Tourism and Back Alley Stuff

Hello again!

So today we ended up with a relatively late start. It’s been nice to have the freedom to go about on our own but I think it’s also made us all move a bit slower too.

A group of us decided to go to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.

The crowd there was intense and not exactly my favorite thing in the world. We got pretty close to the fence but were still too far away to see anything clearly. In all honesty, unless you’re going to get there early (and by early I mean¬†early¬†because we got there by 10:30 and it was already packed… for those who don’t know, the ceremony starts at 11) I don’t really recommend this as something to do during your trip to London.

I mean it is kind of cool to be able to say “I saw the changing of the guards” but I have to admit I didn’t really see the ceremony much at all. I had to watch most of it through the phone screens of other people. I didn’t take many pictures at all because I just wanted to enjoy the moment and I figure everyone else at the ceremony has pictures enough for the entire world.

After the changing of the guard, DyAnna and I went off to explore on our own. We decided to go to the Benjamin Franklin house which was quite cool!

Here’s a little bit about the house from the brochure we got:
“The Historical Experience uses the historic spaces where so much took place as a stage- blending live performance, leading edge sound, lighting, and visual projection- to tell the rich story of Franklin in London in his own words.”

It was a really interesting experience and since we are students we got to see it all for the discounted price of six pounds. I would highly recommend this.

After that we stumbled upon the Victoria Embankment Gardens.

They had a koi pond and ping pong tables here!

Then we finished up the day at the British Museum.

I think from my experiences today I would have to say that I would highly recommend finding more back alley experiences (like the Benjamin Franklin House). The touristy stuff is cool too, don’t get me wrong, but I think that experiencing unique things adds to trip more than crowds do. It’s fun to get out of the way and see things that no one else will.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Sincerely,
Meagan

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Traveling Is For Extroverts

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Hi everyone, my name is Meagan and I just finished up my sophomore year as a communications student at CSS.

When I signed up for this trip to London I was all gung ho and ready to go but my enthusiasm quickly turned to gut wrenching anxiety as the weeks went by leading up to the trip. This would be my first time out of the country and my first time flying by myself. I felt completely unprepared and honestly still feel that way.

I’m originally from Woodbury, Minnesota which is a suburb of St. Paul and since I was flying out of Minneapolis I got to go home and spend a few days with my very sick siblings before leaving (to all my travelmates, they were no longer contagious by the time I got home so I hope and pray I didn’t bring any germs with me).

So on to the real nitty gritty stuff that you all want to hear about… Anxiety!

Actually I’m sure no one wants to hear about people talking about anxiety but it’s something that needs to be talked about, especially because traveling causes a LOT of anxiety.

So I’m pretty good at coping with anxiety, mostly by just pushing it aside which isn’t that great but it’s whatever. Anyways, I woke up in a panic on the 14 convinced that I had gone to London without packing any underwear. It took me ten minutes to calm myself down and reassure myself that I had indeed packed underwear and that it had in fact been the first thing that I packed.

Then I went about my normal day and ran some errands with my sister and celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom. By the time early afternoon rolled around I had nothing to distract me any further and was officially in panic mode.

This leads me to what this post is all about. Traveling is not for introverts and traveling is not for people with anxiety. Asking questions, talking to people, figuring out directions, etc. It’s not easy for me to ask questions or include myself in things or “force” myself to be extroverted. I mean I can to an extent but that’s a whole other thing.

All in all I think that the world needs to be kinder to travelers, more directions would be lovely and I would really appreciate the security people to be less intimidating too (but I understand why they are).

So from a very anxious introvert, hello from London. I hope I can encourage some other people who are terrified of traveling to actually travel. I think it’ll be worth it.

Sincerely,

Meagan

Day at the Museum

Recently went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with some lovely friends of mine. We were going to see the Martin Luther exhibit that is there but then ended up finding out we we probably should’ve done advanced research and decided to wander around the rest of the museum instead.

