Monday, October 20, 2014

Study Abroad at RHUL: Shakespeare's Globe and The White Cliffs of Dover

I seem to be averaging two trips per week where I leave my campus and Egham, the surrounding town, to explore other parts of England. I think that's pretty good! My third week at Royal Holloway I went to Shakespeare's Globe Theater and the White Cliffs of Dover.

Wednesday October 8th: Shakespeare's Globe Theater

This was one of my solo trips, mostly because I'd only learned a few days before that there were only a few shows left for the season. Due to limited planning time and the fact that I could go on a Wednesday afternoon when many of my friends can't, my options were either go by myself or not go at all--easy decision. To make the most of my trip, I decided to get to the Globe by going to St. Paul's Cathedral via tube then crossing the Thames on the Millennium Bridge.

St. Paul's Cathedral 
Crossing Millenium Bridge
If you're unfamiliar with the Globe Theatre, it is a reconstruction of the theatre of the same name that many of Shakespeare's productions were performed in when he was alive. It was built in the 1990s to almost exact specifications of the original, including a thatched roof. I got lucky and managed to make the very last tour for the day, without even planning to go on one. I even got to see some of the actors warm up!
A model of the Globe
View from the seats
Some of the actors warming up!
The Globe has an open top, so you can either buy seats and be covered by the roof or choose to stand in the yard as a "groundling." I chose to take advantage of the cheap tickets (and the great view!) and stand in the yard, which means that I got pretty wet when it was pouring before the show started. Luckily, the rain stopped right before the play began and didn't start up again for the duration.

Waiting in the rain 
The people behind me in the yard.
My view of the stage (!!!)
There's no photography allowed during the show, but take my word for it that it was amazing. I barely even noticed that I was standing for the full 2 1/2 hours because I was so enthralled. I laughed the entire time, and the actors were wonderful. One of the leads had had a part in Sherlock for an episode, so that was cool.

After the show, I bought a bunch of stuff from the fantastic gift shop. That gift shop is the bomb. I got a Shakespeare's Globe tote bag and some magnets with a quote from each Macbeth and As You Like It, my favorite drama and comedy, respectively (at least, that I've read so far). I wanted so much more, but I do have a semblance of a budget to stick to. All in all, it was a great day and I'm really happy that I decided to go despite having to make last minute arrangements.

Saturday October 11th: The White Cliffs of Dover 

I went to Dover with my friends Lauren and Kiana. We got up early to catch a bus from London Victoria station to Dover that took 2 1/2 hours, which wasn't super fun but was about a fifteenth of the price of taking a train. Unfortunately, the tickets we booked didn't give us a ton of time to explore all of Dover, but we got to spend a few hours on the cliffs taking pictures and walking around reveling in the beauty.
The majestic Dover Castle
If you squint, you can see France!
When we were approaching the cliffs it was raining, but that cleared up fast. Although the skies and view got prettier, the mud did not automatically go away when the sun came out. At the end of the day all of our shoes were covered in mud from walking along the paths and climbing the hills. I would recommend wearing really sturdy shoes if you ever visit Dover. I would also recommend that you visit Dover.

Despite our limited time and muddy shoes, all three of us really enjoyed the trip to Dover. If I had more time in England I would probably even go back, but as it is I think that I need to spend my time exploring other things. We capped off our day with a wild hunt for Mexican food in London, and ended up at Wahaca, a great restaurant where I tried my first ever mojito. Overall, a very successful day.

Until next time,

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