London & Extraschicht

For the last couple of days I thought that I should only allow myself to watch some DVD later in the evening, after doing all the stuff I had or wanted to do on that day. Which always lead to me doing all sorts of (un-)important stuff and watching too much football on TV (in the background at least) before I put in a DVD way too late. So today I had a different schedule. I watched the last Lynley mysteries from series 2 first and now do all the other stuff like finally put up a new post here. Actually I even wanted to continue working on my Vacation 2006 – 2008 photo books, but I’m afraid it will be too late, when I’ve done with this post :-)

I think I watched the whole series (4×90 minutes) within a week or so. Geez, I’m seriously addicted. But it’s so much fun. A gay suspect about Lynley: “He’s so cool. I bet he’s straight, isn’t he? What a waste…” I just sat there and grinned and thought: No, not a waste at all :-)

I’m determined to not buy series 3 right away though, but instead finally give Doctor Who a try and catch up with the tons of Chicago Hope episodes I just got. Or finally watch some of the unseen DVDs on my DVD rack.

I spend about 90 minutes studying this morning, which was more than I managed to in the last few days. But I had so many other things going on and having to think about, so serious studying was out of question anyway. I’ve still got a couple of important errands and / or late work meetings this week, but after that I should really get back into some study routine easily. “Should” being the operative word :-) I spend these 90 minutes outside on my patio, which was really nice until it got really dark and I expected the thunderstorm which was announced on the forecast. And it started to rain a bit, but not really. I stayed inside though, glued to my computer with planning my London trip in more detail.

Three days is not enough time to get a glimpse of London. Not enough time at all. I feel like I plan way too much sightseeing and visits every day all the while I know that I’m merely doing parts of the basic “Must-See”s in London. Parts of it. I’m not even there and already feel sort of overwhelmed :-) I ordered the London Pass online today and to get a return of that investment I have to cover quite a few attractions within the 48 hours. Maybe it was a bad idea to get the London Pass, but on the other hand I will get free entrance at a lot of attractions + free travel + some more special offers. The downside is, that some of the things I’d like to see are not included and that the opening hours of some attractions clash and so everything has to be planned in detail in advance. At least I try to plan it, so that I get the most of it. And still have enough time to just be there and stroll around, maybe do some shopping (DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, books), go to the movies and just enjoy this city.
My first afternoon will start quite stressful, because I already want to pick up my London Pass, so that I can use the travel card on Saturday morning. My plane arrives at 11.20 am at Terminal 5 (yes THE terminal) and I have booked a ticket for “Shakespeare’s Midsummernight’s Dream” open air at Regents Park at 2.30 pm. Thanks again to kerrsmith2306 for the information about Shakespeare in the Park. The London Pass office at the Visitor centre already closes at 4.30 pm, so I won’t be able to go there after the theatre. Which means I have to get off the tube at Piccadilly Circus to collect my London Pass, go on to my hotel at King’s Cross, drop off my bags, and leave for Regent’s Park immediately. Finding out about opening hours and timetables and single fares on the tube (in case I’d want to pick up the Pass on Saturday morning) already took me about half an hour :-) It’s going to be stressful, but I did want a exiciting non-relaxing vacation, so I can’t complain…
I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon / early evening just walking around, Marylebone, Oxford Street, Leicter Square, Westminster, all the way to the London Eye, where I’ll have to be around 8 pm to pick up my ticket for the flight on 8.30 pm. After that I’ll probably just grab some dinner, head to my hotel and fall asleep immediately :-)
So far my “Must-See”s on Saturday / Sunday include: Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Trafalger Square, Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms (yes, one of my quirks is historical stuff from the WWII age), Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Tower Bride, Shakespeare Globe Theatre and some more “minor” stuff, although I don’t think there is some thing minor in London :-) I’m not even crazy enough to try and plan a visit to one of the big museum or a gallery or some of the royal stuff. I’ll probably spend some time at the British Library on Monday Morning, because it’s close to my hotel and I already have to leave around noon to go all the way out to Stanstead.

All in all: Not enough time. Not at all :-) But I’ll make the best of it and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun either way. And I’ll definitely try to catch a movie at Leicester Square on Saturday or Sunday.

And I didn’t even watch football or Lynley or anything else last night, but went to the “Extraschicht” with Bro2. Extraschicht is a THE cultural event in the Ruhr metropolitian area, where I live. In the last 10 -20 years a lot of former industrial locations have been transformed to either museums or cultural locations for music and theatre or just transformed into something else new. And once a year in late June there is this festival with lots of cultural events in these locations, with music and theatre and illumination and every kind or art plus open entrance to all the museums. There are shuttle busses between the locations and the event takes place in the whole metropolitan area, so it’s huge!
I’ve been there for the first time last year and made mistake to plan to visit two locations which were on opposite sides of the area, so I spend too much time on the train and busses. This year Bro2 and I were smart enough to limit our visits to one city and drive there ourselves, park there and then use the shuttles. We even only visited three locations there, but it was more than enough and definitely worth it.

My ticket wristband and me as the co-driver… :-)

Extraschicht Armband auf dem Weg nach Bochum

Our first stop was the Zeche Hannover (one of the many former coal mines)

Zeche Hannover

Zeche Hannover 2

Zeche Hannover Wagen

After that we parked our car at the main Extraschicht location in Bochum and took the shuttle to the main station. We checked out Fiege Brauerei (brewery) but it was so crowed, that we continued to the Bergbau Museum. I’ve been there twice in my life and the last time was more than 10 years ago. We didn’t spent much time in the museum itself, because it was rather crowded, but grabbed somthing to eat, enjoyed the atmosphere and most importantly took the lift up to the winding tower. I don’t know why we never went up there on our former visits. Probably because going underground was more exciting the kid / teenager I was :-) But last night we went up the tower and once more had proof that this area in fact has a lot of nature, although we still have to bear down the image of the dark and dirty coal and steel area.

Förderturm Bergbau Museum

Grünes Revier

The rest of the night we spent at the Jahrhunderthalle and the surrounding park, which had great illumination and various smaller attractions, magician, walking acts. It was just a great place to spend a summer night… Just now I realize that I have to clean my camera’s lense :-) But I still like the last picture so much, that I turned it into my current desktop wallpaper

Jahrhunderthalle bei Nacht 1

Jahrhunderthalle bei Nacht 2

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2 responses to “London & Extraschicht

  1. Hi
    If you are into WWII exhibitions etc then I really recommend Churchill’s Britain At War Experience. You get free entry with the London Pass and it’s a really great quirky museum. I went recently and really loved it.

    Hope you enjoy your time in London and get to see and do everything you want to.
    Best Wishes
    Sparkly Songbird x

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, I might add that to my list. The loooong list :-)

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