Tower Bridge, Markets, Indian Food, & Bollywood-Style Shakespeare

Tower Bridge, Markets, Indian Food, & Bollywood-Style Shakespeare

If the title didn't give it away already, I've had a fairly intensive and interesting day!

It began this morning with an informative tour of the Tower Bridge area. We explored the areas we had talked about in class, and it was easier to see how crime would have flourished in this area early on in London's history… The boats, morning fog, shipyards, narrow and winding streets, the flurrying populace, and the ever-present River Thames would have made this a criminal's paradise. On a related note, We also walked through Jack the Ripper's stomping grounds and sat in the courtyard where his last victim was found. Slightly creepy, but it was also historically thrilling to be sitting in the exact spot where history happened, walking the same stones as people in the 1800s did.

Post-tour, I hit the gym again and then went home to make a lunch of yogurt with a super wrap: pan-fried salmon filet with a few chorizo slivers, a touch of Brie, and half a bag of spinach (heat-wilted in the pan). It didn't last long.

In the afternoon, we toured a set of market areas (Petticoat Lane, Spittlefields, Bricklane) I've come to know and love for my Cultures of Empire class. It was really interesting to hear and see the layers of history that lay under the structures of today. This was especially interesting in the Petticoat Lane and Bricklane areas, where the early structures and markets were created by the Jewish population in London and today is dominated by African & Asian vendors and Indian, Bengali, and Muslim populations respectively. It is always interesting to consider what all of the areas will look like in fifty-plus years as the city continues to layer histories and cultures over time.

After the tour, I went to an Indian restaurant called Sweet and Spicy, which came highly recommended as a place for locals who want authentic food without fuss. It was amazing, definitely some of the best Indian food I've ever had, and was quite reasonable price-wise as well. I got a samosa, Sikh kebab, cauliflower curry, and two puris for under five pounds. I also snagged a medium chicken curry and a naan for an additional few pounds. I left the restaurant full and happy, with the soul-filling feeling only Indian food can deliver.

As if that wasn't enough for one day, I also made my way down to see a production of Much Ado About Nothing by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was Bollywood-style, which was a phenomenal treat and matched my dinner quite well. It had the actors in full Indian costume and featured a few dance numbers. All in all, a wonderful show that was the perfect way to top off the evening.

 

Pictures below, per usual. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stratford-Upon-Avon (Day 3)

Stratford-Upon-Avon (Day 3)

Inspired by the beauty I saw on my morning run yesterday, I decided to go for a photography walk along the same path early this morning before we had to leave on our train. The English countryside is so picturesque. I loved seeing all the beautiful, endless green and the wildlife. The beauty of nature, for me, is in the little details. I tried to capture a little bit of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Stratford-Upon-Avon (Day 2)

Stratford-Upon-Avon (Day 2)

On this day, I started out with an exhilarating and long run out into the countryside with my roommate-for-the-weekend, Arthur. We enjoyed the crisp, clear air and the fog rolling over the river and fields as the sun rose. We made it back to the bed and breakfast in time for an amazing English breakfast. We enjoyed ham, eggs, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, tea, yogurt, cereal, more tea, jam, and more. It was probably a very good thing we went on a run.

Post-breakfast, a group of ten of us decided to rent some boats from a nearby dock we had seen the previous night. We lucked out, as they had a boat that could seat all ten of us. We hopped in and began a merry rowing adventure. It was absolutely gorgeous as we rode (and rowed) along the riverbank. It was such great company, and we even sprang into singing a few rounds of “Row, row, row your boat…” (Which induced a passing English boat to wonder aloud, “What on earth are those Americans singing?!?”) It was an amazingly fun experience, one I will not be forgetting. After rowing, we had lunch and bought cheese from a nearby market.

Later that day, we saw an outstanding production of Richard III. It was action-packed and had an extremely-talented actor playing Richard III himself. After a short break for a walk around and a deliciously spicy Thai dinner, we came back to the theatre to see A Comedy of Errors. It was my favorite Shakespeare play of the three we saw this weekend, but they were all so impressive. It was absolutely amazing to be treated to three shows in Shakespeare’s hometown. I will never forget it. Enjoy the pictures (and video of our merry round-singing) below.

Stratford-Upon-Avon (Day 1)

Stratford-Upon-Avon (Day 1)

Today, we made the voyage via train to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a weekend of theatre, history, and fun. It was a wonderful day. We saw Shakespeare’s grave and birthplace while exploring Stratford-Upon-Avon and then went to see a production of the Tempest. It was quite magnificent and so impressive to see the play come to life right here in Shakespeare’s hometown. The town is gorgeous, with an idyllic countryside setting a gorgeous backdrop.  It seems almost a city lost in time.  Tomorrow we see two plays and get more time to explore the city!

Stratford-Upon-Avon

Shakespeare’s Burial Church

Shakespeare’s Grave

Michael and Grace

Shakespeare’s Bust in his Birth Home

Fish and Chips

The Tempest Set