Yesterday Erika and I flew to London to fulfill my life long dream of seeing the Royal Ballet. We got off to a rocky start. We woke up at 5am in order to take the Aircoach to the Dublin Airport for our 8:10am flight. We had already checked in online and printed out our boarding passes so we asked two security people what the next step was. Both of them said to go through security and head to the gate. We did so and sat at the gate for about an hour. We got in line to board the plane and when we got up there, the Ryanair people wouldn't let us on! Contrary to what the two airport people had said we were supposed to have a stamp on our boarding pass. I was so confused because I've never had to do this before. They made us go back to the beginning and miss our flight. We not only had to wait until 11:40am to fly to London, but Ryanair charged us each 100 Euro as a "transfer fee." Excuse me, but that's the biggest load of bull crap I've ever heard in my life. I've missed a flight like this before with United and they transferred me to the next flight at the gate free of charge. The least I can say is I'm very dissatisfied with Ryanair and plan never to travel with them again.
But we finally got to London and took the Tube to our Hostel: Pickwick Hall. It was an adorable little place a few blocks walk from Holburn Station. It was great because we got dressed up all fancy and then took the Tube down one stop to Covent Garden. Finally one thing worked out that day and we picked up our reserved tickets! I was so relieved!!! We took a look around the gift shop; I bought a Royal Ballet tee and Erika got her mom a Nutcracker doll. Although it was raining we explored the Covent Garden market before the show. Our seats were in the upper amphitheatre but they were great! We were in the forth row and had a wonderful view down on the stage. The Sugar Plum Fairy and Caviler were absolutely wonderful! Their performance was flawless and the audience just couldn't get enough of them.
The next day we toured the Tower of London. We saw the Henry VII: Dressed to Kill exhibition. I find it slightly unsettling that they make such a big deal out of a guy who wasn't very nice. I learned from the exhibition that Henry VIII spent the modern day equivalent of one billion pounds on seeking out war. On top of that he killed all of his wives because they couldn't provide him with children (which was probably his fault anyway). I guess it was cool to learn about his many suits of armor he had made for him. I guess the only justice was that when he died at the age of 55 he had gotten pretty fat, but that doesn't bring his victims back to life.
After lunch we took a tour of the Globe Theatre. It is the third Globe. The first was burned down in the Great London Fire, and the second one was torn down by the Puritans because they thought theatre was evil. Our tour guide was an adorable man who was really excited about what he had to say. Overall it was the best tour of the day.
We swung back by the hostel to pick up our backpacks and then headed to Harrod's. We walked around the designer rooms and were in awe of the expensive prices. It was the poshest shore I've ever been in! I don't think they have it right in their slogan when they say, "All Things for All People, Everywhere." I think they really mean All Things for Only Rich People, Everywhere. I'm really glad I was able to see it though because it was the most beautiful store I've ever been in. And they had really nice bathrooms!
Now I need to get to studying for finals because my first one is next Tuesday. I have four next week and just one the next week. I can't wait until I'm done on the 14th because then I'm home free until I fly back to Iowa on December 20th!
Covent Garden decorated for Christmas
The Royal Opera House ceiling
The Royal Opera House stage
The Royal Opera House balconies
In our seats before the show:)
The Royal Ballet dancers
The Sugar Plum Fairy was AMAZING!!!
The Tower Bridge
The Tower of London
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Harrod's Department Store