Summer Wrap Up

Wow, long time no see, friends!

The past month of my life has been incredibly busy! I’m in my last year of undergrad, beginning writing my thesis, and starting graduate school application preparation. It’s hard to believe that it’s already October and that the fall semester is almost halfway over. So it truly has been a wild time, hence the lacking posts on the color gold.

Anyway, now that it’s fall and I have been in school for a bit I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my summer, and I just wanted to update everyone. I was lucky enough to spend three weeks traveling the UK, and studied abroad in London for four weeks and I’m feeling pretty nostalgic, so let’s recap on some of the many ways that my summer abroad changed my life.

The London Mastaba 

One sunny and hot June day my friend and I were walking through the Hyde Park looking for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. Instead of finding the fountain we stumbled upon Christo’s newest realized barrel installation, The London Mastaba. We rented a paddle boat and paddled around the Serpentine––getting incredibly close to the Mastaba. Although the Mastaba is just made up of thousands and thousands of oil drums stacked on top of one another it is one of the most visually striking works of art I have seen. The Mastaba is so incredibly huge and dominates the skyline of the park. It’s something truly stunning and I’m incredibly lucky that I was able to see a realized Christo and Jeanne Claude.

It resonated with me so much that I decided to write my undergraduate thesis as a retrospective of Christo and Jeanne Claude’s barrel art. Physically seeing the Mastaba was honestly one of the most moving works of art that I’ve ever seen, and I’m so grateful to Kingston University for offering me a place in their summer school program so that I could be fully immersed in cultural London.

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#storytime about how @britney_hub and I got to see Christo’s mastaba and we’re also trapped on a paddle boat for over an hour ••••• Post afternoon tea Britney wanted to paddle around the #serpentine in Hyde Park. We sat sail towards the mastaba and were honestly having the time of our lives, until we decided to pedal against the wind. This is when we realized that we were given a faulty boat that didn’t have an effective steering mechanism. No matter how hard we pedaled or steered, the boat did it’s own thing and floated wherever it pleased. Since we had no control over the boat we bumped into so many other boaters, buoys, the edge of the lake, and even the mastaba once! We saw motorboats operated by Hyde Park workers rescuing paddle boaters who were tired and needed a ride back to the docks, and we desperately tried to get their attention for literally the longest time but they ignored us. Realizing that we were basically alone and likely going to have to live on the lake and become friends with the geese, I think that I started to have one of those moments where I was laugh-crying because of the sheer absurdity of the situation. However, somehow we figured out that we can steer the boat if we peddle it backwards and so we eventually made it back to the dock this way after far too many struggles. Have you ever been in a similar situation? • • • • • #story #visitlondon #visitengland #hydepark #passionpassport #explore #explorelondon #explorehydepark #exploreengland #travelgram #travelportrait #instatraveling #instatraveller #gramminginlondon #summerinlondon #travelerinlondon #thisislondon #discoverunder2k

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As an art history major, the importance of Greek and Roman art is noted at every turn. I took Greek and Roman Art History last semester, prior to visiting Bath, and I have been really inspired by Greek and Roman pottery styles lately. So inspired that when my friend showed me their Greek-inspired ceramic mug for sale, I snatched it right up. It’s so wonderful that artists can not only recognize important historic art movements but also incorporate them into their contemporary art.

Zero Waste

Late last spring semester I got a concussion while rollerblading. While I was recovering I was supposed to limit my screentime, so I queued up a bunch of YouTube videos and listened to them after my final exams were complete. One of the videos I listened to lead me down a rabbit hole of discovering the zero waste movement. While I still have so much to learn about the movement, I’ve been making process towards reducing my waste and becoming more eco-friendly.

Postcards From // London (first 24 hours)

This is my third visit to London, and this time around I’ll be staying in the city for over five weeks for my study abroad program at Kingston University. Typically, in my Postcards From series I write one blog post per city/region that I visit. However, since I’ll be staying in London for such an extended period of time I thought that I’d break my time in the city down into several smaller posts, with this being the first! In this post I’m going to break down my first twenty four hours here in the capital of the UK.

