Tag Archive: London

Lois’ Grand Adventure – Day 37 (Paris, London, Vancouver, Victoria)

I’ve been awake for 21 hours now, and travelling for 19 of them. Yes, it has been a long day. On the 10 hour flight from London to Vancouver I watched five movies: Hugo, Little Women, Arthur Christmas, White Christmas,  and  The Grinch.

In the course of my travel only two things broke and both of them were things I bought for myself, not gifts for other people. So yay I guess?

Honestly, I am so tired that the world is spinning right now, so I’m going to go to sleep and we can catch up on the end of the trip when I’m more awake. Deal?

Lois’ Grand Adventure – Day 5 (London & Amsterdam)

221B Baker Street. Photo for Daphne Mir.

Today was the one day in London that I didn’t have anything booked. I considered doing the BBC tour, but it was totally booked up. So instead I took the tube to Baker Street, snapped a photo for my dear friend Daphne who LOVES Sherlock, and then jumped on a bus that I knew the final destination of and took a random “tour” of London. But I was feeling a bit burnt out of the whole tourist thing, so I decided to just run my errands and get ready for part two of my adventure.

After mailing postcards, picking up a gift, and buying new pyjamas, I grabbed a snack and headed back to my room to re-pack my things for the flight to Amsterdam. Everything fit in my suitcase and it was under the weight limit! Hooray! I also got a brief Skype visit with my mom, which was lovely.

Then it was off to the airport to head to Amsterdam. This Amsterdam portion of the trip has proven to be cursed….or something. This was the flight that I had to rebook. Then when we got to the train station there was a problem with my ticket: I had selected print at home, it never sent to me, I couldn’t print it, they wouldn’t help me, I ended up having to buy another ticket.  Then we get on the train and I discover that the handle on my suitcase won’t go back inside. Something was jammed. I opened it up, took out my stuff, and tried to fix it. No luck.But the lovely people at the baggage drop said it would be fine, I just had to take it to the oversized baggage drop off. Okay. I can do that.

Our plane was late, but we got there.

When we arrived and picked up our luggage the handle had broken off completely, so now I can’t pull it while standing up straight.

Because of our flight delay the last hotel shuttle had gone for the day.

Our taxi driver couldn’t figure out where the hotel was.

Tonight I feel like my love affair with vacation is on hold.

I’m sure it’ll come back, but right this second I want my bed, I want to not hear every single word being said in this entire hotel (or the person snoring in the next room), I want to not fear death every time I have to climb the stairs to our room, and I want to eat a real meal since I failed at eating dinner again.

Fingers are crossed that tomorrow will be a better day.

Brightside? I get to buy a new suitcase soon.

Lois’ Grand Adventure – Day 4 (London & Cardiff)

Rainbow over Bristol.

Today began with extreme frustration on my part. After waking up very early (read: before 7am) and making my way to Paddington Station, I found out that my train to Cardiff had been cancelled. Cancelled? Yup. The tracks were flooded and it wouldn’t go. Could I take the next train with the same ticket? Probably. But they weren’t sure it was going to go either. Thankfully it was able to run, albeit on a diverted route that added an extra 30-45 minutes to the running time.

It was in that moment that I was incredibly grateful for my planning style.  My planning style that allowed me to arrive in Cardiff more than an hour after I planned to be there and still be on time for my booked timeslot at the Doctor Who Experience.  But I’ll come back to that.

The 7:45am train left Paddington station without a problem and I was amazed at how quickly we were outside the city and into the countryside. I’m not sure what the difference is exactly, but you look at it and you know that you’re in Great Britain. I actually watched the sun rise over London as the train pulled away. A stunning sight I wish I’d been able to capture with my camera.  When we stopped in Bristol there was a beautiful rainbow.

Side note: I’ve become very aware of my accent. I almost never have reason to talk since I’m mostly travelling alone, but I’m now finding the sound of my own voice rather harsh.

