So the other night, we met up with our new South African friends in the hostel's bar. They were really great. Jacque and Gerry were a lot of fun, but unfortunately, Jacque's girlfriend was not happy that he was talking to "the hot chick." So they got in a fight and I felt terrible. I wasn't even really flirting with him, though! lol The funny part was when I asked Jacque why she was mad, he said, "Because I'm talking to the hot chick. You speak french, right? Can you listen to my girlfriend and tell me what she's saying?"
The next day, yesterday, we woke up early and headed out to Portobello Market. This was so awesome. The streets were covered with little booths and shops and so many interesting, hand-made things. We missed the changing of the guards because they were practicing something else for the Queens birthday, or so we heard. We made our way out to Trafalgar Square to take pictures and eat lunch. After that, we saw the Christian portrait and landscape paintings of the National Gallery. Becky loved it. Me ... not so much. The British Museum was next on our list, though, and we both loved it. The exhibits were really cool, and the building itself is gorgeous. Next, we went to Leicester Square and bought tickets to "Les Miserables" in London's famous West End. It played at the Queen's Theatre. Probably the best musical I've ever seen. The singing was great, the scenery and rotating stage were brilliant, and the story line was beautiful and tragic.
Later, we met up with Jacque and Gerry again. I definitely got the impression that Jacque's girlfriend had told him he wasn't allowed to talk to me, so we mainly hung out with Gerry. Even later that night, after a few beers, we ended up in the middle of the street, learning the basic steps to a South African dance. It was a blast!
And even later on, (hehe, yeah, it was an all-nighter), I had a pretty intense conversation with Gerry in the stairwell. I think it's worth mentioning, though. That guy is wise beyond his years.
Gerry: Why would you come to Europe with a boyfriend.
Me: I couldn't help it. It just happened.
Gerry: Well, it sucks. Not for you, and certainly not for your boyfriend. But it sucks for all the people you are going to meet on your trip. All the guys that are going to meet you, and want something more with you.
Me: Well, I wouldn't be interested in a one-night stand or a long-distance relationship, so it doesn't really matter. Plus, I doubt there's too many guys that are going to feel like they're missing out.
Gerry: Yeah, there will be. You're beautiful. Any guy would be crazy to ... But you know, there is something between a one-night stand and a relationship.
Me: And what's that?
Gerry: Living in the moment. Being with someone and caring about them while you have them. Just experiencing life together.
I know, a little cliche, but at 4 or 5 in the morning, it was damn good. :-) After some coffee and a changing into our church clothes, Becky and I walked through Hyde Park (so pretty!) and went to mass at St. Paul's Cathedral. It was beautiful inside, but the service was kind of weird. After that, we got our stuff and headed out to the airport.
Overall impression of London:
- Hostels are better than hotels. Cheaper and the social aspect is soooo awesome!
- Booking through STA Travel is definitely a smart idea. Stonehenge trip was great.
- The tube wasn't that hard to figure out. Should have used it earlier.
- The theatre is a must!
- The city is kind of crazy. You don't have time to breathe downtown, so breaking up the big tourist attractions is a good idea.
- Everything is expensive!!! The only decently priced items were in Portobello market. Oxford Street was expensive, crowded, stressful, and the stores close early.
- Londoners are very friendly and always willing to give directions.
- Take extras from the continental breakfasts whenever possible. Makes a great mid-day snack.
- Stop and look around. No matter how lost/stresses/upset you are, there is always something to see.
- Bring a compass.
- Consider starting out with a smaller city.