Yup, walk time has come again! It didn’t take much consideration to figure out where I wanted to take my first walk of the semester – the theatre district. Honestly, half of the reason I came to London was to see as many plays as possible.
A group of us started out along the Thames after dinner Thursday evening and walked along the river until we came to Cleopatra’s Needle, another obelisk that I suspect the Egyptian government would like back (there seem to be quite a few of those around Europe). Mohammed Ali gave it to Britain in the early 19th century. I forgot my camera, but somebody got a picture of me with the sphinx next to the obelisk, so I’ll try to add it and some others later.
We couldn’t go through Victoria Embankment Gardens since it was closed for the night, so we headed up to the Strand for a bit before stopping for pictures in the courtyard of Somerset House, which rulers like Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, and Charles II (my great-great-great-great-great- granddad, or something like that) have called home. Today it houses Impressionist art, so I’m going to have to come back to get my Monet fix. The courtyard was beautiful, especially all lit up for the night.
Continuing up the road, we saw the official church of the Royal Air Force, some of my favorite people in WWII history, as well as a couple of theatres. On a side note, I headed back with Chelsea and Stephanie on Friday to see Legally Blonde, which was SO much fun. I’ll try to blog about it soon.
After passing by the home of the BBC and the London School of Economics, we turned onto the muffin man’s street (a.k.a. Drury Lane). This was exciting to me for two reasons: first, it really is the beginning of the heart of theatreland, and, second, it was once home to Nell Gwyn, Charles II’s mistress and my great-great-great-great-great-grandma, or something like that. Here's what she looked like:We headed home at that point since it was getting pretty late, but we started up the second half of the walk this morning at Covent Garden, one of my favorite places in the world. Every time I’m there I get a picture with the “noble architecture of these columns” at St. Paul’s church so that I can be a disgrace to them like Audrey Hepburn was in My Fair Lady. We split up for a bit to get breakfast and then came back to explore the church itself (where I made a cat friend and saw Vivien Leigh’s plaque), talk to a friendly bobby, and take pictures with the cherry blossoms.
Next up was Leicester Square, where I got a glimpse of the Valentine’s Day premiere this February and where the famous TKTS booth sells discount theatre tickets. We then worked our way out towards St. Martin’s in the Fields, which inspired the design of most 19th century American churches, and Trafalgar square. As you can see, the weather was gorgeous!
We eventually worked our way passed the Golden horses of Helios and into Piccadilly Circus, the London Times Square, and tonight I’m planning on heading back with Chelsea and Stephanie to see 39 Steps there. Yay for the theatre! We then walked through China town and headed home. What a walk!