It had been years since the last time I had been at the museum and I remember some of the jade sculptures that were there as well as the giant glass chandelier in the lobby. That chandelier is absolutely stunning and I remember being so awed by it as a kid when I’d go to the children’s theater that is right next to the art museum.

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I love that they had this projected on the ceiling at one point. Looking up at it was kind of scary but I think it looks so cool!

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Mirror selfie in a 17th century mirror.

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We spent hours wandering around and looking at all the art pieces. Every corner we turned there was more to discover and learn about. I loved seeing the ancient work and comparing it to modern work. It’s interesting how much of art has gone from being practical and functional (pottery, etc) to just being creative outputs that don’t necessarily have to have a purpose other than to express something. To see the individual styes of artists is always inspiring and makes me want to create more and experiment more.

So now that I’ve shared some of my pictures from my time at the museum, I’d like to share with you all some of my favorite pieces that I saw while I was there. I’m also going to add links to more information about the individual artists if you’re interested in their piece.

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View of Dresden, Ernst Ludwig Kerchner

I love the colors in this piece. I definitely am drawn to pieces with cool color schemes. Or warm color schemes, or neutral color schemes. Basically I love anything that is not a rainbow. But I also love rainbows.

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Tempest in Yellow, Dorothea Tanning

See what I mean about the rainbows? I love the colors in this! I really liked her work and I think I might actually look into more of it soon!

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Maja by Antonio Saura

This piece has so much emotion in it. I was immediately drawn to this when I saw it in the room.

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Springtime of Life, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

This reminds me of a photography in a way with how in focus the girl is and how out of focus the background is. It’s stunning in the simplicity of it.

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My Alone Time, Claude Monet

Again with the colors. I love the colors that Monet uses. His paintings are some of my favorites of all time.

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The Duluth Living Room, Anthony Marchetti

These pictures were my favorite things in the entire museum. The artist took historical rooms and merged them onto the outside of buildings or other scenes that related.

There were a lot of other pieces that I liked and they even had Chinese cricket cages that reminded me of the movie Mulan and I loved them. I’m looking forward to being able to explore other museums this year.

Well, I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Happy Monday!!

Sincerely,

Meagan

Throwback Thursday: Great River Bluffs State Park

Last summer my boyfriend and I had a lovely adventure to Great River Bluffs State Park.

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The trails were pretty easy, and a lot of it was shaded which was nice. The weather was gorgeous and the views were absolutely stunning.

One helpful tip! Check yourself for spiders before you leave the park! Because there may be a chance that you will have one crawling all over you and then your boyfriend will have to smash it with an almost full cup of coffee while you’re driving so that you don’t panic and drive off the road. (WHAT A FUN TIME).

Great River Bluffs is a beautiful park, small yet totally worth the trip!

Hope y’all enjoyed the pictures.

Sincerely,

Meagan

Adventure Duluth: Jekyll and Hyde at The Underground

This is quite a long overdue post, but hey! At least I’m making it.

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So my boyfriend and I attended Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde about a month ago and I really enjoyed it! I love going to plays, honestly anything that has to do with theatre. I used to want to be an actress, way back in elementary school, and made it a point to always get cast in the lead roles (and also to memorize the entire plays just because I was that much of an overachiever). I was such a little drama queen. If I can find the old pictures I’ll make a future post about my dance and theatre days!

Anyways, back to the play. It was a small cast with a simple set but it packed a big punch. It was such a creepy play. I’ve read the book before and this play really brought it to life. They had put on a fog machine before the play started which I felt was unnecessary. By the time the play started, both my boyfriend and I had trouble breathing because the air was so thick and by the time intermission roled around, all the haziness was completely gone. I kind of wish that I would’ve not procrastinated so that I could’ve recommended the play while it was still showing, but oh well, lesson learned.

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So a helpful hint for those that have not gone to a play at the Duluth Underground before… This is a picture of the entrance! Follow the yellow line and the theater is at the bottom of the stairs and to the right of the train museum! I spent far too long looking for it and it was not an enjoyable time. This small theatre is definitely a place to check out if you’re into this kind of thing!

