Published: April 16th 2012April 9th 2012
‘ello everyone. Well I just have to say that I loved London. It was definitely worth spending all that money to go see. We left Thursday morning at six to get to the bus station. We were planning on getting the 8:00 bus since our flight didn’t take off until noon, but the only bus available was at seven. The city buses don’t run that early, so we had to call a taxi to pick us up. At least we got to sleep on the two hour ride to Malaga, although I felt really sick and worried about throwing up the whole time. I never get car sick, so I don’t know what was going on. But we got to the Malaga airport and waited around for a few hours before we took off. We exchanged money there, and it physically hurt me to pay 260 euros for 200 pounds (that’s $318).
When we landed in London, I was reminded of how spoiled we are to be living in Spain. It was freezing! We had to get a bus to take us into London, and that took another hour. As we drove into the city, I got more and more
excited to be there. The city is such a cool mix of old and new, and it has restaurants with names like Hung, Drawn, and Quartered. And I was really excited that everything would be in English. No worries about figuring out directions or reading menus in another language. London reminded me more of an American city than any other place I’ve been to in Europe which was also nice.
We walked to our hostel from the bus stop and checked into our rooms. We stayed at St. Christopher’s Village in Southwark, and it was an interesting place. It’s attached to a bar and has tons of events and deals and night life activities. We didn’t do all that socializing, but if you like that sort of thing, this hostel is for you. We were in a mixed dorm with 18 beds, so there were quite a lot of people. I only had a problem with people coming in at three in the morning one night when they turned on the overhead lights, one of which was right above my head.
By the time we settled in, it was 5:00. Since all sites would be closing soon, we
went downstairs to ask about any shows. We found out Wicked
was playing, and we jumped on a bus to head over there. We ended up getting tickets for that night’s show at 7:30. We had a little time, so we went into Victoria Station across the street to look for some dinner. The back of our bus tickets had a deal for a meal at McDonalds so that’s where we ate. Now I know I’ve been eating a lot of American fast food when I travel, but you have to realize that McDonalds and Burger King are the cheapest, easiest, quickest options over here. We sat next to a family with two little boys to eat, and I loved just listening to them talk. The boys were so cute with their British accents! I wish I had a British accent. I kind of want to live in London for a while, just so I can come back with the accent.
After dinner it was time to get our seats for the show. We paid about 40 pounds for our seats in the balcony, but it was definitely worth it. The show was amazing! During intermission, we moved to
the center seats because they were empty and had a clearer view for the second half. This was my first time seeing the show, but I have the soundtrack of the original cast, so I know the songs. It was interesting to hear them with a British accent though.
After the show we went back to the hostel and went to bed early. Friday we did our city walking tour. I had found a suggested path online to see all the important monuments and buildings in the Westminster area. We ended up not following the exact path, but saw plenty to keep us satisfied. We walked along the river and crossed the London Eye. This is where all the pretty, old buildings are. We saw the Whitehall gardens, then went up to Trafalgar Square. Since it was Easter weekend, they were set up for some kind of reenactment of the passion in the plaza. After that we passed under the Admiralty Arch and entered St. James’s Park. My friend Anna recommended we walk through this park because it’s so pretty, and she was right. As we were walking along the road leading to Buckingham, the mounted guards passed us.
When we reached Buckingham Palace, there was a huge crowd of people. We asked someone what was going on, and they said we should stick around because the changing of the guard would start in fifteen minutes. I don’t know when these people started gathering to see it, but there was no good spot left. We ended up standing on our tiptoes and straining our necks. It was cool to hear the bagpipes and the marching band, but really, I wasn’t that impressed by it. It was just a bunch of soldiers marching into the gates.
It was getting toward lunch time so we started to head to the Hard Rock Café. Ever since Madrid, Becca and Amber decided to visit a Hard Rock wherever we went if there was one, and London has the original Hard Rock Café, so we had to go. Lunch was delicious, as usual, and we even got free tickets to see into the Vault, with some items that can’t be shown in the restaurants. After lunch we walked back by Buckingham Palace, then down the road by the Cabinet War Rooms. We finally made it to Big Ben and Parliament, and it was
pretty spectacular. The only bad thing was the number of people. It was hard to walk or stand and get a good picture because we constantly had people pushing passed us. We walked across the street to Westminster Abbey, but it was closed for Good Friday.
The day was still young, so we decided to go to M&M World. Honestly this was one of the things I was most looking forward to in London. This place was crazy! There were M&Ms all over, and one wall was full of large tubes with every color M&M imaginable. I took advantage of that fact and filled my baggie with every color. And these M&Ms tasted different than M&Ms; they tasted more like real milk chocolate, aka, amazing. After M&M World, we decided we felt like seeing a movie. That’s one thing we’ve all really missed about being here in Spain. Even if we go to an American movie, it’s dubbed into Spanish so it’s not the same. It was such a relief to just sit back and enjoy the show without having to concentrate too hard on understanding what they were saying. After the movie we headed back to the hostel
for the night.
The next day we planned on going to Westminster to try and tour the inside, but when we got there, the line was ridiculously long, so we passed. Then we wanted to go to the Royal Mews because apparently all the royal wedding dresses were on display, but when we got there, they said that it was on display last summer. Two fails in a row. After both failed attempts, we needed some food, so we found a little restaurant that my friend recommended for great fish and chips. Honestly, I like Long John Silvers better, but it was still good.
After lunch, we walked the very long way up to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We walked inside, but only made it as far as the entrance. The tickets cost 15 pounds, or $23, so we just satisfied ourselves with sneaking some pictures of the ceiling. After the cathedral, Amber wanted to see John Westley’s house, the man who founded Methodism. Her dad is a big fan, so she wanted to get something for him from there. When we finally got there, we were just planning on seeing the chapel and buying something in the shop,
but a lady that worked there saw us and took us on the full tour of the chapel and John Westley’s house. She was very interesting and made the tour more interesting than it otherwise would have been, and I was actually interested to learn the roots of the Methodist church. He was one of the first to really push helping the poor and doing missions, and the name came from the methodical way of living their lives following Jesus’ lead.
After John Westley, we walked back down to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I had seen a sign saying they did a choral evensong that night, and I wanted to hear it. My friend had mentioned something about hearing a choir sing on weekends, and I thought this was it. It would have been amazing to hear a choir in St. Paul’s Cathedral, but when we got there, it turned out to be an actual service. The other’s didn’t really want to sit through a service so we left. Now that I think back, I really wish we would have. It would have been interesting to see a Church of England service, and to hear the organ play. We headed
down to see the Tower of London after this, but it was after 5:30, so the building was closed to tours. We just walked around it and took pictures. I have to admit, it was a lot bigger than I imagined. I always thought of the Tower of London as, you know, a tower. But it’s basically a castle or fortress. Right next to the tower is the Tower Bridge. We took the necessary pictures and crossed it and headed home.
This was our last night in London, and none of us were looking forward to leaving. We were excited to get back to Granada, but the actual leaving would not be fun. Our flight was leaving at seven the next morning, and it was an hour bus ride to the airport, so we had to get bus tickets for 4:20. You had to be at the station at least 15 minutes before the departure time, so we had to wake up at three in the morning to get packed up and make the thirty minute walk to the station. We were just going to stay up all night, but we reached 11:00, and we couldn’t do it. But
at least I got an hour nap on the bus, two hours on the plane, and two more hours on the bus back to Granada, so it added up to one night’s sleep.
I'm really not ready to start school again after a week of nothing. Hopefully I can get myself motivated again.
There are more photos below