In the wind outside Wales Millenium Center

It was a very windy morning in Cardiff Bay. I don’t know if you can tell in the picture on the right, but my hair is blowing sideways. And of course this was the one day I didn’t wear a scarf! You see my hand on my chest: I was physically holding my jacket closed to try to keep warm. Of course, it gets windy when you’re right on the water.

I had read online that the Doctor Who Experience was hard to find, but as soon as I reached the bay I saw way-finding signs with “Doctor Who” on them in big letters. I followed them down the boardwalk to the MASSIVE warehouse that houses the Doctor Who Experience. When I entered the lobby area I was the only one there and began to feel a bit ridiculous. I was reminded of the time that I went to the Harry Potter Exhibit in Toronto with Brittney and we were pretty much the only ones there. But I felt less ridiculous then because I had someone to laugh with and take photos with.

Eventually a few others showed up: three teenage girls, a couple in their early thirties, and a single man in his late 40’s from Australia.  The teenage girls seemed to be having the most fun, but they were together and goofing around like Brittney and I did at the Harry Potter.

The experience is in two parts. The first part is a walkthrough with videos, artifacts, and a “story.” Now “story” is in quotation marks because I think my biggest problem with the whole thing was how poorly it was written. It made no sense. I understand that the “story” only existed as a reason for people to keep moving through the experience, but I know there are ways to do that better. It felt a little bit like site specific theatre: that they had the idea of the space first and then built the story to go with it, but didn’t know how to do that since they’re used to having the story come first. The other problem was that it is designed for 50 people or more to go through at a time, not seven. So with such a small group we didn’t take as long and some of the dialogue didn’t really work. Telling us to all “hurry up and gather” once we’re already in place doesn’t work.  However, one thing that it did really well was the audience herding. Or at least, it would be great for a large group including children.  Every time we had to move to another room there was clear instruction: “Come on! Hurry up! Don’t touch the knobs: you’ve already landed the TARDIS they won’t do anything now!” etc.  Another thing they did really well was their use of scrims to make things appear and disappear as we went, to the point that even I (with my carefully trained eyes) wasn’t sure how some of the things were working….for the first few minutes.

The front of the current TARDIS

Once the walkthrough ends, you enter a sort of museum/exhibition of Doctor Who memorabilia: costumes, props, set pieces, sound effects, video effects from the show in their original, refurbished or sometimes reconstructed forms. The first floor of this contains the entire interior of the TARDIS from the eighth and ninth doctors reign.  I asked the Australian gentleman to snap a photo of me with it, but as he tried, my battery died. It had said full strength when I left this morning, but it was dead dead. I was pretty upset that I would have no photos, so he offered to take a couple and email them to me. My fingers are crossed that they get here before too long, since they are of me with the interior and exterior of the TARDS from eight and nine.  I did, however, figure out that I could take some photos with my iPad, although they are not nearly as good of quality as they would have been if they were on my real camera.

One of my favourite parts of the exhibition was in a small corner right before the exit. On a small table were some of the original white card models for various sets. My pictures of them turned out terribly, but it was really cool to see how those theatrical tools are also used for Doctor Who. There was a model of the TARDIS interior that was especially cool.

The Torchwood/Ianto Jones Memorial in Cardiff Bay.

After buying some postcards to send to my Whovian friends and feeling a little sad that the gift shop didn’t have any Christmas ornaments, I headed back along the pier in search of a hot beverage. Had I been smart I would have gone in search of lunch, but I wasn’t hungry and I was cold. As I walked along the pier I saw what appeared to be a huge bulletin board covered in posters and notices, but when I got closer I discovered that it was a Torchwood memorial to one of the characters that had been officially recognized by the management of the shopping centre now on the location where some of the show was filmed. Now I like some TV shows a lot, but I have not ever built a memorial to a dead character.

