Mini Holiday: A Concert in Greenwich and a Wild Ride to Alton Towers

Last weekend, I took a little time off from business.  Friday evening, Dilan and I took a leisurely bus ride down to Greenwich for a concert at the O2 Arena.  Greenwich is a beautiful town in Southwest London that holds the National Maritime Museum, The Royal Observatory, a Naval College, the University of Greenwich (which you’ll have seen in Thor) and, most famously, the Prime Meridian.  It kind of feels like it’s by the sea, but it’s just on the Thames.  Instead of visiting the lovely touristy things I mentioned and have visited before, we enjoyed some local craft beer from the Meantime brewery at the Greenwich Union, Meantime’s first pub.  Meantime’s I.P.A. is fantastic!  Not bitter, but quite fruity and floral.  Then we made our way to the O2 to see Chicago-based band Umphrey’s McGee!!!  It was a *great* show.  I’ve seen them twice in the states, but this was a quite different experience.  They’re clearly not as popular in the UK as they are at home because there were maybe 100 people there!  We walked right up to the stage as soon as we got there.  Every person there was happy to be there and really enjoying their self.  The sound was great, it was an intimate venue with happy, dancing fans, and Umphrey’s killed it.  They played their new music in the first half, with their signature long jams in the middle of songs, and they played covers in the second half.  I wasn’t sure the covers would be as good as hearing their own music, but Oh Man!  They played Cheap Sunglasses, Hot for Teacher, Shine on You Crazy Diamond (amazing), some Jimi Hendrix, and a smattering of other great rocks sounds.

They’re such a dynamic band, I thought they did each song justice.  That sure shows talent!  Anyways, I think Dilan left the concert with a new favourite band. 😀

We got the last tube home, and woke up at 5 am to catch a train to the giant amusement park Alton Towers with Suri, Cara, Maria, Irina, and her friend from home, Julia.  None of us had slept enough, but some tea and adrenaline got us through the day.  Luckily, it was a nice, sunny day.  Alton Towers is a great park, and really big!  It has the world’s roller coaster with the most loops- 14!  The Smiler.  Have a look here if you want to perk up some envy.  The Smiler was a favourite among us, and clearly the park’s major attraction.  It was by far the best decorated ride down to the black and yellow stripey gloves worn by the operators.  It had a sort of crazed-happy-psychosis theme with a catchy tune I (thankfully) can’t remember anymore.  What really stood out about Alton Towers being different from any park I’ve been to in the States was the expanse of gardens, proper manicured, tall, winding gardens, smack in the middle.  Continuing with the foliage theme, the rides were impressively well hidden within the trees.  When we first walked in the park, we asked, “Where are all the roller coasters?” because we actually couldn’t see any.  I’m used to spotting Busch Gardens from a few miles away, but we couldn’t see the coasters until we walked up to them.  We managed about 6 coasters and a surprising subterranean, sci-fi themed ride.  Worn out, with our thrill-desires well satisfied, we journeyed back to London.  It was a long day.

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