So I had another "vacation weekend" in London this past weekend. It is pretty amazing only having class twice a week so we have a pretty good amount of time to travel around. We left for London on Thursday afternoon and got into the city around 7 or so. I absolutely love the train rides because it is about the only time we sleep, so we took full advantage of the three hour ride. Once we got to London, we went to the place where we were staying and relaxed for a little bit. We were just about a block away from Buckingham palace and about 5 from Big Ben. We could just walk outside and see the palace almost. Pretty sweet huh? Thursday night we walked around and saw the "big touristy things". We went to Buckingham palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, saw Shakespeare's parish and the Globe theatre, and St. Paul's Cathedral. It was really pretty seeing everything at night and the city was actually pretty lively still. We were walking around until probably 12:30 or so and there were still so many people out walking around. Definitely a little livelier than cedar falls. But Thursday night we just did that and then went to bed. It was pretty weird knowing we were in London because it wasn't at all what I had expected. It was cool living just down the street from the palace, but it seemed so much more spread out than I imagined.
Friday morning, Caitlin, Greg and I went on a walking tour through some parts of London. We saw a few different things than the night before like St. James palace (where princess Diana lived), the horse guards and the National British Museum, and Hyde park/ St. James Park. The tour was okay, definitely not as good as the one in Scotland, but it may have had something to do with my inability to pay attention. It was about three hours long, and we managed to get a little sunburn out of it, so it was successful. After our tour, we walked around a little more and had to take a nap. That night we went to Piccadilly circus (a part of London that really reminded me of Time's Square in new york). It was full of big screens and entertainment, like a theatre on every corner. We went to Les Miserables. It was so good! We sat in the balcony and had really good seats considering we only spent 15 pounds! It was a lot of fun. I have never really been to a play, so going to my first one in London was pretty amazing. There were so many to choose from! You could probably go to a play a night for two weeks and still have more to see. It was a lot of fun. And if I go back to London, I would really like to see more.After the play, we came back and just hung out at the hostel/hotel. We got back around 1130 and just wanted to relax. So we did
Saturday we went to Camden market (yes, the one that burned down. It set on fire about two hours after we left). It was incredible. The streets were lined with little shops and food vendors and so many different types of people. There were extreme gothics, punk people, lots of foreigners, and just a wide variety of people to see. They sold some pretty crazy stuff too (for example, I saw ecstasy, and weed..and more) but it was fun.We walked around for probably 4 or 5 hours just looking through shops, and trying to see everything. You could probably be there for a whole day easily. Saturday night, we started the Jack the Ripper Tour of all the places those murders happened, but managed to escape early because it was not worth the 20 dollars we were going to spend. We were on it for about an hour or so and then decided it wasn't worth it so we went home to change because we had reservations at the Ice Bar for 1230. The Ice Bar is a bar where everything is made of ice, they give you a coat in gloves when you go in and its all ice..the chairs, table, glasses, everything. But, due to our inability to yet again read a map, we got a little lost in Piccadilly Circus and didn't make it in time to get in. It was okay, we got to see a lot of Piccadilly and had fun anyways. We DID manage to get lost again on the way home, but we sang songs to keep ourselves busy. Piccadilly was just crazy! Everyone was everywhere, but it was a lot of fun.Definitely some place I'd go back.
Sunday was the beginning of a crazy crazy day. Caitlin and I woke up early so we could go get wrist bands to line the red carpet for the Baftas (British Academy Film Awards…similar to the Oscars in America). We got wrist bands, and then ran to the tube so we could make it to mass at the West Minster Abbey by 1115. The Abbey was beautiful. It was lined with memorials to significant people in history that have died (such as William Wilburforce and such). The church was huge and the congregation was in the shape of a cross. They had a mens/boys choir that had amazing voices. They sang pretty much the whole mass. It was one of the most beautiful services I have ever been to. Right after we left the abbey, we had to run immediately back to Camden Square so we could wait in line for the red carpet. After about 3 hours of waiting in line, they let us line the red carpet. Caitlin and I may have had the best seats there. We were right at the beginning of the carpet so all of the stars came directly to us and shook our hands and signed autographs for everyone. It was incredible. We saw so many people: Ryan Secrest, Cuba Gooding Jr., Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Biel, Sienna Miller, Orlando Bloom, Tom Wilkinson, Hugh Lorie, Kiera Knightley, Daniel Day Lewis, Jason Isaacs, Ricky Gervais, Amanda Peet, Andy Sirkus, Emily Blunt, Ziyi Zhang, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Spacey, some of the Bond girls…so many people! It was crazy. Kate Hudson and Kate Blanchet didn't walk but it was okay we were lucky we saw so many people. We shook all of there hands and they all were so nice! But it was a lot of fun. We promised ourselves we wouldn't be "those girls" the screaming super crazy stalker fanatics….and we only were twice. Daniel Radcliffe and Orlando bloom kind of forced us to be those girls. But it was okay after the Baftas, we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant and had some pizza. We were kind of in some shock that we saw all those people but it was so much fun. We just relaxed Sunday night, watched some of the Baftas and went to sleep fairly early. I also just found out from my mother that Caitlin and I made E (TV) during the BAFTAS. apparently, sienna miller was signing autographs in front of us and we were there!! I am not surprised, the E camera man was all around us. Very cool. now i just want to find it and watch it
Monday morning we walked around to a few more places and took a few pictures. We also went to Harrods. If you haven't heard of it, it is the biggest shopping place I have ever seen. Biggest AND most expensive. One of our friends bought a pair of 500 dollar shoes. When I even considered thinking about buying something, I thought of good ol Jer back in Iowa and kept my wallet in my purse. Everything was so expensive and nice. We went to a Tapas bar and I got goat cheese (it was terrible) and then we went to a chocolate bar and it was absolutely amazing. Chocolate was everywhere. We walked around and pretended like we could afford the 8000 dollar Prada dresses. People are so nice to you because the celebrities shop there and they don't know if you are a person of any significance. They would wait on you left and right. If you asked for a mocha latte from starbucks they probably would have ran across the street and gotten one for you. It was that crazy! But that about wrapped up our trip to London. I feel like I could go back and spend another two weeks and not get bored, so hopefully I get to make it back there. It was amazing to finally see all the things you have only heard about and semi-learned about. It was a lot of fun and now I am back in Hull for less than 72 hours and I take off again Thursday for Dublin. Its quite the tough semester let me tell you