Monday, May 10, 2010

Hello London!!

I left on April 30th for a 10 day trip to London, Madrid, & Barcelona! It was SO much fun!

Friday we left Angers in the morning and made it to London in the late afternoon. Once we got to the airport we all went our separate ways because Anna was staying with friends, a few of the girls were staying with Amy's family, and Henna and I were staying in a hostel with 3 other girls who were on a different flight. We took a bus from the London-Stansted aiport to London which took a little over an hour. We walked for quite awhile along Hyde Park to find our hostel, checked in, and went to dinner at a Thai restaurant down the road. We thought the whole situation was kind of funny considering that an American girl and a Finnish girl (who have been studying in France) were visiting London, and eating Thai food. I love it! After dinner we took the tube (aka metro)to Notting Hill and walked around for a little while. We headed back to the hostel to meet Charlotte, Kim, and Shannon who had taken the later flight to London. We talked for awhile about our journey's to London and then went to sleep to get ready for the next day.

Saturday we had the free breakfast at the hostel which usually means cornflakes and white bread with jam lol then headed to Starbucks to energize ourselves. Some of you may be thinking that I shouldn't have had Starbucks, but it's literally on every corner in London. It was a cultural experience haha! We took the tube towards the Tower Bridge! We walked past the Tower of London Castle and right around the corner was the bridge.
The Tower of London Castle

The Tower Bridge

We crossed over the bridge and walked along the River Thames to St. Paul's Cathedral. We took the infamous phone booth pictures there.

St. Paul's Cathedral

In a phone booth outside of St. Paul's!

We walked back across the river and walked by the Tate Modern Museum. We were going to go inside, but decided to save it for another day when the weather wasn't so nice. We never ended up making it back there which is a little disappointing, but I'll just put it on my list of things to do on my next visit to London! :) We went to a place called Eat. and grabbed a sandwich and some snacks to eat outside. The weather was beautiful! After lunch we continued to walk along the river towards the London Eye. There were a lot of street performers which was fun to watch. There was a group of hiphop/break dancers, people playing music with aluminum trash lids, a woman with over 1,000 peircings(..gross!), and the typical people who are dressed up as mickey mouse, a mime, and other characters. After reaching the London Eye we headed back across the river towards Westminster Abbey and Big Ben! There was a protest going on right outside of Westminster Abbey. It was crazy and awesome! lol
The London Eye

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben

Protest outside of Westminster Abbey

We walked to St. James Park and took a short nap in the sun and then walked through the park. We saw Buckingham Palace from a distance, but were saving that for another morning so we could watch the changing of the guards. We walked from St. James Park to Picadilly Circus, which slightly resembles Time's Square, but on a much smaller level. Anna met us there and we went on a search for a place to eat. We found a local pub and I had fish & chips which was delicious!! :) We then attempted to find a place to go out for drinks, which was relatively unsuccessful. It was raining outside, we were exhausted from walking all day and every place we went to was either really crowded or the wrong age group. We ended up staying at a bar that wasn't too crowded so we could sit down inside and have a London ale. We met a guy whose dad lives in Tennessee and one of his favorite bands is Sister Hazel..small world! We hung out at the bar for a little while then decided to call it a night when an old creeper spilled a beer on Charlotte.
Sunday we met Charlotte's friend Priscilla in the Liverpool area and she took us to a couple markets. The markets were huge and amazing! Henna and I wanted everything we saw!

We walked around there for a little while and then had a late lunch at an Indian restaurant. After lunch we went to another market which was just as amazing! After a couple hours at that market, Priscilla left, and the 5 of us (me, Kim, Shannon, Charlotte, & Henna) walked around for a little while longer. We were heading back to the tube when we spotted these amazing looking drinks in the window of a bar called B @ 1. There was a sign that said they have 2 for 1 happy hour on Sundays until 12am soooo we decided to go inside and see how it was. We were sitting at a table and my camera fell off my lap onto the ground and dieddd! :( And we had just ordered our first drink so NO it was not caused by drunken debauchery...just stupidity! My camera was 4 years old and was missing 5 out of the 11 screws that held it in place, so its not shocking that it died. The bar was so much fun though! They played great music, the drinks were amazing, and the bartenders were a lot of fun! Six hours later, with no money left in our wallets, we decided to call it a night.
Me and Henna...last picture taken with my camera :(

Monday we headed to Abbey Road to take the infamous Beatles picture walking on the crosswalk. I was suprised that nothing has been done with that crosswalk because there were at least 40 people there trying to take pictures while cars were driving by. The whole thing was a little bit chaotic, but it was fun! There was a guy there that would take a polaroid pic for you for 5 pounds. I bought it so we could all get in a picture, and so we didn't have to deal with stopping traffic again lol We then attempted to go to Kings Cross Station which is where platform 9 and 3/4's is from Harry Potter. We ended up not going in because we would have had to pay for a metro ticket..not worth it! Kim, and Henna & I walked around and did some shopping while Shannon and Charlotte went back to Westminster Abbey to see a choir performance. We all met back at Picadilly Circus and went to dinner at a Chinese restaruant with Priscilla (Charlotte's friend). It was a lot of fun going with Charlotte! We told Priscilla and Charlotte to order for us, so they ordered around 6 dishes for all of us to share. It was fun listening to them speak Chinese to each other and to the servers. The food was delicious! Charlotte said that it was real authentic food that she would have in Hong Kong, which made her miss home a little. She told us about a couple dishes that were popular just in Hong Kong and others that were popular in China. We walked around Soho after dinner and enjoyed the city.

Tuesday we checked out of our hostel and headed to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. It was awesome! There were so many people there! After the changing of the guards Shannon, Kim, and Charlotte left to catch their flight to Ireland. Henna and I headed back towards the hostel to do some shopping and pick up our bags at the hostel. We mostly window shopped because we had already packed our bags and knew we didn't have room for anything else. We met up with Anna and took a train to Gatwick-Airport to head to Madrid! We met up with Megan, Katie, and Amy at the airport and shared stories from our trips. It was weird seeing them in the airport because we had expected to hang out with each other in London. We ended up not seeing them at all because we had no way of communicating with each other.
Overall London was AMAZING!! I fell in love with the city! I didn't want to leave and I want to go back already!

That's all for now...I'll post more pictures from London (after I steal pics from the girls) and blog about Spain soon.

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