Thursday, November 11, 2010

Musical London, a Mamma Mia! evening

Fabulous! :o)

Seeing a Musical in London is one of "the things to do", if you're lucky enough to be able to get a ticket, 'cause most of the popular ones are sold out every weekend. Fortunately with a sister living in the area one has easy access to the right info (!) and so once train tickets were purchased a month and a half ago, tickets for the show were acquired just a couple of days later!

On previous visits I'd seen Chicago (leaves you feeling totally jazzed!) with a couple of friends, The Phantom of the Opera with my dad (10 years I'd been wanting to see that! Read the book as a teenager several times, knew most of the songs by heart...), and then Wicked when I came to visit my sister last summer (well, 2009), which as she kept saying was "wicked awesome!". :p

This time I finally got to see ABBA extravaganza Mamma Mia!

ABBA for me is my childhood. Some of my earliest musical memories are listening to their songs 'cause my parents were fans, and "Thank You For The Music" is one of my all-time favourite songs.

We started out with pretty good seats (for the price we paid) in the very back row, where we could see everything.

But since the room wasn't packed and one of the balconies was empty... we were able to switch to a balcony overlooking the stage during the intermission and got an even more intense experience!

I couldn't stop myself from singing along, and at the end everyone was on their feet clapping and singing and dancing. FUN! :o)

I've seen the movie lord knows how many times, and I'm still amazed at how the women behind this could bring together all these songs and weave them into a story! I'm not going to compare it to the movie, since they're two completely different animals. But I can say the singing is better! :p

Here's the trailer for the London show (the two leads I saw were blonds! so different cast?):

damn! I can't get the youtube video to embed for some reason so just go see it here.

Why London, why now?

Why London? That's easy! My sister lives just outside of the city so I get the double pleasure of hanging out with her, plus continuing my ongoing exploration of the British capital! :o)
So, how come I get to take a nice long weekend to come to London? 4 days off work just because???

Nope! In Belgium (and France) November 11th is a holiday! It's Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I in 1918. I was surprised it wasn't a holiday in England, considering World War I is still called "The Great War" and all that... but it turns out even though they don't take a day off, they still commemorate it as Remembrance Day, sometimes called "Poppy Day" 'cause everyone wears red poppies to honour those fallen in the line of duty (in various wars, not just WWI).

You can find people spread out across the city (all week my sister says!), exchanging these poppies for a few coins.

My grandfather served in WWII, but he died before I was born, so I've never talked to anyone who served in a war. I look forward to some future when they will no longer take place. I may be naïve, but I have hope in humanity that that day will come. In the mean time, here's to those who serve(d) and died fighting to defend their countries!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

London calling...

I'm off again! I love it when a holiday lands on a Thursday and the University grants us an extra long weekend... (I believe they're granting a recuperation day since May 1st was a Sunday this year) So 4-day weekend, here I come!!! :o)

logo by S.Walker
One can't be expected to stay home with 4 marvellous days ahead, can one? Not unless friends are visiting (like 10 days ago for All Saint's). Which means... I'm out of here!!! Here being Liège of course. And Belgium. I'm crossing the Channel!  Going under it actually (I love the Chunnel!). I'm going to spend 4 full days with my "little" sister who lives just outside of London. We'll head into town a couple of days and catch a few sights I haven't seen on my previous visits (I've lost track, I think I've been to London at least 6 times. Or is it 7?), catch a musical, a few movies and then visit a few other spots along the North Sea coast or in the countryside. Dunno yet, nothing planned except for Mamma Mia! Thursday night. But I have to make to St Paul's Cathedral this trip. It's the one big monument I haven't visited yet! In any case I'm just looking forward to spending time with my sis, everything else is a bonus.

I'm scheduling this post to be published right when I get on the Eurostar from Brussels to London. And I'm also "activating" a couple of posts I imported from I other blog. I wrote them after my last trip to London in summer 2009 when I did the "touristy" thing of going up the London Eye for the first time, got really frustrated because I wasn't allowed to take pictures in Westminster Abbey, and got to visit a Norman castle (with Roman ruins under it!) in Colchester. I'll see about writing while I'm there, if not I'll tell a few tales when I get back. I might also dip into my photographic treasure box and pull out a few older tales... ;o)

In the meantime the draft posts I haven't finished about visiting Roman cities in Germany (Trier) and Belgium (Tongeren) will have to wait. *sigh* Too much to write, too little time! :p