Besides seeing a West End show each day I spent in London, I also toured Shakespeare’s Globe, visited a few museums and explored Camden Market. Then, I took a train back up North to Sunderland for my final day in the U.K.
While heading to the Globe, I got off the Underground at London Bridge Station and took the wrong exit to find myself on a spooky street. Turns out, this spookiness was intentional because it is part of the London Bridge Experience. I had plenty of time before the first Globe tour started at 9:30 a.m., so I decided to test my London navigation skills without Google maps.
My first time in London, I walked past the Globe and London Eye, crossed a bridge and got lost next to Downing Street. I did not know at that time where I got lost at, but on my second trip to London, I recognized the area and found out it was right next to the Prime Minister’s house. I figured with these two experiences behind me, I could find my way around without help this time.
So I started walking. After about five minutes, I found myself at a dead end. But I couldn’t really complain because I had a close-up view of Tower Bridge. I walked around the fountains of water spouting from the pavement on that cold, rainy day and of course I took a selfie. Then I followed the Queen’s Walk, passing the Southwark Cathedral and meeting another dead end on a pier.
But I couldn’t complain about this dead end either because I found a cool historical ship and, nearby, an enormous fish-shaped boat sculpture between some shops. I snapped some pictures because that was some intense art! I continued down the Queen’s Walk until I reached New Globe Walk, the home of Shakespeare’s Globe.
Unfortunately, they were not performing any Shakespeare shows at the Globe because “Globe season” ends in October. Fortunately, the tour I took was me and two other people; a small enough group that the guide took us to the different boxes and even let us stand on the stage.
Yeah, I stood on the stage. And yeah, I was freaking out a little. Maybe a lot. I’m still freaking out while typing this about a month after the experience. But what an experience! Our tour guide had a great sense of humor and, even besides my minute on the stage, made the tour worth every penny. And then all the money I spent at the gift shop. But all the money I spent there goes to the theatre, which is a cause I have a weakness for.
On top of my Globe tour experience, I also visited a few museums: the National Gallery (with Monet and Van Gogh), the British Museum (with the Rosetta Stone), and the Tate Modern (with a great rooftop view). I met up with my fellow gishwhes team member, Becky, when I visited the Tate. The two of us explored the Camden Market, shared some gelato and saw “Matilda.”
I spent the day before I went back to Sunderland seeing “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” In other words, I spent it geeking out like Scorpius Malfoy, mostly because of Scorpius Malfoy, with fellow Harry Potter fans.
I did some last minute packing for my return to the States and tried not to cry while leaving the place that became my home, where I made friends that became my family.
Up next: what I learned while abroad and experiencing “reverse culture shock.”