July 12- July 14.
What do those four things have in common? My weekend, that’s what.
It started on Thursday with Mamma Mia. Lauren, Ruth and I had purchased our 40 pound tickets- not super cheap but they were excellent seats! The best way to buy musical tickets in London is by going to the theater site
(you can do this through a simple ‘Mamma Mia in London’ search). Buying from the theater will give you the cheapest ticket price and service free. From here you can pick your seat by price and location. They always have really cheap seats but those usually are in a restricted viewing area, which will be mentioned on the seat.
We all got dressed up despite the rain and caught our train into London. Lauren and Ruth purchased an all day London pass for 20 pounds, which allowed them to take all methods of public transportation for the day. I would definitely recommend it for people without a Brit rail.
From the London Victoria station, we took the underground to Prince Wales Theater at the Piccadilly Circus stop. As soon as we exited the tube, the sign for Mamma Mia was right in front of us. We dodged the traffic, picked up our tickets and took off our soaked jackets. Our seats were to the left of the stage in the 13throw- we could see everything. For those who don’t know, I have a huge obsession with Mamma Mia the movie and I had been dying to see the musical for years- long before Meryl Streep went to Greece and Colin Firth went gay.
Seeing Mamma Mia in London was a dream come true, I could barely contain my excitement while waiting for the show to start. The show was amazing! The songs and dances were great and the cast was hilarious. I kept expecting Meryl Streep to come on stage and start singing! After the show, the cast came on stage and started singing and we had a dance party in the stands. I needed this because the lady next to me got mad at me for singing during the show so I needed some singing time.
On Friday, Lauren, David and I made our way back to London for the moment I had been waiting for- The 50 years of Bond style exhibit. From what I read, the exhibit sounded awesome- full of bond gadgets, costumes and more. I guess it didn’t hit me until we got there that it was everything was real. You see, I’ve been watching Bond
films for as long as I can remember. Over Christmas break, there would be a two-week Bond marathon on TV and my brother and I would sit inside and watch it for two weeks straight. It didn’t matter if we had seen the movie already. It didn’t matter if we had seen the movie 4 times; we watched it all day and all night. This would eventually lead me to have some heated Bond debates with friends (they were wrong, I was right) but it didn’t matter- I was Bond obsessed. So when I saw a poster in London for the Bond exhibit I knew I was going. I didn’t care if it was 10 pounds or 200 pounds- luckily it was 12 pounds and an extra 8 if you wanted a Bond martini, which I did. You had to purchase your ticket for a certain time to avoid too much traffic. Our tickets allowed us entrance at 3pm, which would give us enough time to see the exhibit before the bar opened. I could probably dedicate an entire webpage to all the things I saw at this museum but I will keep it short because I still have 3 days to talk about. Pictures unfortunately weren’t allowed in the exhibit but I’ve attached some pictures from the internet so you can be jealous. I will tell you this: *If you have not seen a Bond movie 1) you should probably never tell me because I will have a heart attack 2) skip this part because it will mean nothing to you.
I got to see Oddjob’s steel-rimmed hat. The hat was accidentally given to a fan and had to be bought back for
60,000 pounds. Goldfinger’s gun was also there along with the golden bullet. I was inches away from Sean Connery’s 007 suits. Being that close to Pierce Brosnan’s was also extremely cool. The exhibit reconfirmed my strong belief that Daniel Craig is NOT Bond. Yes, he is an excellent actor BUT he is a lot shorter than every other Bond and he is blonde, which they made very clear in his suit mannequin. He just isn’t Bond. The LEAST the franchise could have done was dyed his hair but considering that they are having Bond drink a Heineken in the next film makes me think that I care more about 007 then the franchise does. Sorry about that rant- I’m pretty angry about this ordeal. So, there were also the costumes of many other characters such as Elektra King and Jinx (Halle Berry). They had a lot of the storyboards and costume sketches from the films along with several props. Needless to say, it was well worth the money and the cocktail at the end was just the icing on the cake.
On Saturday I stayed in and worked on my final paper. Boring. The End
Sunday, I went back into London to go cheese tasting at La Fromagerie- a cheese restaurant that I had read about in my cheese magazine, Culture. Once I made it to London, it was a short tube ride and a 15-minute walk to La Fromagerie. I sat myself down and immediately made my way to their cheese tasting menu. Being in the UK, I decided on the British and Irish cheese board with a glass of the recommended wine. The five cheeses I tasted were:
Innes Buttons: From Statfield, Staffordshire this is a fresh mousse-like light unpasteurized goat’s milk button cheeses. It was topped with pink pepper and had a very creamy, light lemon flavor.
Tunworth: From N Alton Hands, this cheese made from cow’s milk is milder than Camembert but had a wonderful nutty and earthy taste.
Montgomery’s Cheddar: From North Cadbury, Somerset. Montgomery is one of the most famous Cheddars in England. This one was rather mild in flavor but still full of that traditional cheddar flavor.
Ardrahan: From Co. Cork, this Cow’s milk cheese is slightly tangy with with grassy flavors and an earthy and rustic aroma.
Crozier Blue: From Tipperary, this is a cheese made from Ewe’s milk, which is extremely popular in England. It has a smooth buttery texture and a mild, almost sweet flavor. A really great blue cheese.
The wine, Gros Manseng, was from Gascony, located in southwest France. This wine was very light and gentle with a fragrant zesty structure. It went perfectly with all five cheeses.
As always, I loved every single cheese but the Tunworth would have to be my favorite. I finished the entire plate, to the shock of my waiter and spent the rest of the day wondering around London (which may have included some shopping).
As I’m sure everyone knows, this year’s Olympics are in London & while I’m not going to be around for the actual ceremony (not that I could ever even afford a ticket), I did get to see the Olympic Torch Relay on Monday. The torch was set to arrive in Brighton at 5:55pm so at 4pm a group from school took the bus down and walked
up to the beginning point. Most people would wait at the end but we wanted prime viewing so we walked further up where less people were. While getting to see the Olympic Torch wasn’t a life changing experience, it was another amazing thing that I’ve been able to do on my trip this summer. Thousands of people were there seeing it too but so many people will never be able to say that they were 2 feet away from the Olympic Torch. I get to say that & it makes me feel so lucky.
I’m winding down on my last few days here and I’m having mixed emotions. This has been a life-changing trip full of so many opportunities but I have a good life waiting for me at home. It’s always hard to go back home after time abroad but going home allows me to really digest everything I did. I never truly realize how much a trip has changed me until I am home. Plus, lying in bed with my cats and dogs for a few days does not sound bad at all.