Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to survive day 5

I can honestly say I feel smarter after today. Just the thought that I actually walked around in Oxford and took a step on the soil there makes me feel like a genius. I'm debating on whether I should transfer there, it's a great environment and I already felt prestigious just because I read the sign with the name Oxford on it. Oh wait, I never wanted to go to Oxford in the first place silly me I must have been lost in a thought. 

Double Deckers can be fun
On our way through Oxford to Blenheim Palace we had the privilege in riding a double decor bus! If you ever go to England this is a must, I can finally cross this off of my bucket-list and move on with my life. We learned not to look a mother in the eye when she is taking her child for a walk. The mothers are very protective of their young here, and you don't want to get the father involved because death can result. 

Blenheim Palace
After a quick nap we mad it to the palace. Which is beautiful at first glance, basically like anything else here in England. Today was on of the first days we saw the sun. Having the sun out and partly cloudy skies added to some amazing photography. After walking up the long drive way we were officially at the entrance of Blenheim Palace. Blenheim Palace was made for Winston Churchill as a gift from Queen Anne. This was given to him because he was victorious at battle. If everyone received land and a palace today I'm sure there wouldn't be as much fuss about going to war as we have now. 

Blenheim Palace is in the style of English Baroque and is very beautiful. We weren't allowed to take pictures today again which was brutal. Inside there were beautiful tapestries, Boulle work, ormolu mounts and of course just like any other palace the best paintings, and gold work. The artisans who worked on Blenheim were extremely gifted, I'm jealous. 

Outside the gardens were equally as beautiful as the interiors. From the water falls to the rose garden everything is very pleasing and green. Something I liked especially was the secret garden, the best part about the secret garden was discovering the secret. (There was no secret.) 

Entrance into Palace

Blenheim Palace
A Church in Oxford
A church in Oxford 
After finishing up in the gardens our group of 5 went to oxford to look around and see why everyone wants to go there and why they are willing to pay $100 to apply to a college only to be denied, well unless they are one of the lucky ones. Like I mentioned earlier it was a really cool town. Picture any college town in the US and then add an old english twist and you are there. Today while we were wondering around we made a "friend" well he wanted to be a friend but we considered him more of a creep or stalker. I believe those are the correct terms. He kept following us around but lucky for us we were able to escape and I am alive and writing this blog to you today. So in the end we learned that oxford may be a place for the genius but it also has some creeps, just like any other place in the world.
The group of 5

Monday, May 30, 2011

Burghley House

Today was an adventure and it all started at 7:30 this morning. Usually I am not a morning person, I'm okay with waking up and getting ready when I have to but I prefer to lay in bed until I am well rested. I think I can make an exception while I am in Europe, why would any one in their right mind want to sleep when they are living and breathing British air?

While we were getting ready for the day there was a loud noise outside our window all of a sudden. When we took a peek outside we saw police on their horses it was pretty sweet. So naturally I took a picture because it's not everyday you are awakened or caught of guard by the mysterious sounds of a horses hoof.

We continued our day by taking the train to Burghley House. On the way I was able to see the train station and actually use the train station where Harry Potter was filmed. I tried to look for platform 9 3/4 but unfortunately had no luck finding it. I guess I'm not a wizard.

Burghley house was delightful! I enjoyed every aspect of it. Our tour guide was so awesome, he had the best jokes and great stories about the house, I loved his passion. This house is beautiful, as you can see in the picture, it looks like a castle and well it may have been. Today was Bank Day or something like that here in London so there were many parties and celebrations and of course all the shops were closed or were closing early. At Burghley House there was a festival that was going on. Way cool! During our tour we didn't get to take pictures which was depressing, I would've bought a booklet in the gift shop but to me it wasn't worth the five pounds. After the tour I went and got a scone with butter and jam it was very delicious. I recommend it to anyone planning to go to Burghley House. Burghley House also has beautiful gardens which just happen to be a water park as well which I thought was so exciting, too bad I didn't have my bathing suit. The sculptures were exquisite and so were the water works!

After Burghley House we went to Stamford. It was the cutest town I have ever seen!

