Monday, February 2, 2009

Tangled up in Blog

This whole weekend I had the song “Tangled up in Blue” by Dylan stuck in my head. It took me until now to figure out why. I saw a street sign that read “Montegue Street” and one of the lines in that song has that name in it. It was actually a great soundtrack to have in my head for the weekend. Here is your update:

We stayed in on Friday night. Finally some other student teachers got here. There are about 7 of them. They all seem pretty nice and hopefully will turn into great travel buddies.

Saturday morning, going against what feels natural on a last Saturday, Colin and I got up early and were out on the road by 8:30. The 1 hour 45 minute drive to the nearby town of Epping seemed like a half hour. Before we knew it, we were at the last eastward stop of the tube. Mom: lets just say that “Hal luck” was in full effect this weekend. We got a tip from my teacher to buy an Oyster Card the first chance we got. It costs 3 pounds but then after you top up (load it with money) you get discounts on all modes of transit and you can just swipe it over a sensor….very easy. The train had just pulled in as we had, and we were on our way into the heart of London. The tube line that we were on, central, happened to take us within about 2 blocks of our hostel.

After a few wrong turns we found the place, SMART Russell Square budget hotel. Sounds posh right?

We checked in and stored our bags in lockers and headed out. The British Museum was only a couple of blocks away from the hostel. Colin and I didn’t know much of what we wanted to see in London, but we knew that we wanted to check out the British Museum. Let me say this: HOLY CRAP! This place was so cool! There are so many exhibit and interesting displays that I think it would take weeks to scratch the surface. My favorite exhibits were ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. I did check out the Moai statue, but really folks…I have been to Easter Island, I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of those Moai, on their original island…some of them still in the bank of the volcano, only partially carved out. It was weird to be on the other side of the world and see the same statue though. Here are some pics:

This video is of some stunning stone heads of Roman Rulers. Notice the chiseled features of the perfect specimen of mankind (4th head in, haha).

After about 4 hours, we had reached the museum fatigue point. The point where you start to stop appreciating how amazing each piece is. So we promised ourselves that we would return before the end of this trip and called it a day. We went to a local pub and got a bite to eat. I have heard people say that British food is disgusting. I decided to challenge this notion and order a local dish: Chicken Stroganoff. Chicken? I have heard of Beef Stroganoff, but chicken? It was served as a type of stew, no noodles, in a flakey bread bowl with some thick cut “chips.” It was absolutely delicious! It was a great choice and reinforcement enough for me to try the local cuisine again. After diner we hopped around to about 3 or 4 other pubs, finally settling into one about half a block away from the hostel. We thought that would be a good place to close the evening on account of its close proximity. Wrong. There was a really funny and outgoing bartender at this pub (the name of the bar escaped me). She was Canadian and making fun of us arrogant Americans (granted Colin did try to order a Budweiser at a london pub!). None-the-less she invited us to go out with her and her buddies after she got off and a quiet night turned into an all-nighter. It was great fun and a great welcome to this wonderful city. Thanks for your hospitality Hayley!

We woke early the next day (technically same day) to check out of the hostel by 9.30. We then made our way over to Big Ben, heard it ring, walked around the house of parliament and decided to walk about a half mile away to the Imperial War museum. Colin is a history teacher and I could not have picked a better travel buddy. I do not know that I would have gone to two museums if I were on my own during a weekend in London, but his influence turned out to be a great surprise. I am hooked. I loved both of these museums and cannot wait to return to see more (Kale? Interested?). There was a really special Holocaust exhibit at the IWM.

What else?...Snow! It has been snowing quite a bit here. It wasn’t snowing in London when we were there, but then evening after we left they got a bunch. Enough so that many flights were cancelled or delayed and an estimated 1.7 billion dollars were lost in British companies. (does that mean the value of the pound will go down even more?). It was the most significant snowfall in 18 years!

We had a teacher in-service day today. The middle school is being observed in mid April for accreditation (or whatever the middle school equivalent of accreditation would be), and today all the teachers got together (after late arrival was announced) to make sure that all the t’s were dotted and i’s were crossed :) Tonight me and the other student teachers are going to meet up to eat leftovers from today’s provided lunch. Then I will start writing some lesson plans for the end of the week and next week (my cooperating teacher is getting surgery and will be gone for a whole week!).

I will try to post another random blog before the end of the week


Aaron said...

Hey Hal, this is a great site ... i like the part about dotting your t's. =] i havent been on before... sorry we have been a little busy with my moms new job and every thing. i have tried texting but i guess your phone doesnt work where you are lol. well just wanted to let you know i have been on and say hi...
Your Bud,

Susan Iverson said...

Wow, you will be taking a class! That's what you are there for, after all. London sounds so great! It appears you have just scratched the surface and will need to go back a few times. I can't wait to talk to you and actually hear you tell me of all your adventures. Love, Mom

Manoah said...

Your blog is really developing man! I think your doin' great. I am still using your's and Kale's blog as my primary music influence and I haven't been disappointed. So keep up the good work man! Keep posting ton's of pictures of the adventures! AND "don't stop believing man... that's the last thing you want to do"- Tim Handy

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