After leaving the V&A we were off to check out the Covent Garden. Friends of mine had recommended it & so we were just passing through on our way to London’s infamous Trafalgar Square. I foolishly assumed that when I got off the underground at the Covent Garden station I would walk up 37 stairs and be surrounded by a beautiful garden full of blooming flowers (despite the fact that its February and freezing)
Had I done any homework I would have known that Covent Garden is a shopping area with a huge covered market. I must admit, although I like nice tress, I like fantastic markets better.
After taking it all in we set off for Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery. We took a few photos along the way.
We couldn’t resist
Cloudy day in Trafalgar Square
Disclaimer: This is much more difficult than you would think. Unfortunately, I never made it up :/
But Liz did–lucky duck
Countdown to the London Olympics
The National Gallery
After getting a very warm lunch–mmm Thai Spicy Curry Soup– we strolled into this lovely museum and I was pleasantly surprised. The collection of paintings and the time span it covers is quite impressive. Perhaps it is just because I am an art nerd, but I actually fancy this museum over the V&A. My favorite of course was the Impressionist Wing. Unfortunately no photos are allowed to be taken inside but here are two of my favorite pieces kept inside this little treasure trove:
The Thames Below Westminster by Claude Monet
Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
If you are a fan of painting The National Gallery is definitely the place to be in London. I may just make a return trip in the near future ;)
After breakfast we popped into the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Fun Facts about the V&A:
- It’s the world’s largest museum of decorative arts.
- This means it houses all kinds of things like ceramics, textiles, costumes, jewelry, furniture, medieval objects, sculptures, & photographs.
- Must sees:
- the British Galleries–which look at British lifestyle and taste, and who influenced this, from 1500 to 1900.
- The Jewelry Rooms–complete with tiaras. and swords for the fellows in the group.
- It’s FREE :)
- It’s open everyday of the week, including Sunday
Just tryin’ to fit in.
Original Beatrix Potter illustration–the author of The Tale of Petter Rabbit
The Breakfast Dress
Costume from Lion King the Musical
*You cannot take photos inside the jewelry exhibit so this is a postcard image from the V&A–there are so many breathtaking tiaras, including ones with bows!
Finally, a stunning Chihuly in the lobby. One of my personal favorites.
Unfortunately the girls & I didn’t have much time to spend her so we saw a few of the collections and then had to run along. However, you could spend the entire day here and not see everything. The museum seems to go on forever and there is something for everyone. Definitely a must-see in London.
But it was off to Trafalgar Square for us. More photos tomorrow– I’m currently late to a date with Prince Caspian & his little lion friend.
So I have quite a few photos from London (and by quite a few I mean several hundred). I’ve decided instead of overloading one post with all of them I am going to give little snippets of my weekend and the different things we did.
We started the day off with a little breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien which was scrumptious.
I got a scone with clotted cream and different types of jam including blackcurrant, apricot, cherry, and more. Plus Nutella. And of course lattes :)
Although it’s a chain and some would be hoping to find a more authentic, English place, I have to say Le Pain Quotidien is quaint and delicious. If you have an opportunity to pop in for breakfast or brunch I highly highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.
Last weekend we had a little piece of Paris right here in Oxford. The Oxford Union, Oxford’s most infamous debating society — founded in 1823– held their biannual ball. This term’s ball was Moulin Rouge themed! It was an evening filled with champagne & cotton candy, a full jazz ensemble followed by a silent disco, an unlimited absinthe bar just a few steps away from the unlimited crepes and chocolate fountains, a photo booth, and live reenactments of scenes from the movie itself. As you can envision a ball can be quite formal so we all dressed to the ritz and had the time of our lives.
What I Wore– Dress: French Connection, Earrings: Oxford Boutique, Philip Pelusi Lipstick in Hot
“Take a photo of my blue tongue–it matches my dress”
An unforgettable night.