Us standing in front of a house in Notting Hill

One of my friends from college, Britney, flew into London to spend the week here with me before my course starts. We met at Paddington Station, and took the underground to our AirBnB in Kensington. We’re staying at a really great AirBnB with host Sadan. We have our own room with an ensuite bathroom, and access to her backyard, which is basically a carefully cared for garden with palms and ivy. Plus, Sadan is a lovely human who chatted with my friend and myself for a while about our interests in London and gave us suggestions based around what we wanted to see (bigger bonus: Sadan works in the field that Britney majored in so that’s exciting).

Read about my last AirBnB experience in York.

8PM: Dunbar’s + Bubbleology

Our first stop was a late dinner at Dunbar’s, an Indian restaurant near Notting Hill. The restaurant itself was sort of small, i.e. our kind waiter had to physically move our table out of the way so that I could squeeze behind it and sit, and then put the table back in place so that we could eat. Although it was small, the food was so good at Dunbar’s. I’m by no means an expert on Indian cuisine, but the lemon rice and roasted cauliflower I had was obscenely tasty. The rice had little flakes of lemon zest and lots of mustard seeds, and the cauliflower had a hint of spice that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Britney loves boba and one of her only requests was that we get boba while in London. She picked the Bubbleology in Notting Hill. Danie drinking a boba tea

9PM: Photo Session in Notting Hill

Our walk back from getting dinner and boba turned into a mini impromptu photoshoot with some of the painted houses on Portobello Road. Most of the houses are painted in varying shades of pastel colors with a vibrant door out front. However, my favorite was the house painted in a deep purple and had a door the color of a pumpkin. Danie standing in front of a purple home in Notting Hill

10AM: Farm Girl + Portobello Road

Britney and I both love experimenting with local farm to table and health food restaurants, so we decided to have breakfast on our first day in London at Farm Girl. Farm Girl takes a holistic and healthy approach to cafe culture, and serves a wide variety of dishes that fit within that framework. I got a turmeric latte with coconut milk, a salad with avocado dressing, and a vegan brownie. If you ever find yourself at Farm Girl, GET THE BROWNIE. It was so creamy, and chocolatey, but not too dense or rich. My non-veg friend even said that it was delicious, and couldn’t tell that it was made without dairy. Salad bowl from Farm Girl

12PM: Kings Cross

I’ve already established how much of a Harry Potter fan I am in my post from Edinburgh, so it’s no surprise that one of our first stops in London was visiting the Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station. Platform 9 3/4 is a replica from the first film of the Harry Potter franchise when Harry runs through the magical wall between platform nine and ten to reach the hidden platform with the train that will take him to Hogwarts. There is a cart with luggage that sticks out of the wall where tourists are able to photograph themselves pretending to push their items through the wall. There is a pro photographer on hand who takes your photos, which can be bought at the attached store. As always there was a huge line at the actual picture taking point and in the store itself. However, we waited in line, browsed the gift shop, and made our purchases in all under an hour.

Platform 9 3/4

6PM: Vapiano

Britney studied abroad in Florence last summer, so her love for Italian cuisine runs deep, which is why we found ourself dining in a Vapiano that we passed on the street. I first went to Vapiano in Edinburgh, and loved the style of the restaurant—-and the food of course. How it works: there are various counters situated around the dining area where you can order traditional Italian cuisine (aka pizza, risotto, salad, and pasta), after your order is placed you simply swipe your cafeteria card that was given to you by the hostess when you walked in (the card stores the items that you ordered for an easy check out), then you dine on your tasty food (we got bruschetta, arribiatta, and bolengese), finally you present your cafeteria card to the hostess on your way out and pay.

If I lived in London (or anywhere that has a Vapiano) it would be one of my favorite stops! It’s so quick, tasty, and authentic!

8PM: Millennium Bridge + St. Paul’s

As a die hard Harry Potter fan, Britney wanted to visit Millennium Bridge as the site of one of the intro scenes from the Deathly Hallows movie. I, on the other hand, wanted to stand on the bridge and see the best views of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The dome of the cathedral peeks out from behind the surrounding buildings, making the perfect vantage point on Millennium Bridge. We were on the bridge as the sun was beginning to go down, so the cathedral, the Thames, and the Bridge itself were all engulfed in a gorgeous hazy golden shadow.Saint Paul’s Cathedral with telephone booth

Have you ever been to London? What was your favorite thing that you did in the city?

Danie standing inside red phone booth