Saturday, November 8, 2014

London is For Everyone (Theatre Walk)

They say London is the melting pot of the world, and with good reason.

After walking through the theatre district I saw just about every type of person possible. That is what makes London so unique; it does not matter who you are, where you came from, what you believe, or what you are doing, or how you got there. You can find your place. You can do what you want. You will fit in. Except, in a bizarre sense, there is no way to 'fit in' because there is not stereotype or mold to fill. You simply are yourself and do what you do and everyone else does the same. London is a city for anyone and everyone and walking down the bank of the Thames, through the Strand, Covent Garden, Leicester Square (theatre district), and through Trafalgar up past Piccadilly truly opened my eyes to that. It also made me realize how close together everything in London is and how connect not only the people but the places in the city are.

Way back in Medieval times, this area was owned mostly by the church as an extension of Westminster; Bishops lived in homes along the Thames and it was largely pasture area. As time went on and King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, Soho and Leicester Square developed after. Leicester Square gained a reputation for scandalous entertainment, Covent Garden was started by Inigo Jones, and theatre as a whole gained more respectability. As time kept passing Leicester Square turned into a gathering place of all artists, many more theatre's emerged, Trafalgar Square was built in honor of Lord Nelson, and the Chinese moved into to Soho area to create Chinatown.

Today it does not take long to walk from the London Eye through the Theatre district, Covent Garden, into Chinatown, and then find yourself in Trafalgar Square standing between Big Ben and the National Gallery. London is not as large it feels at times and while walking it is so fun to see the city and people of it come to life with all their vibrant and completely different personalities.

 

 Along the Bank we were almost mobbed by loads of people and protesters lining the whole Thames. They were forming a parade and fighting for what they believed were their rights. Teachers to Nurses to Political figures were all their supporting their cause. While mildly terrifying to walk into unknowingly, it was cool to see people so worked up about what they believe in and willing to take a stand for change. It seemed almost an American idea more than typical British, but as discussed above there is no real typical British anymore.


Along the Thames we also stumbled across part of Egypt! This sphinx is right next to Cleopatra's needle; recovered from the sands of Alexandria in the 1800's and sent as a gift to Britain from Mohammed Ali.


Turn around and you find yourself in the Victoria Embankment Gardens. Full of statures and greenery, it is a lovely place to walk through or eat you lunch. The statue featured above is of Robert Raikes, founder of Sunday School in England whom we obviously owe a lot to. 


You see that man blowing leaves in the back? Three cheers to the people of London. They really keep the streets and parks clean. And I really appreciate it. 

After some more walking I found myself in Covent Garden. I love love Covent Garden. The people are so different and always up to something there. 

Please take note of the guy HOLDING HIS CELLO WHILE PLAYING. Do you realize how much talent that takes?? The people of London amaze me. 
Waiting for a magic trick..
I do no even know what to say about these elderly other than more power to them. 
From public performances, magic shows, and who-knows-what, there are many different people found in Coven Garden today that all help to make London what it is (even if what it is is weird). 

Another place to find the odd but loved people of London is Trafalgar Square. You never quite know what you will spot when you stop by.. 
The force is strong in London
Mickey taking his vacation to the National Gallery
This guy clearly has Great Britain pride. Better not tell him I'm American, eh? 


China Town is always a pleasure to wander through. Some see the mix of people as losing part of their culture; I don't agree. I see it as enhancing and creating a new culture. It allows people to take the best part of their past and identity to combine it with others best parts to make something entirely new and universal and brilliant. 

London represents the best blend of people for more. Young or old, new to here or been here since the dark ages, black or white or somewhere in between, male or female... It doesn't matter. You have something you can add to London and that is a wonderful thought. 

 

This little boy playing in the fountain was my favorite sight. Full of life and love for everything it has to offer. No wonder we are supposed to become like children. 


Love Always, Aimee 

Outside St. Paul's (not the massive one by Christopher Wren) in Covent Garden. Lovely place to read and eat and rethink life.