 It was a shame all the shops were closed because of Bank Holiday. I didn't let that stop me from exploring though. I started to get so caught up in the scenery and taking pictures with Andrea that we lost the group, we knew when we were supposed to meet up so we decided to go exploring and see what there was to see. As we were walking we found a propped open fence and decided to enter it. Inside was an amazing view along with a really beautiful church. As we were walking around and taking pictures someone told us that the chapel was open and that we could go in so we did. The interior was just as gorgeous as the exterior so we decided to sit and sketch. Little did we know the meeting time changed from 4 to 3 so we were a tad bit late to the bus compared to everyone else.

 After seeing these beautiful sites we ran into another adventure. Andrea basically had the worst day of her life. Her camera died and then she lost her wallet and well everything was going crazy for her. So together we went looking for her wallet and had no luck finding it but Andrea is really calm and had everything under control apparently and everything worked out in the end. Don't worry we got the situation handled in enough time that nothing extreme happened as a result. It was a learning experience for all today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day four and I want more!!

What a beautiful day in London! The sun was out and it was just amazing! Today was our first free day. This morning I went to Church with a small group of people and we go to experience stake conference and hear the prophet which was awesome! After church I went back to the V&A to finish seeing some exhibits and to sketch.                                      

I loved the lighting here!

Look how HUGE it is! 

On the way home from the V&A is this way cool building that I have no idea what the name is but across from it is the Imperial College of London and the Queens tower which becomes a really cool reflection in the windows. It's so cool to see how everything just flows here in London. All the architecture just seems to go together whether it is old or not. It is never a dull moment here everything is new and exciting. Just the thought of being outside of the US makes sleeping 10x better even though it doesn't seem like sleep is at the top of my list. 
After exploring the V&A I realized how untalented I am compared to old artisans. I decided I probably shouldn't complain about the sketches I have to do, that task is way less complicated then sculpting or creating a beautiful desk with marquetry. 

At the flat we all gathered in the kitchen for some lunch it was great! I enjoyed talking and getting to know my group mates better! Next on the list was exploring the streets. As we (Andrea and I) were walking we ran into Laura who was sketching and then all of us decided to walk around together. As we were walking and Laura was creeping we ran into the missionaries. It was nice talking to them one was from the US and the other was from Brazil but they were very nice so we took a picture and continued on our way.
We walked around looking for pictures and finding inspiration in a "creepy" sort of way. Then the creepy fun ended when Laura's camera died so instead we started to talk to the locals. It has been said that the American accent is ugly so we decided to survey random people and see what they thought. To our surprise we asked about 5 different people and none of them were from London but all agreed that they liked the accent and thought it was unique. We aren't sure if it was because they didn't want to offend us so the survey will continue to see if it was by chance or legit. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Like the locals do

Today was probably one of my more exciting days here so far. Early this morning we started off at V&A Museum which stands for Victoria and Albert. This museum was amazing, to put it in perspective take the Denver Art Museum and multiply it by 10. Right next door was another museum, the museum of Nature and Science, this one was really popular, there was a line (que) outside of people waiting to enter. I have never seen a line that long for a museum. Now I understand why Americans are so dumb sometimes, instead of waiting in line to be educated we wait in line for things like new releases in video games, roller coasters and other useless things.
One of my favorite things about the V&A was the architecture.
Here are some pictures:

I think that the detailing is perfect!
Once you walk in it is literally like opening a present on Christmas, your eyes light up and you are so excited to see everything inside. Wow I sound like a nerd! Any ways when you walk in right away there is a really cool fixture hanging from the ceiling.
Way cool, right?
This museum was a lot of fun. Instead of it being the usual pictures from textbooks or lectures I actually had the opportunity to see the furniture from William and Mary or the detailing in marquetry (which is a masterpiece in itself.)

After lunch we met up again to go to the Tate Modern museum and on the way we got to see some exciting treats! We saw the memorial for the fires of London, the bridge that everyone thinks is the London bridge and then the actual London bridge, and Shakespeare's globe.

