I fell in love…with London!

Coming back to classes after my past weekend in London is a huge drag… considering it may have been my last big trip while studying here, as I only have 3 weeks left of class, 2 weeks until my big dance show, and only 4 weeks until I pack up and finally come home. And if London was my last trip, although I hope I can still make it to Dublin, it was stupendous!

I went into the trip with low expectations. I worried about flying by myself, getting around late at night to find my hostel and trying to meet up with people the next day. I felt a little alone, to be honest while preparing for it and even though I felt glum and sadly unhopeful for this being a successful trip, I tried my best to stay calm and open minded.

I flew out of Edinburgh and I thought I would be taking the train alone as well as paying for a taxi to the airport from the train station. As luck would have it, Amy, Katie, and Shannon were headed to Stockholm that weekend and were on the same train, as well as Lindsey who was headed to Bathe! We ended up paying for a taxi to the airport as well and once we got through security, were able to sit together until their plane boarded. I took my meeting them as a good omen for the rest of my trip and began to relax. The flight to London was short and sweet, being just under an hour. Once there, I found the bus I needed to get to the area my hostel was in and enjoyed my nearly 2 hour ride there jamming out to Ed Sheeran and Mumford and Sons (only fitting when in London). By the time I got off the bus it was raining, but I was prepared this time, unlike in Venice and had my umbrella handy! I made it to the hostel and settled in. Two of the girls I was staying with were American students studying in Ireland and there to see the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I was a little anxious being in the hostel on my own but being in a 4 bed room was better than a 14 bed room.

The next day Nick and Sydney arrived to meet up with TJ to go to the Harry Potter studio tours, and I successfully navigated my way through the underground with out a problem. I’m not going to lie, I was proud of myself. Trying to find Angela and Katie from there is another story. We all came into the Waterloo station, but I came by metro and they came by train so we exited on different sides. I worried for a minute until I was able to make my way to the London Eye where we finally met up. We walked along the River Thames, seeing a bunch of street performers and tasty looking, teasing foods! We made it to the Millenium Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We took the metro to the London Tower and London Bridge later during the day. On our way to the Camden Markets, we stopped at King’s Cross Station to have our pictures taken at Platform 9 3/4! I wore the Gryffindor scarf, naturally:)

Our last stop of the day was Camden Markets, and world famous open air market that seemed endless. We first revived ourselves with some hot food and beverage. Sadly for us, the weather took a turn and it started raining, and this time I was not prepared and forgot my umbrella at the hostel. So once again I had to buy a cheap 2 pound umbrella that almost worked better than my other one… I maybe went a little crazy while at the market. They just had so many things I wanted! I bought a baby blue ceramic travel mug that says “Keep calm and drink tea” was well as some Earl Grey tea in a tin can to save for later:) I thought that was all i was going to buy until we came to the cutest book shop. You all know what happens then…I have no self control! I ended up buying this beautifully bound copy of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, my reasoning being that I am taking a Chaucer course next semester, so it was only fitting. Then while browsing, Katie found a Charles Dickens book and knowing I liked his works, showed me. It is titled Martin Chuzzlewit and I have never heard of it before. But I fell in love with it  because in the back of the book is the handwriting of two of its previous owners. One simply said “Easter 1931” and the other, which for some reason clicked with me read “Gift from Miss Finch 1965.” I had a moment where I believed in fate, considering my favorite book is To Kill A Mocking Bird and the main family is the Finch Family, and both of my parents were born in 1965. And although those names and numbers weren’t meant for me, it was a coincident I couldn’t ignore. And it was only 3 pounds.

Since it was getting late and raining, Katie and I headed back to the hostel to get ready for Wicked! We met up with TJ and then headed to the  Apollo Victoria Theater. The show was indescribably beautiful, amazing, magnificent and more! I know it wasn’t the original cast, but hey, everything sounds better in a British accent anyway (besides the British actor playing the once hick/American Wizard, his accent was unconvincing and hard on the ears). It still amazes me how perfect the timing was. The fact that they all sang live, with a live orchestra and it still sounded flawless baffled me. I never wanted to leave, and when I did, I saw the signs for “Billie Elliot” and “The Book of Mormon” and wanted to see all of those! I hooked! I bought a poster for keepsake and will definitely be framing it when I get home:)

The next morning, my last day in London, I got up at the crack of dawn, and by that I mean 6:15am, to see the last of what I wanted to: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the House of Parliament. It was a glorious sunny morning and I felt like I owned London. Hardly anyone was out and it was nice to take in the sites in peace and quiet. I successfully made my way back to the airport but was pretty early, so I sat there for a good 4 hours, but the upside was I got a lot reading done for my classes…I guess that not really an upside, just kind of sad.

Looking back, although I went in with few expectations and hopes of enjoying myself, I had one of the greatest trips. Angela and Katie were so great for putting up with me trying to find them and letting me tag along for the day. I had an amazing time and I fell in love with the city. It is a perfect combination of old and new and when people say the metro system is easy to figure out, they aren’t lying! I felt comfortable and at ease with knowing where I was and how to get places. I highly recommend to everyone to go at some point in your life! You won’t regret it! Sadly, weekends can’t last forever and its back to the school/work week. As happy as I will be to be done with school work and heading home, it’s weekends like this past one that make me realize how precious and limited my time is here. As much as I love and miss you all back home, I would be very grateful if you could all just migrate to the UK and we could spend the rest of our lives in British bliss! (so make it happen!)

P.S. My heart goes out to all those who are effected by the bombings in Boston. Even though I am miles away, my heart is very much back home with you all during this troubling and saddening time. Well wishes to those who were injured and my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives.

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