This morning I was up bright and early to meet with my professors about my paper. We could meet them any time between 8 and 11, and since I’m going to Buckingham Palace this afternoon I decided to go as early as possible. I finished my meeting with them about 9:15, and headed to the Sir John Soane Museum in Holborn. The Soane Museum is without a doubt the oddest museum I’ve ever been to. It’s a house museum displaying the varied collections of Sir John Soane, an English architect. They have a small Hogarth collection, which is why I visited. You can’t talk in the house and you have to carry your purse around in a plastic bag. My bag is quite heavy to carry in one hand, especially in a plastic bag. I was worried the whole time that the bag would rip but it made it through the museum. I got to the all the Hogarths which was good. Hogarth painted and engraved his progresses, and the original Rake’s Progress paintings are at the Soane Museum. There’s also another plate series called Election on display. Overall, it was a good visit, but such an odd place.
I needed to run some errands in the Holborn area anyway, so it was good that I was over there. I got the bright idea to go to My Old Dutch for lunch, because there’s one right across the street from Holborn station. It seemed like a fitting last lunch. How strange that it’s my last lunch! I got my standard Apple and Cinnamon with whipped cream and as usual My Old Dutch did not disappoint! It was delicious. With a pot of Earl Grey tea, it was a lovely little lunch. Bonus points for MOD because while I enjoyed my pancake, I was serenaded by the entire Ed Sheeran
+ CD. AND I sat across from some Duke undergrads studying abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed eavesdropping on their conversation about their night out at Boujis, a really high end club. Hilariously entertaining.
After my brunch lunch, I rode my ever faithful and beloved 19 bus to Green Park and took a leisurely stroll through the park before meeting Jade and Taylor in front of Buckingham Palace. I’ve been dreaming of the day I would visit the home of the Queen for as long as I can remember. The state rooms are only open for 2 months in the summer and weren’t supposed to open until August 2. But for whatever reason they decided to move the opening date up by a week, and I jumped at the chance to get a ticket. We chose to do the “Royal Day Out” tour, which included the Queen’s Gallery, the Royal Mews, and the State Apartment. As you can imagine it lasted all afternoon. I was on cloud nine seeing all of this stuff.
The Queen’s Gallery is her own art collection on display for the public. They do a special exhibition each summer while the Palace is open, and surprise surprise, guess what the exhibit was on? You guessed it, Hogarth. I think I definitely chose a good research topic, don’t you? They had one of his business cards, which was really neat to see. I didn’t know people had business cards way back in the 1700s. Some of the Hogarths in the exhibit were purchased by Queen Victoria, which made me so happy! The other paintings and sculptures in the permanent gallery were stunning. I could definitely camp out there for a couple of days. The Royal Mews are where the Horse Guard horses are kept when not in service. It’s also where all the royal coaches are kept! We had a blast looking at all of those. We got to see the carriage Queen Elizabeth rode to her coronation and wedding in. At the end, we got to see some real horses! Their names were Mary Tudor, Daniel, and Stevenson. Mary Tudor and Stevenson were both born in 1991!
The last part of the Royal Day Out and the real highlight was the State Rooms of the palace. We toured all through, and each one was just as beautiful as the last. There were portraits of Queen Victoria everywhere, so I was thrilled about that. Lots of Prince Albert representation too! Just like in Kensington, it was so neat to walk through rooms that so many monarchs and royal family members have walked through, but especially my beloved Queen V, since she was the first monarch to live there. The exhibit this summer was called “Royal Childhood” and featured items from the childhoods of various royal family members, but mostly Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry. We saw artwork Prince Charles did as a young boy, Prince William and Harry’s personalized painted chairs, lots of great pictures of them growing up, and their toys. I think the highlight of the items we saw was Prince George’s christening gown. It was even more beautiful and intricate in person than I imagined. We also got to see the throne room, which was AWESOME. We couldn’t take pictures in the State Rooms, but I’ve snagged a few from the Internet for you.
After our Royal Day Out, we went to Fortnum and Mason to check out all the food and tea. We decided not to buy anything, but it was fun to look! I then headed to South Kensington to run a few last minute errands. I had some special treats to bring back with me…aka Ben’s Cookies. I couldn’t bear to part with them quite yet, so I got a tin to eat while I’m in a state of depression this next week. Taylor and I ate pasties for dinner in Jubilee Gardens, which is where we ate our first meal in London. Everything’s coming full circle! We walked along the South Bank back to the dorm and had a little while to relax before we met up with the rest of our class for one last hurrah. The other USC girls decided to stay behind to pack, but I headed out with the rest of the LIS people back to the South Bank. We walked to Gabriel’s Wharf and hung out there for a bit. It was low tide on the Thames, so we even walked down on the banks! My classmate Patrick took a rock for a souvenir. After that, we went to a local pub and had a few pints of Strongbow or beer before coming back to Stamford Street to finish our packing. I’ve made some really good friends on this trip, and it’s so sad to see them go!
I tried to enjoy this day as much as possible and use my time that I have left to the fullest. It’s been hard because I hate goodbyes, but I have kept the tears to a minimum. There will always be things left to do, because there’s too much to do in London, but that’s what next time is for. I leave the city at 3AM (10PM your time) to go to Heathrow, so the clock is ticking. Less than two hours!! I’m all packed and ready to go, and my suitcase doesn’t weigh over 50 pounds at this point so I’m good to go on that front. My carry on is pretty heavy with souvenirs and breakable mugs, but I’ll manage!
On a happier note, today is Mom and Dad’s 34th wedding anniversary, which is pretty amazing! I’m so proud to be their daughter! Happy Anniversary Doug and Susan! Love y’all and see you in a few hours!
XO Laura Douglas
“Good bye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be.” -Walt Disney