Just kidding, the bridge wasn’t collapsing. But, this past weekend I did go to London. I LOVED it! But college students, be warned: London is unreasonably expensive. The exchange rate to the dollar is even worse than the Euro. But it was still awesome. And our trip was theme songed by me singing Fergie’s London Bridge the entire time. Miso really loved me for that. This blog post features special guests, Megan and Sean. Megan and Sean are my Big and Mr. Big from home and it was so exciting to see faces I knew from home that weren’t also studying in Spain!
We stayed at Astor Hyde Park Hostel in South Kensington and it was a good location. Only a few blocks away from the metro station and connected to three of the lines on the tube. The tube is a pretty solid metro system, although nothing will ever beat the simplicity of Madrid, I have to say that this was a good one. And there was cushioned seats! Although, as I was warned almost immediately, people don’t talk to each other on the tube, so that was an interesting cultural difference.
On Friday, I met up with Sean at Gloucester Road and he took me around all day, as he had been there for the week visiting Megan on his spring break. Sean does not like tourist attractions at all so we did not go near them. Instead, he took me to a bunch of local things. First, we went to the Victoria and Albert Musem to have tea and scones. How British of us! But the tea was so good and we got our own teapots. I was a happy camper because I love tea! Then we went to the Borough Market, which has everything under the sun. Sean took me for my first cider, which is also very popular to drink in London and we bought a chorizo sandwich so I could show him a little bit of Spain. Right across the street from the Cider place was the Exotic Meat market. I was kind of panicking at the idea but Sean said the camel was so good. Right. Camel. From this moment on, we did not stop eating. We wandered the market some more, pausing for samples of cheeses, stuffed macaroni [which was AMAZING] and cookies the size of our faces. We then found this grilled cheese place which was so good and it’s big in London. The cheese was literally dripping off, it was so perfectly melted. Then we went to the Thames River and saw the London Bridge. What a let down! It looks like a regular bridge that I drive over when I’m travelling from New York to DC. But the Thames was nice and we just took time to sit there and relax. After that, we went to have another iconic meal: fish and chips. For those of you who are thinking Lays, those are crisps. Chips are french fries! It was delicious. Then we went to Sean’s favorite place in London: Covent Garden. Covent Garden has a lot of high-end shopping but we were there for the street performers. These performers aren’t just dancers but some are also magicians. And they’re so funny with their dry, British humor. The tricks are extensive but we had a great time watching them! Then we got more cider at a bar with a balcony that overlooked the main square and watched more performances below.
Afterwards, Sean took me to the train station where we going to meet Megan after her internship but before she left for Dublin. I was looking for her by the exit she told us she would be at but she came from the side and attack hugged me! I was so excited to see her! We got cookies and then all sat down and talked. She and I caught up on a bunch of stuff and we all laughed and it was like we were back at home, except, you know, in Europe. We said goodbye and then her and Sean said goodbye and it was sad because Sean was leaving for America the next day and he wouldn’t see Megan [and me!] for another few months but he toughed it out. Even though I like giving the two of them a hard time just because I can, they’re actually really cute together.
Day 2! Miso and I headed out on an excursion to see all of the touristy things in one day…and we did! Like champs! We started off by going to the Buckingham Palace and it was so pretty. The whole plaza with its statues of lions and fountains was just so peaceful. And to think that only a few years ago, Kate Middleton got married to Prince William. She’s perfect; Miso and I girl crush on her like all the time. Then we went around the area and saw the creek and cherry blossoms and reminded of us of the DC Cherry Blossom festival — it was like we were there! After the palace, we walked to Westminster and saw St. Margaret’s Church, Big Ben and an iconic telephone booth! And nearby was the London Eye!
After that, Miso and I took the tube to King’s Cross station. Who knows what famous series was filmed at King’s Cross? If you said “Harry Potter”, you would be correct!!! We got to take a picture with the luggage trolley as if we were going to Platform 9 3/4. Such a great experience for a fan! We even got to pick what house scarf we wanted. I, of course, chose my own house and wore Slytherin. Gryffindors are overrated, tbh. And yes, of course, I bought this picture. Then we went into the official Harry Potter store where I could’ve easily spent my entire life’s savings on Slytherin apparel and Harry Potter memorabilia. They even had the Bertie Bott’s beans that my brothers and I used to get as kids and squirm when we had to eat the gross flavors like earwax, vomit or sardines.
Then we got back on the train and went to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge is the bridge everyone thinks of when they think of London and what a sight it is! And the tower was beautiful too! There was just casually a castle in the middle of the lawn. I wish we could’ve gone in and seen it from the inside but there just wasn’t enough time. After the bridge, we travelled to Paddington to see the Paddington Bear store. I bought a little Paddington bear and the original chapter book of Paddington’s adventures and will one day pass those on to my first born. Deep, right?
The last stop on our list was Bond Street, which has all of the best shopping and eateries. We got Ben’s Cookies, which are super famous in London and it was the first time I had tasted peanut butter since I left the USA. Note: Europeans do not have peanut butter. And when they do, it is so expensive. So treasure peanut butter where you are. Then we went to the London Disney store and I was falling in love. Mickey was dressed as a guard — SO CUTE! We had a great time in there just trolling around and playing with the toys. They had a little cavern that was playing Frozen’s “Let it Go” in 25 languages. For those of you who know me, I was having a blast! [As I do whenever I enter a Disney store!]
London was definitely one of my favorite places we’ve travelled so far and I can’t wait for my next European adventure. It isn’t until May but stay tuned for when I head to….Germany!