Because the British have been making an invasion in America within the realm of music, television (DOWNTON ABBEY!), fashion etc., I decided it was high time that my Trude clan return the favor by invading the English shores.
But in all seriousness, I had the pleasure of hosting my “mum” and sister here for a few short days. Despite the fact that our spring breaks don’t line up, we covered a lot of ground and had a brilliant time “inTRUDEing” what’s been my home for the past few months.
Although I was the “tour guide” for a good chunk of our excursions, I thoroughly enjoyed being that “didn’t-I-tell-you-this-would-be-awesome?” person, as well as admittedly showing off a little bit my tips and tricks for navigating London and avoiding some weirdos.
In light of the fact that I really should be writing a paper instead of blogging, I’ll keep the commentary brief, and insert more photos – I mean, a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?
DAY 1: LONDON
I dragged my poor family through Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, and the London Eye despite the fact that they had just flown in that day. Oops. #iregretnothing
DAY 2: LONDON
My sister was particularly enthralled by the Westminster Abbey service we attended Sunday morning, and while the service was indeed beautiful, I was more captivated by the gruesome yet fascinating history of the Tower of London. Having seen many a documentary about King Henry VIII and his numerous wives as well as having read a fictional adaptation of the story of Lady Jane Grey, I was floored to have walked the same grounds and stroll through the same prison rooms as Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and others.
If you know me well, the subject of BBC’s Sherlock has probably come up, and in enthusiastic tones. The Speedy’s café and 221B Baker Street setting is actually in the most obscure location – quite easy to miss. And while I thought we would look rather silly to passer-byers who don’t understand the significance of this spot, I was happy to find a few other tourists doing little photo shoots there as well. Also, the reason why I look crazed in the second photo is because I had just realized that while posing with the door handle, I accidentally let go of it, knocking on the door. People do live there…but no one answered. They’re probably used to ding-dong ditching Sherlock fans.
And no trip to London is complete without a stop at Platform 9 ¾ at the real-life King’s Cross Station.
DAY 3: PARIS
Fully expecting to be written off as ignorant, non-French speaking American tourists, I was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality by which we were received in Paris. With less than 24 hours to spend in Paris, we hit the essentials – Eiffel Tower, River Seine, Arc d’ Triomphe, Bastille, and passed by the Notre Dame Cathedral on our river cruise. Oh, and ate some cheese. I would definitely need to spend more time in France to a) better appreciate the culture, and b) see the sights we didn’t have time to see, but it was a jolly good time. I prefer London, though.
The rest of the week was spent showing my family just snippets of Oxford, and leaving them to their own devices while I slaved away in the Bodleian in preparation for my new British history tutorial (which is proving to be a helluva lot harder than my previous tutorials). Everything was so new to them, so I had to remember to slow my pace down, and forget the itinerary. I’ve had the privilege of living – yes, LIVING – here for well over two months now, and wouldn’t admit this to them at the time, but found renewed joy in watching them be amazed by all that is Oxford.