Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mummies and Shakespeare

Everything has been pretty busy lately—lots of teaching, lots of running around Paris, etc. I did take a weekend to visit Madeleine in London, which was wonderful! She is working there as the program assistant for the Drew semester abroad. I got there on Friday night, said hello to the Drew folk, and then she and I went to a pub for a traditional fish and chips dinner to start off the weekend.

The next day, we did a Shakespeare walk with London Walks, which was cool. We got to see where the Globe and other Renaissance theatres stood, and hear about the archeological stuff they are doing now to learn more about them. Our tour guide was awesome, and did many dramatic recitations of Shakespearean monologues, and even sang some songs. After that, we walked around to see some of the main sights—Big Ben and Parliament, Westminster Abbey, etc. After a quick stop back at the flat, we went out for an awesome Indian dinner before catching a show called “Waste.” It was an interesting drama about the conflict between the public and personal life of a brilliant, aspiring politician, and essentially chronicles his downfall. It was full of the quick quips and wordplay I always imagine as being characteristic of English plays in performance.

On Sunday morning, we went to the British Museum, where we saw the Rosetta Stone, mummies, and an interesting HSBC exhibit entitled “Money” with lots of old money and information on how coins have been produced over time and such. That afternoon, we went to an awesome department store called Liberty, where we had tea and scones. Then we just shopped around that and other department stores, which were all particularly adorable with their holiday decorations.

On my last day, Monday, we began our day in Camden, which is really interesting. We spent a while at the markets there—they had a really cool variety of things for sale. After a delicious lunch in a pub where one of Madeleine’s friends recently got a job, we went to the British Library, and had an awesome time looking at their collections. They have incredible manuscripts, including Beowulf, Shakespeare First Folios, illuminated Bibles from as early as the 600s and 700s, pages from DaVinci’s notebooks, writings of Mozart and Beethoven, journals of Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen, the Magna Carta, and the list goes on. They also had a really cool exhibit going on called Taking Liberties, about peoples’ fights over time for the freedoms we have today. Really thought-provoking.

I returned to France on Monday evening, and taught for the last couple of days. Today was free, so Vanessa and I met up for a fun Parisian day. We had lunch in the Marais, got delicious hot chocolate on Rivoli, and did a little department store shopping (more holiday fun). Apparently the Champs-Elysees is lit up at night as of yesterday, so I’m looking forward to checking that out, as well as other festivities!

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