Olympic Madness

So, Tuesday I survived Bristol with my silly banged up toe. Wednesday I went to a National Trust site called Stourhead House and Garden, with Dr. Rushton. He was going to meet the manager of that site to discuss how they recruit volunteers and what the National Trust’s process for volunteer recruitment and training is. I only sat in on part of the meeting, which didn’t really give me any new information that I hadn’t already learned working at FLMNH, and then I got to walk around the estate. It was quite something.

After Stourhead, we headed back to Glastonbury where I continued working on the newsletter and was able to finish up several of the feature stories. And then I went to bed fairly early after dinner, because I knew I needed to get up very early on Thursday morning.Thursday morning Dr. Rushton drove me over to the Castle Cary train station to catch the 7:35am train to London. It takes about two hours to get to London, and I arrived at London Paddington Station just before 9:30am. My toe was still really bothering me, but I had taped it up. Problem was that my right foot was swollen compared to my left foot…so shoes that normally fit, and did fit my left foot, didn’t fit my right foot. Hahaha. So, I shoved my right foot into a pair of sandals with every intention of buying flip flops when I got to London.Unfortunately I didn’t find a place on my way to the meeting at head office, so I had to wait until after the meeting to get different shoes.

The meeting itself wasn’t bad at all. It was a sort of orientation to the Churches Conservation Trust, and I was one of three interns to go through it. The other two, Claire and Ryan, where both British university students, and we had lunch together during break. The meeting was a surprisingly comprehensive overview of the CCT as a whole, and I definitely feel more informed about the CCT, it’s history and how it works and what my role in the grand scheme is…and that’s something I can’t say about working at the Florida Museum of Natural History. I know the organizations are apples and oranges, but I have to say that I feel much more comfortable in my job here because I know more. And I feel like even though I’m just an intern, that I’m appreciated and valued as an equal to a paid staff member. The meeting went from 11-3:30pm, and then I headed out to roam London until my return train left Paddington at 8:35pm.The CCT head office is just near the Smithfield Market (London’s big meat market), and it’s close to St Paul’s Cathedral.

So I walked to St. Paul’s because I had discovered a shopping mall in the vicinity thanks to Google maps. I found a shoe store and bought some sandals that didn’t constrain my toes, and the rest of my day was much better for my foot.I headed from St Paul’s toward the river and walked over the Millennium Bridge to the middle of the Thames and took some photos of the Tower Bridge in the distance. The Tower Bridge is the iconic bridge of London…and is often called the London Bridge, even though it isn’t. The London Bridge actually isn’t that appealing either. Hah.So I took some pictures and then walked along the Thames back toward the Westminster/Parliament area. It was quite the walk, but I didn’t mind. Once I hit Waterloo Bridge I headed back towards the city, away from the river, at ended up in Trafalgar Square. I didn’t realize that the Olympic Torch was making it’s final tour through London on Thursday, and I hit a mass of at least 3000 people gathered in and around the square. I asked a policeman what was going on and he said the torch was coming through in about 15 minutes. So, I found a spot and waited. I mean…when in Rome, right? :)The torch came by and it was pretty neat. And then the masses started trying to leave the square. I had strategically placed myself for a quick exit, so I headed down the Mall toward Buckingham Palace.

Unfortunately most of the Mall was barricaded off for Friday’s festivities, so I took another road back toward the river, and to the Parliament building and Big Ben.The walking was pretty slow-going. There were people everywhere and I was mostly concerned of getting my foot stepped on. But everthing worked out and I ended up at the Westminster tube station and took the tube away from all the craziness and went back to Bayswater, which is where I was my first night of my trip. I knew it was an absolute tourist trap, but I needed to eat dinner before my train, so I grudgingly went to an Indian resturant and sure enough did they try to rip me off. If you think the Italians in Rome are bad…wait till you encounter some of the Indian waiters in London. I had a good chat about it with the couple sitting next to me. She was from Sydney and he was from Oslo. Talk about a long-distance relationship there! Hah.The food was okay, the service was horrible. They tried to get away with not giving me my change back. I did eventually get it back and left without tipping. I may be American, but I ain’t stupid, thank you very much.And then I took the tube two more stops to Paddington and sat down in the station to wait for my  trian. Unfortunately, “due to signaling issues”, the train was delayed an half hour and I didn’t leave London until just after 9pm. That put me into Castle Cary at 10:50, and home in Glastonbury around 11:20pm. And then I happily crashed in bed after so much walking!

The Olympic feel is definitely in the air, and I wish I could have found out where Gator Band was on Thursday. I know now that they’re performing today (Friday), and all throughout the weekend. It’s pretty awesome that Gator Band gets to represent not just the Sunshine State, but the entire USA at such an international venue! If it wasn’t so expensive, and so crowded, I’d go back to London on Sunday to see them perform. But I’m sure there will be videos posted to YouTube.

Here are some pictures from the day:

The first two are from Stourhead on Wednesday. And then I took a few in London. These are all photos from my iPhone. I took more pictures with my good camera, but I won’t post those for a while probably. Anyway, so the photos from London show some of the Olympics decor around the city, the Millennium Bridge, the London Eyes and Parliament off in the distance in the picture of the Thames, crowds in Trafalgar Square for the torch, and finally all the people milling around Westminster and Parliament before I headed to Bayswater.

That’s all for now. TTFN 🙂

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One thought on “Olympic Madness

  1. This is my favorite post so far, and here’s why.

    1. “Problem was that my right foot was swollen compared to my left foot…so shoes that normally fit, and did fit my left foot, didn’t fit my right foot. Hahaha.”

    2. The pictures. You have such a keen eye for simplistic beauty. You capture things that most people, including myself, would look right through and past.

    3. Indian waiter commentary. “Thank You, come again.”

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