There is no way to fully describe the magical weekend I had in London. I’ve never seen a place with such beautifully massive buildings, crowds of rushing people of all different cultures, and still room for breathtaking parks and monuments. Each turn has something new to witness, both historic and modern. This city seems to have it all. We arrived on Thursday night, and true to British weather, in the pouring rain. Allie and I walked around for a few hours to get accustomed with the city, but the only benefit of this rainy outing, was a stop at a local drugstore to pick up some candy. I was joyfully reacquainted with my favorite candy from my trip to Ireland nearly 5 years ago! I thought I would never have another Crunchie bar, especially as I haven’t come across a chocolate covered honeycomb candy in the States.
On Friday, Allie and I took a walking tour from Russell Square to essentially all of London (at least that’s what my feet were telling me). At the beginning of our tour, Allie had some difficulties with her contacts, which led to our biggest tourist blunder in London. In summation, Allie accidentally bought hard contact cleaner, instead of soft contact solution, resulting in some serious eye pain for Allie. After we realized the mistake, we made a detour back to the hotel to retrieve Allie’s glasses, and retrospectively, the memory of us trying to relieve Allie’s burning eye in the corner of a British convenient store will remain our most hilarious excursion while in London.
We ventured to many of the more popular sites in London, including Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Calvary Museum, Oxford Street, National Gallery, and more. One of my favorite experiences of the day was stumbling upon the opportunity to receive Holy Communion in Westminster Abbey. We were able to enter the Church without paying for admission, but more importantly experienced a profoundly meaningful religious moment in one of the most famous churches in the world. The following picture is the portion of the Church we were able to receive communion in.
Afterwards, Allie and I found the half price ticket booth for musicals showing in London. I was able to find a super cheap ticket for Wicked showing later that night. My very first time taking the London tube (underground subway) was alone on my way to see the show. I’ve never been more nervous in my life, as I had to learn how to use the tube, navigate my route, find the theatre, and return back to the hotel at 11 PM all on my own. It was a rewarding experience, and seeing Wicked in one of London’s massive theaters was well worth the stress.
Saturday morning I joined many of my classmates for a tour of Sigmund Freud’s home in London, now a museum dedicated to him and his daughter’s work. As the ‘Father of Psychoanalysis’ I was excited to learn more about the man with so many interesting and bizarre theories, who I’ve learned about in my Psychology classes. Allie and I then made our trip to what was our most exciting discovery in London: the Borough Market. This food market had endless booths of food, drinks, and sweets from nearly every culture and country. After buying Pad Thai and Turkish Delight, Allie and I joined many of the market’s customers eating in the courtyard of the Southwark Cathedral next door. Now my favorite spot so far on my European excursion, the Borough Market included the diversity, rushed crowds, historic buildings, and endless amounts of food that characterized much of London.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by Buckingham Palace, which has the most beautiful golden gates! It was a great place for photos, so I will let the following pictures speak for themselves.
Our last excursion for the night was a trip down Bond Street at twilight. Allie and I gawked at the beautiful jewelry, clothing, and accessories as we passed Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co, etc. All the most expensive designers were lined up for blocks, with each store guarded by burly security men (who all seemed to get a laugh out of Allie and I’s awestricken faces). We didn’t dare enter any of the stores, as any item in them cost more than our tuitions no doubt, but it was still a perfect ending to our weekend in London.
On our way back to Grantham the next morning, the Harlaxton Coach made a stop at Hampton Court, the home of King Henry VIII and other English royalty. The castle is massive, and incredibly interesting. The courtyard was extensive, including a maze, the longest grape vine currently living, and acres of greenery. Allie and I grabbed a very British lunch of fish and chips before heading back onto the couch, and back to our home in Harlaxton Manor.
The pictures we took seem to outnumber the stars, but I’ve included my favorites from the weekend below. Classes this week are dismal in comparison to this past weekend, but their end will be welcomed by our short weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland on Friday.