I made my way back to the train station and checked that my train back to London was running on time: according to the video screens it was, so I decided to head into Cardiff proper for a bit of browsing. I found a huge, expensive mall that smelled exactly like every mall I’ve ever walked into. How do they do that? When I returned to the train station, I discovered that my train back to London had, in fact, been cancelled after all and I would have to wait another half hour before I could catch one. And again I thanked myself for scheduling the day in such a way that one late train would not screw up my plans for the evening (other than preventing me from having time for dinner).  I slept almost the whole train ride back to the city, which felt great. I was starting to feel exhausted. Just outside of Slough Station I noticed a huge fireworks display.  A little it of research after I got home told me that today was Slough’s Christmas Lights Switch On and the the fireworks were the big end to that celebration. It was pretty cool to see.

Side note: There is NOTHING I have experienced that is like Paddington Station on a rainy day, at rush hour, when a number of trains are cancelled or delayed. It was a madhouse in there.

Bad Lois snuck a photo inside a theatre.

No time for a break – I had tickets to a 7:30 performance of The Effect by Lucy Prebble at the National Theatre, so I jumped on the tube and made it there with 15 minutes to spare. Woo! The Cottseloe Theatre at the National is one of the most unique spaces I have ever been in. It was the only space we didn’t get to see on our backstage tour a couple of days ago so I had no idea what to expect, and I certainly didn’t expect what I got. The seating was on three floors, completely in the “round” or rather rectangle. For this production the lowest floor seating was designed to be a part of the set.  I have no idea if this is what it is always like, but it’s very cool. My seat was up on the top floor and I found myself with my arms on the railing in front of me, leaning in until my hands went tingly throughout the show.

Things I’m falling in love with about British Theatre:

1. Being able to buy the script at the theatre for a reasonable price at the time you attend the show. (I bought tonight’s script so that I could look up an exchange that jumped out at me).
2. No preshow announements
3. No cell phones going off
4. Ice cream at intermission
5.  Wednesday AND Thursday matinees.

Things I’m not falling in love with about British Theatre:

1. Inconsistent start times. Of note, I have not seen a show with an 8pm start time while I’ve been here.
2.

Yeah…I can’t really think of anything. They know what they’re doing over here when it comes to theatre.

Lois’ Grand Adventure – Day 3 (London)

At the “Staging Shakespeare” exhibition at the British Museum

My friend Kaari didn’t have to work until 9:30 this morning, so we went for breakfast. It was great to just catch up with her for a bit, though we’ll have plenty of time for that this coming weekend!

After breakfast I went over to the British Museum where I was able to catch one of the last days of their “Staging Shakespeare” exhibition. I was able to get a ticket for the first block of the day and ended up spending over an hour walking through the exhibition. Some of the highlights were seeing the only known surviving manuscript in Shakespeare’s handwriting (complete with sections struck through and re-written), first editions of the first folio, items from the excavation of the Rose theatre, and no school groups while I was in the exhibition. While I was walking through I noticed that three of the video screens/projectors weren’t working (in true techy style) so I went and found a staff member to let them know. In the process I discovered that the British Museum uses Watchout (the same projections program we used for Re:Union for their projections and got to meet a lovely man from visitor services. He had many questions about my trip and what I had seen so far and told me how lucky I was that there were no school children in the exhibition and we shared a laugh. When I exited the exhibition into the gift shop, all the Shakespeare themed gifts were marked down because the exhibition ends this weekend. So watch your mailboxes, y’all. Some of you are getting Shakespearean postcards.

I spent another hour wandering through the general collections. Things I learned from that experience:

1. All the school groups hang out in the Ancient Egypt halls.
2. The Rosetta Stone will always have a huge crowd around it.
3. The British Museum holds more than any one person could expect to see in a week.
4. It’s really overwhelming.
5. Seeing marble sculptures from approximately 2 AD is really cool.
6. It is always possible to find a single woman travelling alone to trade photos with (as in I take hers, she takes mine).

Posing next to Thalia – Muse of Comedy – at the British Museum

7. I still can’t get over how many things belonged to royalty 500+ years ago that they still have.
8. All of North America can be condensed into a room 1/3 the size of the Roman Pottery room.
9. The scale is enormous. The building. Some of the pieces it houses. The history it covers.
10. There’s something to be said for just walking through at a brisk pace and not trying to soak everything in.

