London, week 3: Victoria Park, Ben&Jerry’s day and Olivier awards

By week three I was comfortable enough in East London (where ALL the crime happens and someone will, eventually, murdered you) to start exploring the area around the dorm. And so I realized I lived five minutes from Victoria Park.

I’m not, by any means, a nature lover. Or a park person, for that matter. But Victoria Park is just too beautiful not to spend time there. Sir James Pennethorne, a noted English architect, designed it for the people of East London. They named it after Queen Victoria, and it’s enormous and incredibly beautiful. I went jogging there twice a week after that discovery. In April there were so many tulips, I thought I had somehow teleported to the Netherlands!

tulips Victoria park
Victoria park gates
Victoria park street

Free Cone Day

April 8 was the day I had been waiting for forever: free cone day! Which is why I took the tube to Leicester square right after work, prepared to wait in line for hours if I had to, just to get a scoop of free ice cream because I’m a student, I’m broke, and I love free stuff – especially food.

As it turns out, free cone day is not THAT popular, so I only had to wait 10 minutes for my first free scoop. Then I sat on a bench and ate my cookie dough ice cream in Shakespeare’s company. And also lots of other people’s company, because Leicester square is always. So. Busy. I had another scoop after that, just because.

I had always wanted to experience a real red carpet event and there is no shortage of such events in London. I first found out about the Olivier awards a few days before the event. Just knowing Tom Hiddleston was a nominee for an award was reason enough for me to go.

I’d never been to a red carpet event before, so I had no idea what to do. I left home at 10am and thought I would just wait there or something. And wait I did, for about seven hours. It was a cold day, we had to stand in the shade and had absolutely nothing to do until the moment the celebrities started arriving. I had no idea I would actually get to see that many actors and actresses that day! As you can see, the workers managed to transform an otherwise perfectly normal – boring – street into a huge red carpet area.

olivier awards 2014 red carpet
Hayley Atwell Olivier Awards 2014
Olivier awards actress

First, I got autographs from Hayley Atwell, Martin Freeman and James McAvoy, which was great… But then Tom Hiddleston arrived and totally skipped my part of the crowd. Boo. Hey, at least I saw him, right? (WHY, TOM. WHY.)

Mark Strong showed up as well, and so did Robert Lindsay (from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical) and Gavin Creel (Book of Mormon). Plus all the actors and actresses I had never seen before in my life, so I had no idea who they were.

All in all, it was a lot more exciting than being in my room doing nothing, so it was a day well spent.