No Matter How Rich You Get You Still Have to Iron

Trip Start Dec 27, 2011
Trip End Jan 11, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, January 6, 2012

Dean Faught gave us the day off because we were all incredibly tired. Despite that, Colleen, Katie, Corinne, and I decided to utilize the morning to take a tour of Westminster Abbey. It was amazingly beautiful. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed inside the Abbey. My favorite part was walking by Queen Elizabeth I's tomb. The effigy on her tomb was made from her death mask, and it is said to be the most accurate representation of her. Mary, her sister was buried underneath her, although she had no marker. Directly across the nave, in another chapel, lay Mary Queen of Scots, in a tomb built by her son, James I, to compete with that of her rival, Elizabeth. 

As we continued our tour, we passed that of Chaucer, who was buried in the Abbey not because of his contribution to the literary world but because he was the man who built the Abbey. We saw statutes dedicated to Shakespeare and Handel, all who are either buried or honored in Poet's Corner. Jane Austen is even buried in the Abbey. After Poet's Corner, we walked around outside to the other side of the Abbey, where the shrines to Sir Isaac Newton and Darwin are located. It is in this area where the tomb of the unknown soldier lays and where Kate walked in to the Abbey for her wedding. 

After we were finished with our audio tours, we stopped briefly in the gift shop before walking to Buckingham Palace. It was a lot different in the day time. On our way there, we strolled through St. James's Park...I have never seen so many birds. There were even pelicans. Once we were finished gawking, we took the tube back to Russell Square and all grabbed some fish, chips, and mushy peas at the Lamb before meeting for our evening program. 
We met in the Churchill room for a presentation by Professor Gitelson. He is a professor of political science at Loyola and talked about the difference in the political systems of the UK and the US. He was "taken back" that we didn't have to dress up for him, so he asked us to bring ties to wear if we had one. He was a funny guy. 

After his talk, we discussed the different viewpoints that people had about the two judicial systems (UK and US) and the things we had seen during the week. The general consensus was that we preferred the US system, if for no other reason than that the rules and rights which make our system somewhat tedious are meant to protect us and that we were grateful for those protections. 

After our panel discussions, Justine, Corinne, Katie, Theresa, Joe, and I got ready to go see the Phantom of the Opera during its 25 year in London. I went with Corinne to Costa to get some coffee to prepare (I was struggling with the lack of sleep thing, even having gotten the day off0. 

The theatre was close to the Picadilly Circus stop. We picked up our tickets at the theatre and grabbed a quick bite from Pret a Manger before the show. I was prepared to cry at the end of the show (as it always happened). I was not prepared, however, for the best Phantom I have, hands-down, ever seen. He was phenomenal. I cried before intermission. I was sobbing by the end. Corinne and I got the worst seats of the group, but that was okay because we had both seen it/memorized it. However, the Asian in the row in front of the row in front of me obviously had never been to theatre (i.e. had no theatre etiquette) because he kept moving during the entire show. In order to see, the man in front of me started leaning. In order for me to see over half the stage, I had to lean out into the middle of the aisle. The aisle carpet should have had a "slippery when wet" sign up after the show because I was a mess. When the Phantom said, "Christine, I love you" was so beautiful. I was really upset that you had to pay for a playbill and that they didn't just give them to you, because I would have liked to know the name of the actor playing the Phantom. Actually, everyone was great. The weakest link in the main characters was Christine, who had a lot of trouble with her transitional notes (but her head notes were fantastic and very controlled). 

We stopped by the Lamb after the show. Dean Faught told all the girls that we were all gems and that there are good guys out there for us. It was sweet listening to him talk about his wife. As we were leaving, the owner of the Lamb told me that the night was going well except that "this lady" (meaning me) was distracting him. It was prretty cute. 
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