Outside the Apollo Theatre before Twelfth Night.

From the museum I walked down Shaftsbury Avenue to the Apollo Theatre for the matinee of Twelfth Night (a hold over from the Globe). The last chunk of Shaftsbury is called “theatreland” and it really is like an amusement park for theatre lovers. Which is what I think New York might be like (fingers cross that I can make that happen this coming summer!).  From the time the theatre doors opened, the actors were on stage getting ready. Costumes were put on and make up and hair done sitting on the stage while the audience entered. It was fun to see the cast joking with their dressers and with each other. One woman went up and got an actor to sign her program as he was having his makeup put on. No one asked Mark Rylance or Stephen Fry though, which surprised me. if I’d been betting on it, the two of them would have been the ones to get that request. When Stephen Fry walked out to get his hair done, i was amazed at how well his voice carried. i was sitting in the very back row of the main floor and i could hear quite clearly the story he was telling his dresser, something I hadn’t been able to do with any of the other actors out there.

As for the show, it was brilliant. It was an original practices production which means that they tried to do everything as close to what would have been done 400 years ago as possible. So all male cast, but also hand woven velvet for the gowns, traditional instruments hand made for the musicians, etc. It was so funny and Mark Rylance really is a brilliant actor. And yet again at the end of the show the audience didn’t leap to their feet. Now by the fourth curtain call (we kept calling the actors back for more), a majority of the audience (myself included) was on its feet. But it took some effort.

After that I took my first tube ride (thanks Nathan!) down to Harrods. I spent about 90 minutes wandering the food halls, looking at £300 scarves, visiting the fancy Disney store, and buying a beautiful Christmas ornament. It was fun, but I don’t need to go back.

The walk from Harrods to the Royal Court was almost entirely lit up with Christmas lights. When I arrived I was delighted to see that it was this oddly funky building in the midst of its fancier neighbourhood. Also a plus for the Royal Court: for the same price as a program anywhere else I could get a script for the play I was seeing that night. What a great thing.  The show was good, but not outstanding. I know that I didn’t et a bunch of the jokes about regional things (of which there were a handful. I knew it was funny cuz everyone else as laughing, but I didn’t get it). As a company, it was like if Solo Collective got to program the Arts Club Granville Island stage with the klout of the Playhouse. All premieres, all the time.

Again I forgot to eat. i was too excited about getting where I was going and going exploring that I just didn’t think about it.

Before going to bed, Kaari, Erin and I met to go over our plan for Amsterdam this weekend. It was at this point that I discovered that I booked one of my flights for the wrong day. How i did this I’m not entirely sure. But we’ll go with the “I’m only human” option. I had to pay a bunch of money to learn from my mistake, but at least it was doable.

And now, since my eyes keep closing while I’m trying to type I must to sleep.

Sidenote: this British tradition of ice cream at the interval is a good one. So far my favourite option is the “strawberries and cream” Haagen Das.

Lois’ Grand Adventure – Day 2 (London, England)

Lois at Trafalgar Square

This post should probably be subtitled: Theatre, tours, and theatre tours.

I’m currently sitting in Starbucks outside Shakespeare’s Glove to rest my feet and eat a snack before continuing my adventures. And also taking a moment to document because as everyone has pointed out – if i don’t write it down I’m likely to forget things since I’m trying to cram so many adventures into so little time.

I couldn’t sleep in this morning, so I embraced it and was out of the building by 8:15, just walking through Westminster to see what I came across. It is amazing to walk through the west end of London and walk past large theatres on every corner with billboards for Chekov on the sides of the buildings.

I found my way to Trafalgar Square where I embraced my total ignorance and admitted that I had no idea what the significance of it was. A quick search on wikipedia told me that it is named after a battle. Go figure. From there I was just walking when I stumbled across Westminster Abbey. I say stumbled despite its size because the signage hadn’t been placed out front by the staff yet. As I was taking some photos the staff began to put out the signs and I learned that it would be opening in 15 minutes for the day. I decided to joint he very short line and go in. Because why not. (This is becoming my motto on this trip!)

