Today I planned on going on a tour at the National Gallery and then heading back over to the River Thames area.

In reality, I went to the National Gallery and then spent the afternoon wandering around the Leicester Square and Covent Garden areas of London.

Since it was Sunday and things don’t open early on Sundays and after the whole ankle debacle, I slept in a bit. I was hoping that the rest would magically make my ankle all better. Sadly, that was not the case. This morning even putting weight on it hurt, but I got myself ready, took some ibuprofen and limped out the door. About 30 minutes into my day my ankle had mostly adjusted to walking and only going up and down stairs hurt. I’m wondering if a) the ibuprofen kicked in b) the exercise helped the ankle or c) my ankle went numb from all the walking. I guess tomorrow I’ll find out how much help or damage I did.

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I’m so glad that I did the guided tour at the National Gallery. I learned so much more about the art periods, what to look for in a piece of art and the conventions of the time. I’m definitely going to try and do tours at the Tate and Victoria Albert museum.

When the guided portion was over, I checked out the Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes & Discoveries exhibit that was going on. I’ll admit that visual art isn’t really my thing — it doesn’t speak to me. But between the tour and the exhibit, which talked about the controversies surrounding different paintings, I found it all very fascinating.

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Post-tour I went in search of food and a place to check out my guide book and plan the rest of my afternoon. It was then that I discovered I had left my book at home. I decided that it would be too costly, both in time and effort, to return for the book, so I spent the afternoon checking out Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

I visited the TKTS booth and to see about Billy Elliot and it will cost about 40 pounds. I’m pretty sure I’m going to suck it up and do it on either Tuesday or Wednesday evening. I’m not big on knick-knacks and I’ve been eating as cheaply as possible, so it will be my splurge of the trip.

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In Leicester Square there was an event sponsored by Cadbury Eggs going on. They had these big slides and two teams, stripes and spots, raced down the slide and whoever shot a basketball into the hoop first won.

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Next up, Covent Gardens. It’s basically one of the big shopping areas. Not quite as upscale as Oxford, but still plenty of places to spend money. I mainly window-shopped.

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The Brits love their ice cream. There are ice cream trucks and stands everywhere!

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Perhaps this was inspiration for St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries?

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I immediately thought of C when I saw this store. I wish I had more patience to sift through the clothes, maybe I would have found something cute.

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So many weird and random street performers everywhere!

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The official Covent Garden shopping area.

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I grabbed some coffee and a granola bar in the afternoon and wrote postcards and people watched for a while.

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This rowdy group of people walked by cheering for Lithuania.

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And then I resumed shopping…

[David and Goliath]
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For H.

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I also made the terrible discovery that Lush in the UK is cheaper than Lush in the US, even after the pound to dollar conversion. I ended up buying a couple things I’ve been eyeing for a while.

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Scarves!

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Best name for a frozen yogurt shop ever.

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I got a small (except it was actually quite large!) cup of green tea fro-yo with bananas. They only had three flavors: natural, green tea and bittersweet dark chocolate. I really wanted the chocolate, but apparently the machine was broken. 🙁 The green tea was okay, a bit strange, but not bad.

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A space cadet Domino’s delivery man?

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I took this picture to remind myself that there’s a book I want there… I wonder if I’ll be able to find the store again.

Being phoneless hasn’t been bad, except when it comes to the google maps, around me, and internet features. I could care less about making/receiving calls and texts, but I do find it annoying not having the ability to look up where the closest grocery store or pharmacy is.

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I have no idea… the store was a design store and had these in the window for some reason.

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A book store specializing in just theatre related books! Too bad they were closed.

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My final adventure of the day was finally seeking out platform 9 3/4. I use King’s Cross as my primary underground station, but I haven’t actually gone looking for platform 9 3/4 until today.

First I did the logical thing and followed the signs towards platforms 9-11, until I ran into the ticket gates. I didn’t want to swipe my tube card incase it charged me some crazy amount. Then I walked around the station for a bit, hoping I’d find it or some signs pointing me in the right direction. No such luck. Finally, I asked the information booth, feeling pretty silly asking where the fake platform was. The woman told me that it was located on platform 8. Right, because that makes logical sense.

I found it! I was kind of let down. The whole thing was very lackluster. Perhaps it’s because of the construction at King’s Cross?

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Anyway, mission accomplished.

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Other random thoughts?

  • Apparently there was a strike on the Underground on Tuesday, which caused chaos all over the city. I’m glad I missed it.
  • I love that when ordering water you have the option of still or sparkling. Sparkling being my preference.
  • As I walk around, I picture myself living here. I can see it perfectly. If it weren’t for the higher cost of living and how expensive it would be for me to go home or people to visit, I’d move here in an instant.
  • Accents aside, British boys are way cuter than American boys.
  • British theatre also trumps American theatre in both creativity and being less expensive and more accessible.
  • I love all the healthy, prepackaged food that is delicious and not gross.
  • Do I have to go back to Eburg?

Okay. Enough rambling. Tomorrow is my big day. I’ll be listening to sound archives at the British library, you know, the whole reason I’m on this trip. Wish me luck!

2 Comments on In Search of Platform 9 3/4

  1. Ugh, I want everything you’ve taken a picture of.

    And I’m so glad Platform 9 3/4 doesn’t say Harry Potter on it anywhere. The Brits are so damn classy.

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