Today friends, was a nearly perfect day. Considerably better rested and with a firmer grasp on how best to behave whilst on the Tube, my father and i set out this morning to commence day two of our London adventures!
After a brief breakfast of pain au chocolat and espresso’d coffee (not precisely British, to be true) we boarded the Tube and headed over to Earl’s Court for the event that, if i’m honest, i had been anticipating perhaps the most: The Doctor Who Experience. You may recall that i’m a bit of a Whovian, and that such a statement is perhaps one of the largest understatements of the year. I don’t love The Doctor quite as much as i love Harry Potter, but i do think the TV show is the best thing broadcast on the telly.
the doctor accidentally parked the tardis on the roof!
To compound the excitement, my friend Sarah was taking the train down from Bristol to meet us. Sarah and i are friends – and go ahead and laugh, we know it’s a bit strange – from YouTube. Six months ago both she and i were invited to be a part of the new collaborative channel, allmadeofawesome. Since then she’s made a video every Thursday and i every Monday, talking about everything from women role models to (how shocking!) our abundant love for Doctor Who. In fact, it was because of Sarah’s love for Who (as well the adoration outpoured from some of the other women on the channel) that i started watching the series. And promptly got hooked. As i am presently in London (a phrase that has yet to grow old in my forty-eight hours of use), and arrived determined to go the the Doctor Who Experience, it seemed a perfect opportunity to invite Sarah along for some in-person adventuring through all of Time and Space.
Despite my father and i mistaking Earl’s Court for Olympia (insert Londoner snort of disapproval here) we managed to make it to the Experience in one piece. Sarah, unfortunately, was a bit late because of delayed trains, but when she arrived it was a glorious meeting. My dad and i had been waiting awhile in the lounge for her, but literally minutes before she arrived we had decided to enter the exhibit. I left a note at the desk with a description of what she looked like, and hadn’t even taken two pictures of a frightening Dalek before a security guard came to tell me she’d arrived. We hugged and were assured of our mutual thrill at being in the presence of actual prop pieces used in our beloved show.
a wee bit excited...
IN THE VORTEX!
captued by homo reptilia, nbd.
dad's a little less concerned about being a prisoner of an alien race.
david tennant wore this!
sarah and i on the set of an upcoming episode (or just a silly picture, take your pick)
waiting in the pandorica box for sarah's bit!
creepy as hell, the silence are.
he took this all by himself!
And, because i’m sure at least one of the twelve people reading this is thinking this: yes, Sarah and i are legitimate friends. Just because we met online doesn’t debilitate this connection – conversation in person was easy and fun and akin to any of my other chats with good friends of six months. If you’re smart about meeting people online (i.e. meeting them via videos where everyone’s clothes stay on and you talk about real things) you’d be amazed at what can be accomplished. The power of the internet. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your life’s work. Without it, i’d never have met brilliant and wonderful Sarah!
But back to timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly stuff!
The Experience itself is brilliant. You literally go through a thirty-minute adventure narrated by video projections of Matt Smith. I got to fly the TARDIS (literally! pushing knobs and buttons!) and be terrified of a room FULL of Weeping Angels (i didn’t let myself blink once, just in case) whilst surrounded by incredible sets built by people who actually work for the BBC. It was the absolute best museum exhibit i’ve ever been to.
After the “experience” part concluded, Sarah and i spent two hours running around the rest of the exhibition while my father (not exactly a Who fan) was a real sport and took ample photographs. There was the literal TARDIS interior from Tennant and Eccleston’s Doctors, costumes of all the companions, models for all the monsters, and endless artifacts and recreations!
tenth doctor's tardis!
sarah and i...in the tardis!
with the face of beau!
oggling david tennant like it's our job.
In the tenth doctor’s TARDIS an enormous screen played, on a loop, the regeneration of David Tennant into Matt Smith. For any non-Who fans still reading, know this: this scene is one of the most gut-wrenchingly sad ones in all of Who history. Up there with Snape and Lily. To watch it, on a big screen, in the very space where it was filmed, was magical.
After we had satiated our need for oggling over Oods and raving for Rory, we bid adieu to the fantastic exhibition and continued the day of geekish glory by heading over to… King’s Cross Station.
In the interest of continuing to be honest: this was the number-one reason i wanted, and have always wanted, to come to London. To try my wizard-ness out on the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10, to be in the place where Harry left his mundane muggle existence behind and embarked on the journey to magical wonderment. No apologies for my un-cool-ish-ness here.
And though the moment was brief, i had it. I got to run up to the cart and laugh at my ridiculousness as i tried to break through to the other side.
i finally made it!
Sarah, who had not yet taken her picture at Platform 9 and 3/4, also snapped a shot. It was marvelous to share in our nerdyness together for both Who and Potter. For, as much as i adore my father (and as wonderful as he was today, obligingly snapping photograph after photograph) he’s the first to admit he’s not particularly keen on either world of fantastical fictional creations. To be with Sarah, who loves both worlds as much as i, was such a treasure!
Alas, it was very shortly after we took our Hogwarts-bound photographs that Sarah had to catch her ride back to Bristol. We bid an all-too-soon adieu, and my father and i snagged some lunch at King’s Cross.
After our goodbyes to Sarah, with stomachs full of sandwiches we headed over to Trafalgar Square to chase pigeons and climb Lion statues. Both endeavors were quasi-successful; as you’re no longer allowed to feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, there aren’t many left to chase. And the lions? The lions are so difficult to clamber onto!
slightly terrified that i'd fall off the monument.
Thus, I got a picture next to a lion, which will have to be satisfactory enough for now.
Unfortunately, my camera battery died promptly after this photograph was taken – a true shame, as we next visited the National Gallery. I basked in the yellowness of Van Gogh’s sunflowers, pointed out the amorphic skull in Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors, and marveled over Da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks. And even though my last art history class was two years ago, i impressed myself with the amount of knowledge i’d retained (a tribute to my fantastic teacher, less so my ability to memorize thousands of works of art). It was marvelous to run around the vast museum, knowing little treasures that the massive walls and endless rooms held for us.
After our museum endeavor, we perused a few more kistchy shops along the avenues. Having traveled in New York fairly extensively, i’m rather used to these tourist traps (and kind of sit in judgement of them and their contents). But we were on the hunt for some t-shirts for the brother mcmizzies, so we ducked into a few enterprises, much to my speculation. How wrong can a lady be, coming across such true gems like boxers with the Underground map splayed across them, juxtaposed to endless postcards with Prince William’s face plastered on them. The true beauty, however, was right by the register: a rotating plastic stand of 40 pence condoms under wrappers with genius slogans, such as: “Wanna See BIG BEN?” and “Size DOES Matter” and “Good Girls Go to Heaven – Bad Girls Go to London.”
Anyways, after clearing out of the forty-pence-a-condom joint, we headed back to the hostel for a nap (Dad) and draft one of this very blog post (me). Around eight, we journeyed down the block to The George, a pub mentioned in Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit and frequented by William Shakespeare, in his day. The food was superb, the service good, and the conversation splendid. A marvelous ending to a marvelous day.
current jam: ‘wonderwall’ oasis (not by choice, but because it’s what the band is playing in the pub downstairs).
best thing in my life right now: i flew the TARDIS today, did i mention that?