day with Fuu and have Christmas dinner at her house. It probably helps my delicate Jewish mentality (read: my father's) that her family is one of the most untraditional - for instance, dinner was eaten lounging on the couches and consisted of vegitarian lasanga, meatballs on the side, and garlic bread. Excellent, excellent stuff, but not the sort of thing one *coughmyfathercough* thinks of when thinking about Christmas.

Christmas day is also, ironically enough, the one day when my family is in the house at the same time for more than three hours at a time, and winds up having brunch together.

I've endorsed it before, but The History Boys is still one of the best things to happen to theatre - stage or otherwise. The movie is as good as the stage version, though there are considerable changes to how the story is shown on screen. The acting standard is fantastic, what with Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths leading the way, and the dialogue is still my favorite part. If you can find a theatre playing it, do go see it.

One and a half days (I leave at 6:30) until the plane takes off for England. The best part? I haven't finished packing. Yay!

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