So that’s how I found myself fifth in line to enter Westminster Abbey, and after picking up the free audio guide I let the voice of Scar tell me all about the Abbey. Multiple times as I slowly worked my way through every public corner of the Abbey I found myself overwhelmed to the point of having tears begin to well up in the corners of my eyes. It’s not a regular occurrence for me to walk through buildings where parts of them are over 1000 year old and every footstep is another step towards erasing the monuments to the people buried there.  Not to mention the millions of other people from all walks of life who have walked those same steps. The other thing that really struck me was that this church housed tributes to royalty and revolutionaries, poets and scientists, actors and soldiers. Amazing.

Cue outside Big Ben

I then made my way across the street to see the British Parliament and Big Ben. If I’m totally honest, I thought they were a little underwhelming. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t experience them in any real way, but they just weren’t that striking to me. A beautiful piece of architecture? Yes. But I just kind of didn’t care.

I walked across the Thames and followed the Queens Jubilee Walk along the south bank. At the aquarium a fire alarm was going off and there were hundreds of school children lined up outside waiting to be let back in as staff tried desperately to keep them occupied. It was amusing.

I continued my walk through a little Christmas market, past the National Theatre, past the Tate Modern, to the Starbucks where I stopped to write this. And now my peppermint hot chocolate is gone, my story is caught up and it must be time to visit the Globe.

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I’ve returned to my iPad as I sit for another few minutes break from walking. I sure am glad that I planned for blisters: it means that they haven’t gotten any worse and I’ve already been on my feet for about nine hours.

In front of the stage at the Globe.

The Globe was pretty cool. Seeing the stunning costumes that are more clothing recreation than costume (one outfit takes 90 minutes with two dressers to put on as it has no velcro, zippers, or modern fasteners) was a highlight. We weren’t allowed on the stage but wandered through the rest of the building, being told about their original practices approach to both some of their productions and the construction of the building. For example, each spindle in the gallery railings takes two hours to hand carve using the techniques of 400 years ago. Wow.

Side note: I didn’t realize how much Doctor Who pervades pop culture here until our Globe tour guide spent the first five minutes talking about The Doctor had saved Shakespeare and the Globe from MacBeth’s witches (series 3, episode 2, The Shakespeare Code) as if it were an actual part of history. Fun.

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I figured I’d pop into the Tate Modern since I was walking past (I’m still getting used to saying things like that….It’s not normal for me!) and found myself overwhelmed by the amount of art rather quickly. Thankfully they have free tours of “highlights” led by volunteers. Our tour was a group of four of us plus our volunteer who had stacks of notes on every painting, sculpture and installation on the floor that he never referred to because he knew it all by heart. What I found as I continued to walk post-tour was that the pieces that most jumped out at me were the ones I knew something about. Whether I’d seen the image before and wondered who the artist was, or knew the artist but hadn’t seen their work – it was when I already had a foundation that I wanted more (insert marketing advice here). There’s something about seeing Monet’s Waterlilies and realizing in the moment that it covers an entire wall when you’ve always assumed it was painting sized (just to clarify, in my head all paintings are about 11×17).

Monet’s Waterlilies. About four to eight times larger than in my brain.

I turned one corner and found a room full of Picasso’s. Another door led to Rothko’s Seagrams Mural. And in the latter room – a cramped room with low lighting (as Rothko intended) – I found myself struck. I sat there for a while, overwhelmed again by the work. I feel like I need to learn more about modern art. Maybe then I’d understand how a stack of bricks or piece of latex paint peeled back off the wall qualify as art. In most cases where I didn’t get the piece, I understood it as an intellectual exercise, but I don’t know if that makes it art. This is why I am neither an artist or an art critic.

