13.03.2015 - 16.03.2015
On a whim, I decided to take up a friend's invite to join her in London for the weekend. After spending more than I thought on a flight (wow do the pound and euro sign look similar if you aren't looking close enough) I was set to go to London! Unfortunately I took the airline up on the free checked bag and ended up in London before my bag did. After working to get things sorted out at the airport, I finally headed to the Tube at about nine pm. An hour later I was in the center of London! Luckily I had some semi helpful hand written directions to the hostel so I only got a little bit lost.
After a night of sleeping in my jeans, I jumped out of bed (literally-bunk beds) and headed to explore the city with girls on my program without having to worry about what outfit to wear for the day. Or if I was going to wash my hair first. Or how to wear my makeup. Okay so it wasn't actually that bad, I felt a little gross but luckily I was staying at the same hostel as friends and was able to borrow some face wash and makeup.
First on our list of things to see Saturday was Abbey Road! The Crosswalk featured on the Beatles' album is right next to the recording studio and there's a wall you can sign on the entrance gate. The road itself is actually really busy, and there isn't a stop sign for the crosswalk. After some VERY strategically timed pictures, we decided to stop running into traffic and head back into the city to take on London by foot. After a walk through the cute streets of London we made our way to Buckingham Palace and saw the guards as well as the end of the Cavalry Change. We even got a picture with one of the Cavalry horses later in the trip! From there we headed to see the London Eye, Big Ben, and Parliament. So many beautiful places in one area! Of course we couldn't let the afternoon go by without stopping for an afternoon high tea! We stopped into a tea house to eat some scones, finger sandwiches, and cake with our own personal tea pot! It was a cool experience, but I have to admit that high tea in Dunlap at Her Majesty's Tea Room is a more fun experience! After tea we headed back to the hostel where I finally got my bag, a shower, and a change of clothes at about 6 pm.
Saturday night we hit the streets of London to find a pub for some fish and chips and a cider. A friend of mine who studied abroad at the U of I last year from England even came out to meet us for the night! I can't express how much I love having friends to see around the world. I love getting a little taste of home while I'm abroad.
Sunday Morning we headed out early to get our pictures at the Harry Potter 9 3/4 platform at Kings Cross Station! Afterwards we hopped on the Tube to see Westminster Abbey. It's definitely a beautiful church-at least from the outside. We got there too late to attend the service and see the inside that morning. After snapping a quick London Telephone Booth picture in front of Big Ben we headed to the National Gallery where I was excited to see paintings that I had seen pictures of in a Greek Mythology Class last semester. Unfortunately a large number of staff were on strike causing most of the rooms in the museum to be closed. I did get to see the famous Waterlilly Monets though! Next on the museum tour was the Museum of Natural History! Let me just say, this free museum is not one you want to be at on Mother's Day on a Sunday. SO. MANY. PEOPLE. I would have enjoyed the dinosaurs way more without being completely surrounded by families. All in all though I'm glad we went! At this point I separated from the girls I was traveling with as they were flying home and I still had another day of exploring left in me. I headed to explore Kensington Palace and its park. Unfortunately there wasn't a sighting of Kate or William On the way back to the hostel I stopped for my first Falafel experience and planned the rest of my night! I spent my Sunday night on a night double decker bus tour of London with an Australian girl I met in my room. It was a lot of fun to have someone to talk to as we shivered our way through the hour and a half tour. I love seeing cities by night and I'm so happy that I got to do it by bus-my feet were tired and it's much safer that way! After a drink at a pub I was ready to call it a night!
Monday morning I woke up with the sad realization that it was my last day in London. It was a rather laid back day and I (my feet) was appreciative. I headed to the British Library where I got to see several old artifacts that they have on display there. In the display were things like an old Gutenburg Bible, original Beatles' lyrics, pages from DaVinci's Notebook, and letters from Galileo! It was well worth the trip and I would definitely recommend it! Then I unfortunately had to use the library as a library and work on homework for class the next day. After a quick flight back to Vienna I was happy to be home for the weekend and back in my own bed with one roommate instead of nine. My next adventure is spring break!