Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Go West (End)!

Tuesday I was up early with a plan. I took the usual bus towards the city, got off at Bermondsey Underground and took a train to Canary Wharf, from where I took the Dockland Light Rail to Greenwich - home to the Cutty Sark, the world’s fastest clipper!

The Cutty Sark worked for around 50 years in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and since the 1960s it’s been in dry dock, with a supporting structure around it to take the weight of the ship. I quickly made my way up through the lower holds to the main deck, where I sought out the ‘Ben’ that I’d been advised could answer all my questions. He did, and we proceeded to shoot the breeze for maybe an hour or two about everything nautical. After he headed off for his lunch break, I watched the professional riggers at work on the main deck and inspected the superstructure underneath, before dashing home to change clothes.

On Sunday, I had discovered the discount theatre box office at Leicester Square, and promptly decided to spoil myself with tickets to a West End show. I was so delighted with the concept that on Monday I decided to extend my stay in London by a night and buy tickets to a second show. Tuesday night was Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games at the Dominion Theatre. I popped out of the Underground at Tottenham Court Road all dressed up and excited. The show was good, though not what I was expecting – instead of simply being a showcase of Irish dancing, they tried to incorporate a storyline as well as singing and other musical elements – but when the chorus got up to dance, my goodness, did they dance!

Today was a quiet day – despite making sure I was out of bed at a reasonable hour, eating breakfast, packing my bags and being downstairs before checkout time, I didn’t leave the hostel for a couple of hours, sitting online trying to plan my adventures. Eventually I heaved my pack on my back and relocated to the hostel where I’d spent my first night in London, which was closer to the West End than my second hostel, which was booked out by this point anyway.

By the time I made it to the hostel it was only half an hour to check-in, so in the end I hung around, got settled in and did some more trip research. At 4.30 I headed out for a rendezvous – my good friend Robin from Enterprize has just moved to London for work, and we’d arranged to meet outside his new workplace on the Strand at 5 o’clock. We wandered up to a traditional English pub in Covent Garden, where we had dinner and a couple of drinks, before making our way to Victoria Underground station, from where Robin headed home and I headed up to the Apollo Victoria Theatre for musical no. 2 – Wicked!

The show was spectacular – the storyline itself is wonderful, but the actors really brought out the comedic element that was written into it and their voices truly made the songs take flight. A good theatre performance is uplifting and inspiring, and this one was. I collapsed into bed a happy girl tonight!

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