Today was a bit more relaxed, as we wanted some free time before our jam-packed day in Stratford tomorrow. We started the day by heading to Exhibition Road, where one can find the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum. We had two hours to explore, so we split up to visit whichever one (or two, or three) we were most interested in. I spent my time in the Natural History Museum, looking at dinosaur bones, other fossils, and an exhibit on volcanoes and earthquakes. I then went to the Science Museum, spending most of my time on an exhibit on food cravings, which was fascinating. I would periodically run into other members of the group, noting that Bradley looked happier than I have ever seen him in the Natural History Museum, checking out, as he said, “dead stuffed things.” After our museum visit, we bought sandwiches from everyone’s new favorite fast and healthy food restaurant, Pret a Manger, and headed to Regent’s Park for a picnic and play discussion. Once again, we were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day. We settled onto the grass, and began reading two scenes of Merchant of Venice aloud, identifying a few themes and some of the questions that the play raises. Other than being disrupted by some loud singers, it was a pleasant way to spend our hours in the park. We then had free time to explore. Some read in the sun, some walked through and photographed the park’s many gardens, some threw a disc around, and some watched squirrels eat coconuts.
After our time in the park, we headed to the busy, eclectic region of Soho, where we ate at a Mediterranean restaurant called Bistro One, and celebrated Galen’s 16th birthday. Shabby bought him a bowtie and suspenders, which he promptly put on. We returned to our hotel for journaling, and of course, several rounds of Mafia.
All of us are eagerly awaiting our day in Stratford-upon-Avon, which will be a fitting end to our week. We will have lunch at the house of my Bread Loaf professor, Miriam Gilbert, with whom we will discuss Merchant (a text she is an expert on), take a tour of the costume shop of the Royal Shakespeare Company, take a backstage tour of their theater, and then view the RSC performance of the play! Depending on time, we may also visit the Church of the Holy Trinity, where Shakespeare is buried, and I am sure we will also stop at a shop to purchase Bard-related souvenirs.
We are sad that tomorrow is our last day, but glad that Shabby has decided to join us for it!
Until the next post (which may not be until Saturday, as we won't get back until midnight tomorrow night!)