The Memorial
What people thing is London Bridge
The Actual London Bridge

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Then we got to the Tate Museum of Modern Art, which has some pretty insane art in it. It reminded me of TOK when we talk about art and what is considered art and why. Some of the art in there really seemed like I could have done if only I had thought of it first. But it was a cool place to gain perspective and inspiration especially for something like modern design. Speaking of, I now know where the inspiration for the Interior Design office came from.

Then finally my night ended just right! I went to the ManU vs FCBarca game! It was a blast to be able to be a part of the life here in London and to actually celebrate, and cheer like the locals do. Ok maybe I didn't celebrate as much as they did because every one here loves to get wasted on game day! It was a blast talking to the ManU fans and listening to them try to talk to us like we speak another language even though we all speak english just slightly different variations of english. It was a lot of fun to be a part of. I loved watching Football It was great! And I am really stoked that Barcelona won 3-1! What a great way to end my night!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I've been here two days and already I feel like it has been weeks. England is great! This morning I woke up at 5:45 wide awake I guess I am not 100% over the Jet Lag yet. Today was an exciting day full of splendid information. We started off taking the tube to Leicester Square where I had the marvelous opportunity to see where the inspiration came from for Diagon Ally.

This is for all the Harry Potter lovers out there! Here is one end. Here is the other end.

These shops are really cool. They are cute little shops with a lot to offer if you decide to be a costumer I'm sure, but unfortunately I am a poor college student who can't afford to go crazy in the little shops. Although I can go crazy with taking pictures of them and gaining inspiration from them. This whole area of London is so eclectic I love it! Meaning that it has a combination of deriving ideas, styles or tastes from a large and diverse range of sources.

We then quickly made our way through the streets and alleyways to find Covent Garden. Covent Garden is a very exciting area, most definitely a place to find tourists so naturally we fit in perfectly.

This was a cute marketplace where you can buy items that were being traded or simply a place to find fresh produce, bread or olives. I'm personally not a huge fan of olives but they had many options, so if you are an olive person you would have been in heaven with the selection.

Another thing that I found to be really cool about this area is how different all the structures were, especially in the ceilings and archways. Most of the spaces embraced structural design, which added to the feel and design of the area. Structural design is the underlying framework, or the structural component of the architecture. It is cool to see how the structural component adds to the visual form.When walking through these spaces you can't help but to look up and notice the structure and where the light is coming from.
The first two images demonstrate structural design perfectly the other two show the structure like in the arches and pilasters but they cover up the underlying form, which demonstrates again how eclectic London really is.

Next stop on our journey was Hampton Court Palace which is currently owned by the queen, and all of her artwork is hanging up on the walls there. We learned that she switches out her artwork regularly so the art we may have seen on the walls today may not be there tomorrow. Hampton Court Palace was the residence of Henry VIII. To continue on the theme of how eclectic London is Hampton Court Palace has a tudor style and also baroque style.

Unfortunately my camera died before I was able to take any stunning pictures of the palace, but I do have an amazing flatmate and a great group of students who have offered to share pictures with me. It was miserable without my camera. I suppose I owe an apology to my mom for all those years I complained about taking pictures. This has definitely been a quick lesson for me and I will make sure my camera is fully charged every morning before I leave for the day.

Here are some of the amazing pictures from Hampton Court: Look how detailed and beautiful the chimneys are.

The Royal Gardens

The Queens Entrance

Oh and did I mention I got to meet the King??

Seeing places like this gives me a greater appreciation for the artisans and such, because to think that a building such as this was made, designed, crafted by hand is mind blowing. It kind of makes you wonder where the appreciation for that has gone today. There was an arts and crafts movement by William Morris but it still has me wondering why people don't appreciate this workmanship as much anymore, we're all too focused on technology and other daily activities. Which reminds me, tomorrow is the "football" match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United! I Can't wait it has been all over the news and papers here, too bad the tickets are 1200 pounds to even have a seat in the stadium. We'll I hope Barcelona wins! I will keep my fingers crossed tomorrow.
Since I can't call home, come read tomorrow to find out what's next to happen here in London.