June 22-23 London!
Melissa, Taylor and I decided that we needed to see a play in London, and we have been waiting to go for awhile. So our friend Kramer from Michigan had to be in London at the embassy, so we had a free place to stay on Friday night. We got bus tickets and left Oxford on the tube at 5 on Friday and made it to Victoria Station around 6:30 on Friday. We found the hotel, which was really nice, but super tiny. In these tiny London hotels its kind of hard to sneak through consierge to the rooms without getting noticed, but we just ran away. Found our friend Kramer and we had to find our other friend Will. So we walked to find Will, and then took the underground over to Picadilly Circus. We had told some girls that we knew that we would meet them at a pub over there. When we got there, the soccer game was on and it was insanely packed. We were all hungry so we tried to go somewhere for dinner. We all wanted cheap since were traveling on a budget. We found a place for like 2 courses for 7 p which is good for London. Except you get what you pay for. It was this tiny tiny little restaurant and the food was just ok, and they messed up like all our orders. Whatever, food is not my priority here. This was over in China town, but unfortunately we didn't get to go in any of the Chinese places. I was not about to eat at a Chinese buffet in London!
After that dinner we tried to go back to the pub, but then we found a club to go in. It was just alright and no one was dancing, so finally we went back to the pub and it was easier to get in. We found the girls that we knew, and went up on the balcony where they had a live band. It was a fun night, and we met all kinds of international people. Some Irish guy wanted to talk to me about politics, that was so funny to me. They love asking Americans about politics over here. After that we went to get food at Mcdonalds since all our dinners had been smaller than small. This Mcdonalds at Picadilly Circus was like a club mcdonalds. They had like loud crazy music going and everyone there was all dressed up from the bars. It was really fun. Then we caught a taxi home.
The next morning we woke up and all got ready. Then me Taylor and Melissa went over to Haymarket to Her Majesty's Theater to try to get tickets for Phantom of the Opera. I think at this point Taylor probably wanted to kill me and Melissa because we were so giddy, but he was a good sport. After that we caught some lunch at Pret, and then went to the Tower of London.
The tower was a little different than I was expecting but still so cool. Its actually like a castle fortress thing, and its not just one big tower like we thought. Theres 13 towers in all, with a church and castle and mint. We went on the guided tour with a "beefeater" which is one of her Majesty's royal soldiers. They are specifically picked for duty at the Tower and they are allowed to live there with their families. Our guy was really funny, and a really entertaining tour guide. The tower dates back all the way to the Norman conquest in 1066. William the Conquerer started building it right when he became king so it's almost 1000 years old in some parts. So many people were imprisoned there and then taken to Tower hill for their public beheading. It was a little eerie being there. We toured all around and got to go in the chapel where they took all the headless bodies. It was really gross because they told us all the stories of how after people were beheaded their heads were put on spikes and on the London Bridge. We all had to yell "God save the King" like we were part of the mob. Then we got to see the Crown Jewels. Of course you cant take pictures of the good stuff. I just can't really imagine owning those things, or having something that ornate. Looking at all the diamonds on the tons of crowns they have, it's like really? REALLY? The largest cut diamond in the world is in the scepter that they coronated Elizabeth with. Again, just want to be her.
After the Tower we found our way back on the underground, and then walked over to the British Museum. It was a cool museum, but after the Louvre I feel like I have seen everything I need to see. The cool thing is since the British Empire was the largest Empire like ever, they have stolen plenty of treasures from the whole world. They have the most mummies at that museum. They also stole all the carvings off the parthenon, and the statues there. So that was different than the Louvre.
After that we walked back to the theater district to eat dinner. We ate at a pub that was really cheap. Again, food is not our first priority. That was a good dinner, I love pub culture its different than America. Everyone is there, young and old. You go to the bar to order food so its much faster than a restaurant. We ate there then we went to the M&M store across the store. Probably the most touristy place you can go, but Taylor wanted M&ms to eat during the play. Melissa and I got gelatto, yummy!
We walked over to the theater. Since we got our tickets that morning we were split up. But I did not mind at all. I was sitting 3rd row smack in the center. The theater is also really quite small, I guess since theres so many theaters there. It was gorgeous! Phantom of the Opera probably made my trip, I mean I have seen it before. This time was just perfect, it was so cool being third row. The actors were really phenomenal. Maybe a little young, but I was not disappointed at all. I could've watched it another 3 times.
We caught the bus, or more like ran to the bus at Victoria station since we thought we were about to miss it. Caught the bus and made the 2 hour ride home. I am so so so glad that this trip we did not get lost once, we didn't even get turned around. We knew where we were the whole time. I dont know if it's im more comfortable traveling now, or I can accomplish anything after Paris. I realize it was because they speak a different language there, but I think London underground really is easier. But it was just such a blessing not to have to stress about being lost. It definitely changed the mood of the trip. After all that, I haven't really slept much the past week so I slept till 1 this Sunday. I needed all 12 hours that I slept.
Today the girls downstairs had a moustache party. It was the cutest idea! We all dressed up fancy and wore our mustaches. We had Pimm's and dessert and listened to Frank Sinatra. Interesting little mix up, since we decorated with the Union Jack flag. It was a really fun party and it was fun to get the group together for an activity before we all leave Saturday....
The chapel inside. During renovations under Queen Victoria they found over 1500 bodies in the walls and under the ground. Only 9 were identified and they are now reburied under the front altar.