This week’s words are inspired by the amazing video below and my recent trip to Alice’s Shop here in Oxford [photos coming soon]
Hello! This is Anna from Spectacles, and while Jacquie is off having a fabulous time
in London, she asked me to do a little guest post for you.
I’ve been back in this country for approximately 50 days (but who’s counting?…) after
having my own adventures studying abroad. I lived in Copenhagen, but since that city
is small and pretty darn expensive, I took every opportunity I had to travel. I took some trips solo, some with my class of 25 people. I spent a week in Paris under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and 2 days in the tiny city of Vilnius, Lithuania, where my great-grandparents were born. I wandered the streets of Amsterdam, stuffing myself with a few too many vlaams frites, and dared to go into seemingly abandoned warehouses in Berlin to find clubs filled with the coolest-looking people I’ve ever seen.
So if you’re lucky enough to spend a little time wandering on the other side of the
Atlantic, here are my tips for making the most of your adventure:
1. Eat the street food, even if it’s weird.
In Stockholm, the street carts serve hot dogs, shrimp, and mashed potatoes all
together in a wrap. In Prague, people line up in the cold for fried cheese on a toasted
bun. Strange? Perhaps. But they taste pretty darn good (especially after you’ve had
a glass or five of the local brew).
2. Don’t be afraid to look like you fit in (it may make your life a little easier)
Whenever I traveled to a new city, I realized that there was always something about
me that made me stick out like a sore thumb, whether it was the American labels on
my clothing or the confused look I wore while staring at a map. There are little things
that you can do to make yourself look less like a tourist or an easy target for scam
artists (in Paris I could not get away from sketchy teenage boys who wanted to sell
me Metro tickets for way too cheap a price). Avoid bulky backpacks and download
a map onto your iPhone. Look around you – is everyone wearing the same hairstyle?
In Copenhagen I started to rock the ‘Scandi-bun,’ or the top-knot, and it helped me
to feel like I fit in a little better, even though I wasn’t clad in head to toe Acne. Ditch
the awkward sneakers and you’ll have a much more pleasant experience.
3. Plan ahead (but not too much)
Obviously, you have certain places that you must see in a city. Go see the undersized
Mona Lisa. Take a gondola ride on a Venetian canal. See where the king and queen
go to bed every night. However, every city in Europe has a labyrinth of hidden gems
that you have to step off the beaten path to find. In Paris, I ducked out of the rain
into one of the remaining arcades to have one of the best meals of my life, with not
another tourist in sight. The best clubs aren’t the ones advertised in a guidebook.
You want to go where they may not speak any English and where the drinks are
cheap. Get lost.
4. Put your camera away (but keep it close)
Once in a while it’s a good think to get your face away from a viewfinder and to
really see your surroundings. You can’t capture everything with a camera, and it’s
valuable to stop thinking about how to eternalize a moment and to really immerse
yourself in the present. When I went to Oslo, I left my DSLR on the cruise ship and
ventured into the city with just my iPhone to document things. It’s a small city, and
since I wasn’t pausing every few seconds to snap away, I was able to cover an awful
lot of ground and to get a real feel for this Nordic capital.
5. Go into that crazy-expensive store
Even if you could never dream of affording a closet full of Chanel or Cheap Monday,
it’s really a lovely experience to go into the big flagship stores and just enjoy being
surrounded by beautiful and luxurious things. I went in to the Galleria in Paris with
the intention of buying myself a new wallet, but left empty handed when I realized
I would much rather travel a little bit more than have something by Marc Jacobs to
throw into my purse. Oh, reality…
6. Avoid Starbucks!
You know how Starbucks is in every town in America? It has invaded Europe as
well, although it’s more expensive than at home and distracts you from the unique
and very delicious local coffee shops (and not just the ‘coffee shops’ in Amsterdam).
They can make a pretty darn good latte in cafés all over Berlin and be prepared for
some very strong espresso in Paris. If you can get it in your hometown, try something
else while you’re here.
So in conclusion, travel fearlessly. And if you have any room in your suitcase, would you mind smuggling me over? I miss it all far too much.