Oh how I love London.
It is definitely a city I could live in. There's something I can't really expain about it, but it a great city to visit and I honestly could picture myself living there someday. Who knows?
Last weekend, I traveled north to, you guessed it, London. We had an extra day off for el dia de Andalucia (basically the day that celebrates the creation the region that Granada is located in), so we packed our backpacks and hopped on a plane to England. We arrived there Thursday and stayed in a hostel in Wimbledon, a twenty five minute train ride from the center of the city and home of the famous tennis competition and court (which we didnt see). I would describe our hostel as a European frat house--something about the people and building reminded me of college frat houses, not like that is necessarily bad, just different. We met some interesting people there, like the guy who played Polish rap for us or the women whose snores sounded like she was gargling. But we didn't spend much time at the hostel, just sleeping and showering and we were able to secure our stuff--what more do you need in life?
Thursday we ventured into the city after a long evening/morning of travel that included a five hour bus from Granada to Madrid, sleeping in Madrid airport and a train ride to Wimbledon. We wandered around the city, seeing the London Eye, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and Leicester Square. We only managed to get yelled at once when climbing the lions--unfortuately for the guards there, we happened to start a dangerous trend which made the run around yelling at various tourists climbing on the lions' backs. We also saw the set-up and craziness surrounding the premiere of the new Wizard of Oz movie with James Franco. Unfortunately we did not see him because we were too busy running to get dinner then to see Les Miserables (Yay!!). As expected, the musical was phenomenal even in our nosebleed seats of Queen's Theater. We laughed, we cried, we struggled to remain awake because we had so little sleep. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Les Mis. But during those slower songs, sitting in the dark, I was feeling the fatigue from the day because believe it or not, sleeping upright and on tile floors does not give the best nights' sleep. After the play we followed some new English friends to the underground station and head back to our hostel.
Friday we met up with some other study abroad friends at Buckingham Palace. The London gods were looking out for us because somehow, among the hundreds of people crowded to watch the changing of the guard, we managed to casually run into our friends to watch the ceremony. I couldn't really see much and ended up watching the mini-version on the camera of the guy in front of me, because he definitely had the perfect angle. After we headed to Westminster Abbey, because there was a short service there that allowed you to get in for free and we love free things. So after the mass, which was really similar to the Catholic mass, we decided to try to check the place out. Somehow, two of us managed to slip past the guards, and make our way to the entrance, grabbing a brochure like everyone else was doing. Then we casually made our way through the abbey, asking volunteers to explain the various parts because we "forgot" to get the audio tour. Although it doesnt seem that great, we definitely felt preeetttyyy badass. We met up with our friends who were not as sneaky then headed over to Hyde Park to find the Peter Pan statue. After Hyde Park, we went to theNatural History Museum, on of the many free museums in London. Later, we went over to King's Cross to get a picture at Platform 93/4 from Harry Potter and to the Tate Modern, a modern art museum--definitely something very interesting to see. Overall, a really fun day.
Our last day was definitely our busiest. After a long and complicated train ride, we ended up in Camden market to do a little touristy shopping and see some street performances. Then we made our way to Abbey Road, which is actually a road. With lots of cars. That probably hated us because we took our time trying to get pictures. Then we signed the wall at Abbey Studios and headed back into central London to the Tower of London. In the Tower, we attended the Beefeater or Yeoman Warder Tour which detailed all the brutal deaths and murders that occured there. Our guide was great, very vibrant and engaging. After wandering the tower, we met up with our friends at St. Paul's. We caught the beginning of the Evensong (again, with free entrance for the service). I felt like I was at a royal ceremony with the choir voices filling the old and beautiful cathedral. We made our way back to Buckingham Palace, passing through Covent Garden and exploring the city more on our final night. Unfortunately, it wasn't until late that night when realized we had no way to get to our early flight the next morning, which forced us to run around London, going to multiple train and bus stations until we found tickets. Luckily we made it to the airport and flight in time, and returned to Granada.
London is just one of those places I would go to over and over. I love the history and the people and the city itself. It has a great feel to it.
Til next time...