I’m attaching a link to the Duluth Playhouse website here, in case any of you would like to look into upcoming plays and events.

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I loved the simplicity of the set. The main focus was the door which I thought was really unique. I also thought it was really interesting how the actors that weren’t in the scene would sit, frozen in the background. It added to the eeriness factor of the entire play.

Since it was such close quarters it was interesting to be so close to the actors. Being able to see facial expressions so clearly and really see the action was great.

Overall this was a great experience and I can’t wait to go to another play soon.

Here’s a review from my boyfriend as well:

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was a riveting performance that surmised the struggle with our inner self and explored the battle between the conscious and unconscious mind. I enjoyed seeing the colorful acting styles and emotions that spread across the stage during this hour or so performance and highly recommend any lover of the arts to explore this epic story.

(Not gonna lie, I wish my review was this well written).

As I seem to always try to end off my posts with a question now, what is your favorite play that you have ever seen? I think the one that sticks out for me is one that I saw years ago, I want to say I was around eight or nine, and my mom took me and my sister to see a play version of some of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories. She was and still is one of my all time favorite authors and my sister and I used to pretend to be Mary and Laura so often that this experience was really special to me. It was also one of the first times that I ever got to see a real play and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Well, hope your Tuesday is a great one.

Sincerely,

Meagan

P.S. Also have I ever mentioned how much I just like to watch out for mistakes that people make? For example like when stage makeup isn’t properly blended? Haha, so much fun. Okay, now I’ll leave you. Enjoy your day.

Adventure Duluth: Glensheen Mansion

Glensheen Mansion is a 39-room mansion built between 1905 and 1908 by Chester and Clara Congdon. I got to tour it last December and here are some of the pictures that I took during my time there. It’s a gorgeous estate and I highly recommend touring it during the holiday season because the decorations are beautiful.

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These are the pictures that I took outside the house. The grounds are stunning and the view of Lake Superior is awesome! It was freezing the day I went, barely making it to double digits, but I still loved checking out the 7-acres that Glensheen is built on. I kind of want to tour it every season just to retake these pictures in the different settings.

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The first room we went in was the library, if I’m remembering correctly I think they said that the Congdon’s owned over 1,000 books. They were living my dream! I would love having a library that big!

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The living room was so pretty! I didn’t get a picture of the tree by itself but you can sort of see it in the reflection in the mirror in the second picture.

I’ll warn you all now that I took so many pictures of the fireplaces, they were all just so pretty!

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Took these pictures in the basement. Of course, I had to document the books, and then I took a picture of the taxidermied owl for my sister because she loves owls.

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Here are the rest of my fireplace pictures. I couldn’t remember which bedroom or room they went to so I decided I’d just throw them all in there at once. The tile on the first one is amazing, and the last one was probably my favorite decoration-wise.

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Here’s a close-up shot of one of the trees in one of the daughter’s bedrooms.

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I love the way the lighting is in this picture. It’s one of the daughter’s bedrooms.

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These last pictures are from my favorite room in the house. It was so green and the windows were gorgeous. It had such a different feel from the rest of the mansion that I was drawn to it. The second picture is a close-up of the detail in the windows. So cool!

So that was my adventure to Glensheen, hope you all enjoyed my post.

Have a great day everyone!

Sincerely,

Meagan

Winter

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“I know what I should write a post about… A tribute to winter. I mean it is March now, it’ll be spring soon,” I think as I write this post as it’s snowing outside.

Sigh… I can hope at least.

As much as I love winter it gets to a point where I just long for warm, sunny days and I dread having to go outside in order to get to class. At this point I have to force myself out of bed in the morning because all I want to do is snuggle down and hibernate until the snow melts and we hit 50 degrees on a daily basis.

On the plus side, it’s supposed to be in the mid- to upper- 40’s every day of the week that this post gets published so I’m looking forward to that!

I hope you all enjoyed a look into some of my favorite winter pictures, and have a great rest of your days.

Sincerely,

Meagan