At both the Globe and the Tate Modern (and later the National Theatre) I was impressed by the number of school groups present on a wet Tuesday.. I can’t imagine how that might change a child’s education: to stand on the stage of the Globe at the age of about eight and shout famous lines on a class trip. (The groups alternated between MacBeth and Romeo & Juliet). Or to have an art class field trip to see some of the greatest art in the world and be able to return whenever you want to see more. Amazing. I don’t think we have an equivalent at home.

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I’m now sitting in the lobby of the National Theatre, awaiting a backstage tour. I was amazed and delighted to discover that their lobby is a public space with a cafe, bookstore, and free public wifi. At 4:00pm on this wet Tuesday it is full of people. One table appears to be a production meeting. Another appears to be an actor fresh out of rehearsal with some friends. But others are just a lone person reading or doing a crossword. People are comfortable in the space and clearly have a sense of ownership over it. And among the people are costumes and set pieces on display (above my head is the body of one of the horse puppets from War Horse). Can more of our North American theatres start doing this?

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The street advertising for Matilda. Too bad I kept looking for it on the wrong street.

The National Theatre’s backstage tour was both frustrating and exciting. There was again a school group mixed in but they didn’t seem to want to be there. Mostly they just made fun of each other and of what was going on. However. We got to go through both the Lyttleton and Olivier theatres, including crossing the stage and going down into the trap pit of the Lyttleton. When we walked into the Olivier (up in the back of the house) the actors were just beginning their warmups. On the floor amongst them was John Lithgow, doing his stretching and deep breathing. I know that I’m not supposed to get start struck, but even I have moments where I have to be reminded that just because people are “stars” doesn’t mean that they don’t have to work as hard as “normal people.” We also got to see the stage manager’s station in the Lyttleton, visit the props department, see how they store the sets for their rep shows so that they can do change over quickly, and discussed what happens in their armoury.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stop looking at my watch during the tour. I had made the rookie mistake of booking a 70 minute tour at 5:15 and a show at 7:00 on the other side of the river, and the tour had started late. When we finished, I was out the door faster than I would have liked and heading for my next destination. I had taken the time to write out walking directions and knew that I could make it on time. But as I got closer to the theatre, iI also got more lost. On a lot of corners there are no street signs so its next to impossible to figure out where you are. I also learned that a lot of people (including the staff at large theatres) don’t know the other theatres by name – they just know what is playing there. After the sixth person couldn’t help me find my way to the Cambridge Theatre for Matilda and my watch said 6:56 and I had tears again welling up in my eyes, I found someone who told me where to go. I’d been close for about 15 minutes, it was just down a different street with poor signage. I walked in the door at 7:00pm and although the doors were closed, the show hadn’t started yet and a lovely usher showed me to my seat. I apologized profusely for being late and felt extremely Canadian. And I now know why I go to things 30+ minutes early all the time. It’s worth being early to not have that stress of trying to find a place.

By the second song in the show I had stopped stressing out and just sat back and enjoyed it. It is such a wonderful adaptation of the book. It is not the same as the book – not exactly – but the heart is the same and that is a beautiful thing. The show is also smart and at times is even breathtaking. At the end I didn’t leap to my feet (though I really thought about it), but it was nice to not see a Standard Ovation happen. Some people sat. Some people stood. And no one was thought of or looked at as less for what they chose to do.

And now its 1:00am, I’m in my bed, and it’s time to sleep so that I’m ready for more adventures tomorrow. Because why not?

Bonus Photo:

Across the street from Trafalgar Square is the Canadian Consulate where I caught sight of this protest this morning. The world is concerned about Canada’s use of the Tar Sands.

Lois’ Grand Adventure – Day 1 (Vancouver – Toronto – London)

Bill Dow & Andrew McNee in Play WIth Monsters. Photo by Itai Erdal

Within four minutes of the final lighting and sound cues going on Play with Monsters I was in a cab on my way to the airport. I think that might be a record. I was stressing out a bit in the cab, but by the time I arrived I was calm and glad for the time. The line up at security was long and I was listening to people all around me stressing about the long line and worrying about missing their flights, but I had a full half hour to wait at the gate before we boarded.

