Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh, how I love the British!!

Well hello, everybody!! So one of these lovely weekends 3 friends and I went to London, England.  Oh, the adventures we had.  The four of us left Wednesday night and arrived in London late that same night.  It wasn't too bad getting to the hostel, thank goodness.  We took a bus to some road.  I don't know, really.  My friend told me to get off, so I did.  After the bus, we decided to take a taxi to the hostel.  Well we knew that the taxis there did not look like the ones in America.  So it's like 1a.m., and we have no idea what type of car we're looking for.  As I am aimlessly looking around, my friend points at a car driving by and asks, "Is that a taxi?"  Lo-and-behold, it was!  And the taxi stopped!!  Beautiful.  So we hopped in the cab and went to our hostel, which was quite nice I might add.  Since it was late when we got there, we decided to go straight to bed. 
Our first full day in London was fabulous!  Our hostel was located a bit of a distance away from the center of London.  For this reason, we had to take the Tube into the city.  So we headed to the Tube station, which was only 5 or so minutes from our hostel.  Here we had to get Oyster cards.  So each of us tried to buy our own Oyster card.  It was a struggle, let me tell ya.  We tried to pay in pounds, but could not find the place to put it into the machine.  We looked everywhere on the machine and could not find it. That would be because there wasn't one.  This was discovered by the lovely gentleman behind us watching us struggle.  In the end, one of my friends got the cards from us, and we were off to London!!!

So we hopped on the Tube and made our first stop at a store called Primark.  We totally had a reason for  You see.  I didn't have a coat...and it's quite cold in London.  So we stopped at Primark because they have cheap clothes.  Ummmm....yehahhhh.  I did not buy a coat.  I did, however, buy 2 sweaters, a scarf, and penguin gloves.  So it all worked out in the end.  :)  After Primark we walked over to Piccadilly Circus and then stopped and got some lunch.  We just stopped at a little coffee shop.  I got a salted caramel and cream latte.  Oh yeah.  It's as good as it sounds. 
Yup. Doesn't it look delicious?!
After lunch, we went to see the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.  It was awesome!!  For those of you who haven't heard of this play or book, it's about a boy who has Autism who finds his neighbors dog murdered.  He then decides he needs to solve the mystery of who murdered the dog.  Along the way he uncovers secrets about his life.  It was a phenomenal play!! The stage of the play was very interesting.  It showed what are some of the things that are going on in the boys head.  For example, when he was having a sensory overload the lights were going crazy and there was loud noises everywhere, or when he was trying to calm himself it showed the numbers he was counting in his head.  As I said, it was a phenomenal play. 
After we finished the play, it was already dark.  This meant that all of the lights were on in the streets!!! So we headed down Oxford Street.
Along the way, we ran into the toy store "Hamleys."  So we decided to go in for a bit.  A bit turned into 45 minutes.  5 floors of toys took awhile to get through! 
As we were leaving, we saw two workers dressed as elves outside.  I don't remember how, but we ended up telling them it was our friend Allie's 21st birthday.  So naturally they pulled her back into the store and had a bunch of other workers sing her Happy Birthday.  Who doesn't love getting sung to by elves for their birthday?!

On our second day in London we started out our day with a tube ride to Camden market.  We got a little lost on the way, but thanks to a lovely gentlemen, we eventually found our way.  Camden market was such a blast!! I didn’t get too much stuff.  Just kidding.  I bought a crap ton of stuff I really didn’t need. J  So we walked around Camden Market for about 2 hours or so. 
After the market, we hopped back on the tube to go to King Cross station.  Now why would we go to a train station you may ask?  Well my dear readers, the answer is quite simple: PLATFORM 9 ¾!!!!  And they it’s not real!

Next, we decided to walk over to see where my friend lived when she studied abroad in London last semester.  Along the way we passed by the British Museum and British Library.  We only had time for one, so we decided to run into the library. 

Once we finished looking around the library, it was time to go to a Tea Party.  You read that right…a Tea Party.  With British tea and British food.  It was heaven!! We had this tea party with the Central College program (that’s what my study abroad is through) that is in London. We all had a wonderful time!!!

Next we decided to head over to see Big Ben and the London Eye at night.  As we were walking by there, it was hard to imagine that it has only been 3 years since I was last in London.  Thankfully, London was still as beautiful as I remember it.

While we were walking around near the London Eye….WE FOUND A CHRISTMAS MARKET!!! Thank you to my friend Alyssa for telling me about this!  It was gorgeous!! There were Christmas lights and music everywhere!  I was in Christmas heaven, especially since Granada didn’t have anything Christmasy up during this time.

After the market, we decided to hit up a pub to celebrate my friend Allie’s 21st birthday.  We didn’t stay for too long since the kitchen was closed by the time we got there.  Luckily, there was a grocery store across the street.  So we ran over there and got some dinner to take back to the hostel.

So we get our food.
Walk to the tube station.
See the tube is there.
One of us gets on the tube.
The doors close.
Three are left behind.
That happened.
My friend on the tube just looked at us, like oops!
My other friend was telling her to get off at our stop and stay there.
While these two were being calm, another one of my friends and I were staring after the train with our mouths open wondering….did that really just happen.
Luckily, my friend got off at the right stop and all was well that second day in London.

On our final day in London, we started off with a visit to Buckingham Palace.  My friend Kaity, who lived in London last semester, went to go pick something up a store.  So my two friends and I took the tube and walked to Buckingham Palace by ourselves.  I am unbelievably proud to say that I figured out the tube and got us there without being lost once!!! I would also like to take this time to thank my mother for teaching me how to read a map.  You go, momma!!

Next, we got back on the tube and met our friend at Harrods.  So we walk in.  I look around, taking in the splendor of the place.  I continue walking in, not looking or talking to anybody.  I do notice, however, that a mother and her little boy, about 4, are walking towards me.  Next thing I know, the little boy rears his leg and kicks me as hard as he can in the shin!!! I seriously could not believe what just happened! I turned around, open-mouthed and hear the mother go, “Now that’s not very nice.”  And they leave.
I was so confused as to what just happened.  I turned to my friend, Allie, who was busting out laughing. 
I seriously could not make up this story even if I tried.
After this whole ordeal, we entered into the great unknown of Harrods.  It was chaotic!! Kids were everywhere; adults were shoving their way to try and grab things.  My goal was find some reusable bags and leave.  It took a good 45 minutes….but I found them. I was singing some Hallelujah in my head at that point.

After Harrods, we went to go hop on a bus.  While looking for a bus we saw Hyde Park.  I’m so glad we went in because it was beautiful!!!!  

Next, we went and grabbed some lunch at a café across from Trafalgar Square. 

Then, we decided to walk back to Big Ben since it was right there.

We then attempted to find Tower Bridge, but after walking for about 30 minutes, we decided to head back to the hostel.
So we got back to our hostel and attempted to pack.  You could say I bought too much stuff, and I’m pretty sure everybody who came to London with me, my mother, and my roommate would agree.  In order to get everything back, I had to wear a tank top, a long sleeve, 3 sweaters, a hat, a pair of gloves, and 2 scarfs.  I also had to put some stuff in my friend’s bags.  Oops!! Here’s a lovely picture of me wearing all of my clothes:

Once we had all packed, we walked to a fish and chips place near our hostel.  We all got our fish and chips and headed back to enjoy them while watching the movie Love Actually.
And that, everybody, was my adventure in London.  The first time I went there, I fell in love with the city.  This time, I fell even more in love.  Even though I’ve only visited for short amounts of time, I think London will always be one of my favorite cities. 

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