If I could only eat one more thing for the rest of my life, it might be the pear puffs served at a pastry shop by University of London. ￡1.50 gets you the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. I can only imagine what their gorgeous cakes look like. (Good thing we'll find out when our small "crew"- we deserve such a title -celebrates mid-semester birthdays. Even better that any pseudo-excuse will do to get us to buy cake.)
At least I earned the pastry today. I walked from Nido to St. Paul's, to Christopher Wren's Great Fire of London monument, up the 311 steps to the top of the monument, back down the steps, down to the Thames River walk, to Victoria Embankment, to campus, through the British Museum (again), back to campus, back to Nido. A pear puff was well deserved, though the view from the top of the monument was reward enough (especially considering that the walk up/down costs more than the pear puff, but only by 50p).
Built by Chris between 1671 and 1677. The stairs wind up the small column.
1/3 of the way up. (Kinda like the trek to the crown of the Statue of Liberty, huh guys?)
My favorite view from the top, mostly because it features Tower Bridge, the object of my latest obbession. Note to any man who will ever propose to a girl: South bank boardwalk, at night when the cute lanterns are on - and I saw "lantern" rather than "light" because the word is just cuter - and you two are standing understand the Tower Bridge . . . you should ask there. No ballpark scoreboards, completely tacky. Do it there, you'll get a yes.)
I listed all the walking out to make it seem long and tiring. It was, don't get me wrong. But I can't express how much I love walking here. One of my friends said I was super productive for strolling all day, but I think just the opposite. There's nothing like walking in solitude when you just want to daydream and soak up everything that surrounds you.
Walking here is different than in New York. Maybe the added sublimity and surreal atmosphere the streets have here is only because they're new and different. (I could be saying they're rotten and annoying by May, I doubt I will though.) The streets wind about and my feet just go for literally hours upon end (no iPod background music necessary!). I try to imagine who else and what characters have shared these streets with me. Evelina, the leading female in one book I'm reading, was just told about the beauty of Wren's monument in the chapter I read last night! Don't even get me started about seeing the Globe from across the river. You can stand on a suspension bridge built to celebrate 2000, look across the Thames, and there it is! The mecca of all Literature dorks! To make things even cool, though, it sits right under the TATE MODERN (my adventure for NEXT Monday). Talk about living in history.
Enough romanticizing for one evening. I'm off to read, read, read, read. (That's what you get my procrastinating and watching Grey's Anatomy, for it, like a late-night quarter-pounder with cheese, is just as satisfying here as across the pond.)