As I was buckling my seatbelt I couldn’t help but think of Andrew and Bill’s airplane mime and laugh.

I slept pretty much all the way to Toronto, waking only a couple of times when I was either too warm or too cool. When we landed in Toronto I made my way through the terminal to the international departures wing and only had to wait about half an hour before the flight to London started boarding.  I’m writing this from about 33,000 feet over Montreal – the furthest East I’ve ever been and still going.

Oh, hello Newfoundland! Nice to fly over you. One day soon we’ll meet for real.

Fast forward through watching The Muppets, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, 3 episodes of Community, and part of an episode of Sherlock. Also known as the first five hours of flight number two. We’re 894 miles from London (and why is this Canadian aircraft telling me distances in miles not kilometers? I don’t know) and should be arriving in less than two hours now. I’ve gone from sunrise to sun set in only six and a half hours. There should be some sort of warning about that: seeing both of those events in half the time they normally take boggles the mind a little.

I’m officially allowed in the country.

And now…I’m in London. In my room where I’ll be staying the next four nights. Kaari, Erin and I got pizza and watched bad reality tv while marking out a map of all the places I want to walk tomorrow. I already have blisters from walking through airports all day, but that’s what blister bandaids are for (I planned for this reality!).

Sorry there aren’t more pictures today, but photos of clouds out airplane windows all look the same, and like I said before it was dark by the time my plane landed. But tomorrow is a day full of adventuring to the primary tourist sights as well as some theatre: a backstage tour (or two) and a big ol’ musical.

Where in the World is Lois?

At the request of family & friends this blog is going to be a bit more travel focused for the next six weeks as I make my way around Europe as a tourist and to work on Viva Verdi. I leave in eight days and am getting very excited for the trip. I’ve never been to Europe before and I’ve never worked on opera before, so it might be a lot to handle, but I’m excited about it.

Here’s the itinerary for the trip & what I’m doing in each location. Check back for updates and photos as things go. I am taking Cue, my trusty stage manager duckie with me, and as I’m travelling alone chances are that Cue will be the focus of many of my photos!

Nov. 19 – 23: London, England

Seeing Matilda the Musical, Twelfth Night, NSFW, and The Effect; touring the National Theatre; popping over to Cardiff and checking out the Doctor Who Experience; and attempting to visit some museums & historic landmarks. I’ll be staying in the guest room of a friend from high school and hopefully visiting some friends too.

Nov. 23 – 25: Amsterdam, Netherlands

This portion of the trip is being taken with my friend from high school and another friend of hers. I know that we are planning on going to the Anne Frank House, but I’m not sure what else we are going to see on our brief visit.

Nov. 25 – Dec 17: Zurich, Switzerland

This is the work portion of my trip. I’m the assistant stage manager and back up show caller for Viva Verdi, an opera spectacular at the Hallendstadion which runs from Dec. 13-16. I’m also hoping to see some of the city. I have this strong desire to go to the zoo and see the daily penguin parade. And I’m also hoping to see a show at the Zurich Opernhaus.

Dec. 17-20: Gothenburg, Sweden

I was invited by the lovely Peter Kirkup to come stay with him in Sweden for a few days. So why not? I know we are planning on going to Liseberg. Beyond that, I’m not sure. He emailed me earlier this week to tell me he picked up a tourist guide for me.

Dec. 20-25: Paris, France

I’m staying right in the heart of Paris, where I can walk to the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame Cathedral in only 35 minutes. I have tickets to La Cenerentola at Opera de Paris, Don Quiote at the Paris Opera Ballet, and Pinter’s The Homecoming at the Odeon. I’m also booked for a christmas lights tour of the city on an open air double decker bus (don’t worry – they give you blankets and cocoa!). And Christmas eve I’m planning to go to mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.

I’m pretty excited about the trip. I’ve been daydreaming about various cities and things to do there on pinterest for months, so having a plan now is exciting. I don’t care if I make you all wildly jealous from my postings, I just want to document the trip.